Release: San Diego Global Trade and Investment Strategy serves to drive recovery, resilience

World Trade Center San Diego updates 2015 regional plan amid pandemic

Today, alongside Congressman Scott Peters, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and key regional business leaders and in partnership with the Center for Commerce and Diplomacy at UC San Diego, World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) released its “Go Global 2025: San Diego’s Global Trade and Investment Initiative.” This regional strategic plan serves as the update to the inaugural strategy launched in 2015 and focuses on global engagement as an engine for recovery and resilience.

Available on web at goglobal2025.wtcsd.org, the strategic plan also includes an overview of San Diego’s economic and policy landscape, an interactive foreign investment map, perspectives from executives of global firms and more.

THE CASE FOR GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT

As the world collectively battles a pandemic and navigates resulting economic shutdowns, the global economy faces some of the most significant disruptions in a generation. Nations and cities have begun to look inward to focus on domestic needs including healthcare, education, infrastructure, equity and job creation. And yet, if this year has taught us anything, it is that we are a global society that is inextricably connected.

On the road to recovery, it is increasingly important for leaders at the metro level to articulate a compelling, data-driven vision of our place within the global economy and collaboratively execute a strategy that keeps us ahead of the curve.

“San Diego is filled with world-class innovation and smart people solving global problems. Now is the time for our big, binational City to show up on the world stage to help us reach our goals faster,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “As Mayor, I want to tell that story in a way that opens doors and enables more investment, jobs and opportunities for San Diegans and moves our city forward.”

While San Diego exports $22 billion in goods annually, the region is also a top 10 services exporter among U.S. metros. The region’s competitive advantage is in professional, scientific, and technical services, like research and development, cybersecurity, and engineering and software. These industries also capture the highest concentration of foreign direct investment (FDI) via mergers and acquisitions and venture capital investment. In fact, San Diego life sciences firms captured nearly three-quarters of the estimated $3 billion in foreign investment injected into the regional economy last year.

“As the “next normal” takes shape, San Diego needs to continue to prepare for where the economy is going by focusing on our most globally competitive industries. However, we need to be intentional about creating quality jobs at every skill level within those industries, and enabling San Diegans with the tools they need to fill those jobs,” said Nikia Clarke, Executive Director, WTCSD. “This will ensure that our businesses and innovators continue to export life-changing technology, and it will also make all our communities more resilient to future shocks.”

A STRATEGIC PLAN

In order to drive quality job growth through expanding foreign investment and exports, deepen economic ties to strategic markets, and enhance the region’s reputation to drive competitiveness, WTCSD proposes five key strategies for the San Diego region:

  1. Lead with the region’s most competitive industries. Most growth and job creation will come from innovation–based industries.
  1. Leverage binational assets to attract foreign investment. Capture investment along the entire value chain in priority industries.
  1. Prioritize market access for small businesses. Small businesses create the most jobs but face higher barriers to internationalization.
  1. Invest in critical infrastructure that enables global commerce. Modernize, maintain and expand service through international ports of entry.
  1. Enhance San Diego’s global identity and reputation for innovation. Deepen public-private partnerships on focused international activity.

“The digital paradigm shift we’ve seen is just one of the many ways the global marketplace—and in turn, our business—has been revolutionized by the pandemic. This is why a regional strategic plan like the one WTCSD has outlined matters: there are real businesses, real people, real jobs who require the resilience that global connection provides,” said Ken Behan, VP of Sales and Marketing, SYSTRAN.

“The Port of San Diego is a vital economic engine for the region with San Diego Bay and the surrounding waterfront at the heart of it all. While it has been a difficult and uncertain year for us and many of our bayfront businesses, there are so many legacy-making decisions ahead. This strategy presents an opportunity for us to align not only in word, but in action. The impacts could be transformational,” said Commissioner Jennifer LeSar, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners.

