WTC San Diego’s Global Brief: December 2021

Each month, World Trade Center San Diego delivers the latest global news and updates straight to your inbox. ➝ Get WTCSD’s Global Brief each month.

In December 2021, here’s what you need to know about San Diego’s global trade, investment, and engagement:

Blue Sky Network wins $25K MetroConnect V Grand Prize

WTCSD named Blue Sky Network, which provides satellite-based communications and fleet management solutions for aviation, maritime, and IoT customers, as the winner of the MetroConnect export accelerator program, now in its fifth year. Made possible through a grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Procopio, Blue Sky Network will use the $25,000 award to expand its presence in Brazil and promote the launch of its new SkyLink product in global markets.
➝ Read More

MetroConnect VI application deadline extended to December 17

Last call: Want to take your business international, but need support? Apply for the MetroConnect export accelerator and a shot at $30,000 in grant funds, free translation software, discounted international flights, and hands-on consulting on expansion into international markets. Over the last five cohorts, WTCSD helped 80 small and mid-sized companies grow their exports by 63 percent, and total revenue by 40 percent on average.
➝ Read More

Is my company ready to export?

Exporting can help diversify your company’s customer base, derive more value from your product in international markets, and make your company more resilient. Bottom line: If your company has enjoyed domestic success and you want to take your business to the next level, WTCSD has summarized what you need to know in order to export.
➝ Read More

san diego news

Events

GROW YOUR COMPANY IN SAN DIEGO ↓

World Trade Center San Diego works directly with companies—free of charge—to help them expand internationally and grow in San Diego.

  • Export Specialty Center: For small companies interested in learning about exporting and international growth.
  • MetroConnect: For small and medium-sized companies ready to export and grow internationally.

Plus: Get WTCSD’s Global Brief, monthly global news and updates delivered straight to your inbox.


You might also like:

For COVID-19 recovery resources and information: Visit this page, or see how we can help your company free of charge.

Blue Sky Network wins $25K MetroConnect V export grand prize

World Trade Center San Diego and nearly 250 voting audience award $25K for international expansion

World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) named Blue Sky Network, which provides satellite-based communications and fleet management solutions for aviation, maritime, and IoT customers, as the winner of the MetroConnect export accelerator program, now in its fifth year. Made possible through a grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Procopio, Blue Sky Network will use the $25,000 award to expand its presence in Brazil and promote the launch of its new SkyLink product in global markets.

“Blue Sky Network is the perfect reflection of San Diego’s innovation economy coming together, leveraging our excellence in defense and technology now on an international stage,” said Lucas Coleman, senior manager at WTCSD. “The results from MetroConnect’s fifth cohort are impressive. Whether it’s alleviating supply chain processes in Australia or cultivating leads in Korea, Brazil and the UK amid incredible economic uncertainty, working to connect small and medium-sized businesses to international markets builds greater resilience here at home.”

Blue Sky Network beat out three other finalists in MetroConnect V: White Labs, Inc., SIDUS Solutions, and Mayan Robotics. The grand prize-winning company was decided by a 250-person voting audience via virtual events platform Whova, a former MetroConnect participant. Prior to this, a committee of senior international business leaders in San Diego helped the WTCSD team nominate these top four performers out of the initial 15-company cohort.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

In its first five years, MetroConnect has helped 80 local, small and mid-sized businesses generate a net increase of $95 million in international sales, 543 international contracts, and 22 overseas facilities. This international growth has coincided with 269 new hires here in the San Diego region.

Each cohort year, WTCSD selects 15 export-ready small and mid-sized businesses to receive $5,000 export grants, access to executive workshops, translation software, discounted international airfare, and a chance to win a $25,000 grand prize to aid in further international market expansion. Applications for year six of the MetroConnect program are now open through December 17. Interested small- and medium-sized companies that are looking to pursue international sales as a near-term priority or already exporting its goods or services may apply here.

Apply by Dec 17

GLOBAL CONNECTION TO BOOST RESILIENCE

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the national rhetoric around global trade has shifted. According to The World Bank, countries that trade internationally enjoy more economic growth, are more innovative and productive, and can provide more opportunities to citizens. San Diego is no exception—regional small businesses that export tend to have a larger and more diversified customer base, pick up best practices from global competitors, build up economies of scale, and ultimately pay their employees more. Access to international customers and markets is essential in helping San Diego’s business community recover after the COVID-19 pandemic, as small businesses employ 60 percent of San Diegans.