The report was produced by WTCSD, with support by the Center for Commerce and Diplomacy at UC San Diego and sponsored by Illumina. It was unveiled today at a community event alongside Congressman Scott Peters; San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria; Dr. Renee Bowen, Director, Center for Commerce and Diplomacy, UC San Diego; Garry Ridge, Chairman of the Board & CEO, WD-40; Kathleen Lynch, Vice President, Global Government Affairs & Public Policy, Illumina; Maritza Diaz, CEO, iTjuana; and Dr. Vivek Lall, Chief Executive, General Atomics Global.

ABOUT WTCSD
Founded in 1994 by the City of San Diego, Port of San Diego, and San Diego International Airport, World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) operates as an affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC. WTCSD works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad. sandiegobusiness.org/wtcsd

Read the full strategy and report here

MetroConnect: Six things you should know about the state of logistics

In February, World Trade Center San Diego (WTC) hosted the seventh and final workshop of its MetroConnect V program. The session brought in experts from around the region to discuss the movement of goods and integration of supply chain operations across a firm. Partners for the session included JAS Forwarding, the University of San Diego Supply Chain Management Institute, the City of San Diego, and California International Trade Center.

Here are six key takeaways from a very informative session:

1. Shipping costs are at an all-time high, while schedule reliability for ocean freight is at an all-time low.

A brutal mix of COVID-19-related factors have placed tremendous stress on a system that, in a normal year, already sees congestion through the holiday season into March. Expect to see abnormally high prices into the summer months and account for the extra time it may take your goods to reach their destination.

Illustration of ocean liner congestion coming into the container ports of LA and Long Beach

Illustration of ocean liner congestion coming into the container ports of LA and Long Beach

2. Less passenger air travel has led to longer lead times for air freight.

Typically, 45 to 50 percent of global air cargo is carried in the belly holds of passenger aircraft. As governments around the world now shift their focus to rapid vaccine distribution, other types of air freight are competing for space on limited aircraft.

3. Export regulation around Hong Kong and China has changed.

From an export regulation standpoint, Hong Kong is no longer treated as a separate entity from China. This is a policy that is expected to remain with the new Biden Administration.

4. The Department of Commerce has imposed new BIS regulations on exports.

There are new BIS regulations for exported goods and services that “could” be used by military end users. Denied Party Screening has never been more important.

5. Supply chains continue to become more digitally and globally integrated.

With Industry 4.0, digitally connecting the various partners within a supply chain will require collaboration, trust, commitment, and risk-sharing, as well as leadership from larger channel partners.

6. Foreign Trade Zones can save you significant time and money.

Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs) can be a valuable resource for San Diego businesses that import raw materials for domestic production or reexport finished products. You can learn more about San Diego’s FTZ program here.

Next steps for MetroConnect companies

World Trade Center San Diego will pilot a Digital Trade Series with California International Trade Center (CITC) to help SMEs grow exports through online channels. The inaugural installment of this global e-commerce mini program will run through the Spring and serve the current MetroConnect V cohort. Businesses will undergo a needs assessment analyzing their existing digital trade capabilities before receiving a customized action plan for enhancements to their website and online sales processes.

Interested in growing your business internationally?

World Trade Center San Diego works directly with companies – free of charge – to help them expand internationally and grow in San Diego. Whether your small company is interested in learning about exporting and international growth, or your small or medium sized company is ready to export and grow internationally, World Trade Center San Diego is here to help.

GET CONNECTED

 

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WTC San Diego welcomes new British Consul General Emily Cloke

World Trade Center San Diego extends its warmest welcome to Emily Cloke, the new British Consul General in Los Angeles.

This past December, we were honored to host Ms. Cloke, as well as Antony Phillipson, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for North America, UK Government, at our virtual Global Competitiveness Council to discuss the future of trade with the UK and EU post-Brexit. Council members received a valuable update on the current state of play in Brexit negotiations, a forward look at the future trading relationship between the UK and US, and opportunities for the UK and US moving forward toward 2021.

The UK ranks among San Diego’s top investors in FDI and venture capital, particularly in life science and tech. As such, connectivity with UK is of high priority to WTC San Diego, as well as with our partners at San Diego International Airport. Prior to COVID-19, WTC and the Airport worked on non-stop fight with British Airways to London Heathrow. Additionally, in 2017, WTC led a productive trade mission with two dozen San Diego delegates, including Cubic Transportation Systems, Qualcomm, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Representative Scott Peters.

We look forward to strengthening the San Diego-UK relationship, even while working remotely, and we look forward to supporting Ms. Cloke’s efforts to promote trade and investment between our communities.

ABOUT WORLD TRADE CENTER SAN DIEGO

World Trade Center San Diego operates as an affiliate of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. WTC San Diego works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment, and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad.

Do you want to know more about the work of World Trade Center San Diego? Receive our monthly Global Brief Newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox.

Small business export center instituted at World Trade Center San Diego

Partnership with Small Business Development Center aimed to support San Diego’s small businesses in going global

San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has contracted with World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) in a unique partnership that will bring an Export Specialty Center to the region, housed at WTCSD. Announced today, the dedicated center will focus on small business export advising and training that serves to increase the number of export-ready firms in the region.

Amidst a pandemic-induced economic crisis, rapid shifts in global and regional supply chains, and changes to the country’s trading relationship with major world powers, it is critical that home-grown businesses are equipped with tools to compete in the global marketplace.

“The partnership with SBDC allows our team to build upon the export support that we’ve delivered for more than five years through our MetroConnect program. While MetroConnect serves a competitively-selected cohort of export-ready companies each year, the SBDC work will really focus on getting small businesses to a point where they are positioned for international growth, which we know will grow jobs, increase revenues and improve resiliency here at home,” said Nikia Clarke, executive director, WTCSD.

Launched in 2014 as an affiliate of San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC), WTCSD will receive additional funding from SBDC to expand its export portfolio of small businesses, hire a new full-time employee, and tap into SBDC’s diverse network to funnel companies into its export accelerator program MetroConnect.

“By formalizing this partnership with WTCSD, the SBDC network now has a dedicated center focusing on export issues and advising here in San Diego and Imperial County. Exporting makes companies stronger and more resilient—especially important amid an economic downturn spurred by COVID-19,” said Daniel Fitzgerald, Associate Regional Director, SBDC.

The contract will run from October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021. WTCSD has hired coordinator Ajogwu (Jeff) Adegbe to help lead these efforts.

About WTCSD
World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) operates as an affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC. WTCSD works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad. sandiegobusiness.org/wtcsd

About SBDC
The San Diego and Imperial SBDC, hosted by Southwestern Community College, is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz). It provides business advising on how to start, manage and grow a business, with most workshops and training at no cost to small business owners to provide economic impact for our region. The SBDC network includes eight service partners in San Diego County and one in Imperial County hosted by the Imperial Regional Alliance. San Diego County locations include: North San Diego SBDC (MiraCosta College), East San Diego SBDC (East County EDC), South San Diego SBDC (Southwestern College), the Brink SBDC (University of San Diego), Export Trade SBDC (WTCSD), Connect SBDC, Alliance SBDC (Asian Business Association) and International Rescue Committee SBDC. Services are provided in English, Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, Swahili, Dari, Vietnamese, Mandarin and others. sdivsbdc.org

COVID-19 and its impacts to San Diego Air Travel

While so much is still unknown about the future of travel in a post-COVID world, World Trade Center San Diego (WTC) is working with San Diego International Airport (SAN) to understand how to build back an economy that is even stronger and more resilient. The connectivity provided by the airport will continue to be a vital aspect of our region and WTC remains committed to working alongside the airport and the San Diego Tourism Authority through this recovery.

WTC, San Diego Tourism Authority, and San Diego International Airport are spearheading a COVID-19 economic recovery strategy that focuses on flight retention and expansion.  As a result of the pandemic, the economic climate surrounding air travel has been unprecedentedly impacted, and SAN has felt those negative impacts. Since the beginning of the stay-at-home orders in March 2020, COVID-19 has resulted in a cumulative loss of over $396 billion for the U.S. travel economy.

As a key partner to SAN, WTC works to improve regional competitiveness and bring flights back to San Diego in a post-COVID world with a focus on business travel and economic activity.