“We’ve successfully navigated an incredibly challenging global environment over the past year and a half and the MetroConnect program has helped exceed our international sales targets,” said Gregoire Demory, president at Blue Sky Network, MetroConnect V grand prize winner. “We look forward to using MetroConnect’s additional funding to keep promoting the Blue Sky Network brand and our new SkyLink product overseas.”

“Since 2015, JPMorgan Chase has been proud to support MetroConnect, helping San Diego businesses successfully navigate complex global markets and create new local opportunities,” said Aaron Ryan, Executive Director for San Diego Middle Market Banking at JPMorgan Chase. “San Diego is one of the best places for innovation, and we are excited to help these businesses maximize our region’s international potential.”

WTCSD hosted its MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest virtually on November 15, with keynote remarks by MetroConnect underwriters Dennis Doucette, Partner at Procopio, and Aaron Ryan, Executive Director for San Diego Middle Market Banking at JPMorgan Chase.

READY TO TAKE YOUR BUSINESS GLOBAL?

WTCSD has year-round, non-exclusive international opportunities that help companies break expand internationally, such as the Export Specialty SBDC and strategy for global engagement. To learn about more WTCSD initiatives, events, and programs, visit WTCSD.org.

Is my company ready to export?

As your company grows, you may one day find yourself receiving an order from a customer in another country – whether that’s from just across the border in Mexico, or across the ocean in Japan.

This will probably spark a series of questions: Is my company ready to export? How much will it cost? What are the regulations around shipping my product globally? Is exporting even worth it?

Exporting can be tremendously beneficial. It diversifies your customer base and exposes your goods and services to new markets, which may derive more value from your product than here in the U.S. Exporters also tend to be stronger and more resilient companies back home.

And while exporting comes with its own set of challenges and complexities, programs like World Trade Center San Diego’s MetroConnect are here to help small and medium-sized businesses access funding and resources to begin selling overseas. Apply to MetroConnect by December 17.

Is your company ready to export? Here are three factors to consider:

1. Do I have the financial resources to break into a new market?

Breaking into a new market isn’t cheap. In the same way introducing your product or service to a domestic market requires thoughtful strategy and investment, expanding internationally means you need to invest in promoting your product, through the right channels and utilizing the right tools.

But unlike domestic channels, you may need to make additional modifications for your product or service to get approval – whether via translation, new market research, or regulatory costs. There will also be additional costs with getting your products to customers that are geographically farther away, as well as tariffs and non-tariff barriers to consider.

Finally, the global marketplace is highly competitive – and competing by offering the lowest price is often not possible for San Diego-based companies. Instead, a deep understanding of your value proposition and a readiness to devote the necessary resources to amplifying your message in the right places can set you up for success.

Bottom line: If you’re ready to devote financial resources toward international expansion, your company may want to explore an export strategy.

2. Do I have people on my team who can devote the time, effort, and expertise exporting requires?

Developing the right relationships with suppliers, distributors, customers, and investors in each market takes time and consistency. This, as well as familiarizing yourself with the unique cultural preferences and market dynamics of the country or region you’re trying to break into, will require time, staffing resources, and often international travel.

Hiring people with the right technical knowledge of your industry segment in your target market or having the bandwidth to dedicate your team’s existing expertise will often be critical to your success. But if your team is already taxed to its limit, you are unable to hire for your team’s unmet expertise needs, or you plan to treat exporting as a side project, you may find sustained volume and exporting success hard to come by.

Bottom line: If you can devote staff time, resources, and expertise toward expansion, you may be ready to export.

3. Has my company had domestic success?

In most cases, the U.S. market will be your first consideration for expansion. You’ll know the language and culture, skip the trade barriers, take advantage of well-established institutions, and generally face less financial and political risk. As a U.S. company, too, you’re probably more familiar with your industry’s specific ecosystem. 

So take advantage of the domestic market first, if possible. Domestic success can be a method to estimate your international potential…and whether you should be expanding internationally to begin with. And swimming in the domestic market will help you fully understand what truly differentiates your product or service, with no currency or other major financial risk.

But if you’ve enjoyed domestic success or a specific international market can help take your business to the next level, expanding your customer base overseas can give you a competitive edge in some key ways:

  • You’ll leverage economies of scale, where more order flow can lower your production cost
  • You’ll diversify your revenue streams. COVID-19 taught us that different markets can be impacted by significant global shocks in different ways, at different times.
  • You can learn from international competitors and partners, and apply these new tactics internationally and here at home.
  • You’ll have the chance to fight back against global competitors in their home market, rather than here in yours.