“The shutdown has caused unprecedented disruptions to trade and travel, but we know access to global markets is an essential part of our regional recovery. Nonstop international service is correlated with an average 20 percent increase in investment flows between destinations, which is why retaining global service out of SAN—and being intentional about how we fly—should be one of our region’s highest economic development priorities,” said Nikia Clarke, Executive Director, WTC San Diego.

In support of SAN’s efforts, WTC has launched a corporate travel survey and conducted interviews with local business leaders to make sure SAN is aligned with the business community needs in their comprehensive recovery strategy.

Key takeaways from WTC’s Corporate Travel Survey:

  • 52% of companies have not cut travel budgets for 2021
  • 64% anticipated increased support in local businesses and economy
  • 76% of companies expect for Domestic U.S. travel to resume within the next 6 months
  • 3% of companies expect for international travel to Europe to resume within the next 6 months

#flylocal

San Diego International Airport’s regional economic impact is vital for the economic and employment recovery efforts of the region. In 2017, SAN’s annual economic impact was valued at $11.8 billion-total amount that circulates back to the regional economy. SAN has taken the safety of travelers as a core pillar in its reopening efforts, assuring safety and tranquility for San Diegans to #flylocal and help economic recovery at home.

ABOUT WORLD TRADE CENTER SAN DIEGO

World Trade Center San Diego operates as an affiliate of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. WTC San Diego works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment, and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad.

Do you want to know more about the work of World Trade Center San Diego? Click here to receive our monthly Global Brief Newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox.

San Diego’s Growing Digital Global Footprint

The technology that will power a post-COVID world is being invented and perfected in our backyard.  San Diego’s leading tech, defense, and life science companies are making large investments to prepare for a world that will be increasingly digital, connected, and autonomous. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science are transforming nearly every industry, giving rise to important discussions concerning jobs, ethics, and privacy.

Against the backdrop of rising protectionism and an escalating US-China conflict, the evolution of a global policy regime governing the development and deployment of strategic technology will have massive implications for both national security as well as US competitiveness.

Through the Global Competitiveness Council (GCC), San Diego leaders came together to discuss these key issues along with companies who are at the forefront of every disruptive trend reshaping the world today.

San Diego companies to keep an eye on:

LunaDNA

Our region is known around the world for its unparalleled life sciences companies and LunaDNA is an exceptional example data science and AI in health sciences. LunaDNA, founded by Luna Public Benefit Corporation (LunaPBC) is a community-owned platform for health research. Anyone can join, share their health data, and receive ownership shares in the company. When researchers conduct studies on the data on the LunaDNA secure platform, the proceeds are passed back to the community as dividends.

ServiceNow

ServiceNow believes in the power of technology to reduce the complexity in our jobs and make work, work better for people. The company transforms old, manual ways of working into modern digital workflows. Employees and customers get what they need, when they need it-exactly what every company needs in light of COVID-19.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI)

San Diego-headquartered General Atomics-ASI specializes in research and technology development, providing remotely operated surveillance aircraft. GA-ASI’s innovations and high-tech solutions have produced a growing line of versatile, reliable, cost-effective, and proven Remotely Piloted Aircraft.

Booz Allen Hamilton

Consulting firm, Booz-Allen, brings bold thinking and a desire to be the best in its work on consulting, analytics, digital solutions, engineering, and cyber, and with industries ranging from defense to health to energy to international development.

Brain Corp

Brain Corp provides autonomous solutions that enable OEMs and Robotics Startups to turn their manually driven products into intelligent machines. The company is now focused on developing advanced machine learning and computer vision systems for the next generation of self-driving robots.

ABOUT WORLD TRADE CENTER SAN DIEGO

World Trade Center San Diego operates as an affiliate of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. WTC San Diego works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment, and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad.

Do you want to know more about the work of World Trade Center San Diego? Click here to receive our monthly Global Brief Newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox.