Bottom line: If your company has enjoyed domestic success and you want to take your business to the next level, you’re ready to export.

Keep in mind:

While this list is certainly not exhaustive, it’ll help you ask the right questions when exploring whether your company is ready to get out there and meet the other 95% of this planet’s consumers.

And remember: Success doesn’t happen overnight. While you may receive sizable, one-off international orders through online channels or following a trade show, generating sustained demand from a new market will generally require you to be intentional about your strategy and devote adequate resources to your export strategy.

Ready to export? Apply now to join our next MetroConnect cohort.

Is your small and medium-sized company ready to export and grow internationally, but needs the funding, guidance, and support to expand?

Apply by DECEMBER 17

Not ready yet? ➝ Stay connected with WTCSD opportunities via email.


You might also like:

For COVID-19 recovery resources and information: Visit this page, or see how we can help your company free of charge.

WTC San Diego’s Global Brief: October 2021

Each month, World Trade Center San Diego delivers the latest global news and updates straight to your inbox. ➝ Get WTCSD’s Global Brief each month.

In October 2021, here’s what you need to know about San Diego’s global trade, investment, and engagement:

Looking to export to China? Here’s what you need to know

World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD), along with the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Shanghai and San Diego Sport Innovators (SDSI) hosted a business roundtable to discuss the benefits and challenges of exporting to China. With proper preparation and knowledge, all San Diego businesses can leverage the opportunity to export to a growing Chinese market.
➝ Read More

Need digital talent for your San Diego Business? Tijuana can help

If you are a San Diego business looking to expand amid one of the toughest battles for digital talent, look no further than Tijuana. The San Diego-Tijuana binational region is home to some of the world’s strongest innovation clusters, including the world’s largest medical device industry. Join firms such as Thermo Fisher Scientific, Sony, and BD in leveraging specialized production processes, highly skilled workers, and more.
➝ Read More

Foreign investment and San Diego companies: 3 things you need to know

WTCSD hosted its quarterly Global Competitiveness Council (GCC) meeting in collaboration with the San Diego Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE) and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), and was joined by David Rader of the Office of Foreign Investment Review. Throughout the session, the group discussed security implications, foreign direct investment, intellectual property, and more.
➝ Read More

san diego news

Events

GROW YOUR COMPANY IN SAN DIEGO ↓

World Trade Center San Diego works directly with companies—free of charge—to help them expand internationally and grow in San Diego.

  • Export Specialty Center: For small companies interested in learning about exporting and international growth.
  • MetroConnect: For small and medium-sized companies ready to export and grow internationally.

Plus: Get WTCSD’s Global Brief, monthly global news and updates delivered straight to your inbox.


You might also like:

For COVID-19 recovery resources and information: Visit this page, or see how we can help your company free of charge.

And the MetroConnect V finalists are…

WTC San Diego is proud to announce the four finalists of MetroConnect V, San Diego’s premier export assistance program, presented by JPMorgan Chase and Procopio. These four diverse companies will compete for an additional $25,000 in funding towards their international expansion strategies during our virtual Grand Prize PitchFest on November 15, 2021.

The catch? They’re looking to you to judge and award the extra cash. Read more and register here to cast your vote.

Meet the MetroConnect V finalists:

  • Blue Sky Network | a seamless connectivity, satellite tracking, intelligent fleet management, and text and voice communications product provider.
  • Mayan Robotics | a manufacturer of essential electronic systems for unmanned vehicles and drones.
  • SIDUS Solutions | a provider of underwater positioners, high-definition cameras, penetrating bright lights, projection lasers, and inspection systems that improve safety, efficiency, and ease of operation in challenging environments.
  • White Labs | a developer of liquid yeast, fermentation products, services, analysis, and education to craft brewing professionals and enthusiasts.

Join us on November 15 to meet the finalists…and choose the winner!

Register NOW


Plus: Is your company ready to go global? Apply to be part of our next MetroConnect cohort:

Entering its sixth year, WTCSD will select 15 small businesses that:

  • Are headquartered in San Diego
  • Are export-ready (you are already exporting goods or services, or are looking to pursue international sales as a near-term priority)
  • Have been in business for at least one year
  • Are an SBA-designated small business
to participate in MetroConnect VI and receive:
  • A $5,000 export assistance grant
  • Executive export workshops
  • Complimentary access to SystranPRO machine translation software
  • Discounts on international travel with partner airlines
and more!