MetroConnect V – Workshop Recap Q3

In Q3, World Trade Center San Diego (WTC) continued to support the 15 companies in its MetroConnect international sales accelerator program. As part of the year-long export education curriculum, WTC hosted two workshops with subject matter experts on the topics of International Marketing & Sales and GDPR & Data Privacy.

MetroConnect Workshop #4 – International Marketing & Sales

Hosted in partnership with Reid Carr (CEO of Red Door Interactive), Judy Webster (Director of Global Partner Marketing at Qualcomm), and Josh Halpern (Chief Strategy Officer at California International Trade Center).

A few things we learned:

  • Branding overseas starts with building a strong, authentic brand at home.
  • Be mindful of language considerations, even within different regions in the same country. Sometimes you may want to opt for visual representations over words. If you do need a professional, industry-specific language translation tool, check out SYSTRAN Translate Pro.
  • Understand which analytical tools you need (and can afford) to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.
  • Optimize your website to accommodate international customers. COVID-19 has only accelerated the unstoppable shift towards online shopping. Maximize your export opportunities through website localization and optimization.

MetroConnect Workshop #5 – GDPR & Data Privacy

Hosted in partnership with Elaine Harwell (Senior Counsel at Procopio) and Hannah Bracken (Commercial Specialist (Digital Policy) for the US Mission to the EU).

A few things we learned:

  • Unlike in the European Union, the US does not have a single omnibus bill addressing data privacy. Instead, we have a patchwork of state and federal statutes, some sector-specific and others focused on the rights of consumers.
  • The European Court of Justice’s recent ruling in Schrems II invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework, which many American companies have been using as a mechanism for transferring personal data from the EU to the US. (What happens now?)
  • California has a data privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), however this may soon be replaced by the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which is on the ballot this November. Remember to vote!
  • If you are interested in learning more about GDPR and data privacy, our team will be recording a live webinar with Elaine Harwell (Procopio) on Thursday, October 29. Please reach out to Lucas Coleman at LC@sandiegobusiness.org and we will include you in our mailing list.

San Diego’s Global Outlook: A Destination for FDI

Over the last several months, the World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) team has spearheaded a project to identify the foreign direct investment (FDI) trends in San Diego in preparation for the launch of a new regional trade and investment strategy. The results of that research provided valuable insights, including validation of the importance of the local life sciences sector, which has attracted $10.9 billion in foreign investment in the last five years.

Key findings in San Diego FDI trends

  • 96 percent of foreign direct investment is through mergers and acquisitions (M&As)
  • Top countries for FDI into San Diego: United Kingdom, Switzerland, Spain, Israel, and France
  • 70 percent of all FDI into San Diego over the last five years was in the life sciences
  • China ranked #1 in venture capital investment (VC)
  • Japanese firms employ more San Diegans than any other country

What does the data say?

In five years, San Diego attracted a total of $15.6 billion of foreign investment, encompassing both mergers and acquisitions (M&As) and greenfield investment activity. To develop a strategy from this, WTCSD has focused on understanding three key variables: the types of investment, the global origin of that investment, and the industry in which those investments are concentrated. The vast majority of foreign investments are in the form of M&As (96 percent), similar to other metros around the United States. While economic development organizations are often pressured to spend incentive dollars attracting new businesses, the distribution of FDI between M&A and Greenfield investing has led WTCSD to focus on developing a more refined plant to attract/support M&A as part of the new regional trade and investment strategy.

Life sciences and tech sectors attracted over $13.7 billion of FDI into our region, playing a vital role in our economy both domestically and internationally. WTCSD will continue to work closely with partners such as Biocom and Connect to promote investment in these two sectors.

Understanding the regional implications of global markets helps WTCSD target specific countries and industries in our investment attraction efforts. Our analysis found that Switzerland, Spain, and the United Kingdom play a significant role in both greenfield and M&As investments.

Impacts of COVID-19 on global trade

While much of the world has been on hold as we come to understand what a “new normal” amidst COVID-19, trade disputes, and political elections really means, there are sectors that continue to invest. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development anticipates global foreign investment to decrease by 40 percent due to COVID-19, and expect a recovery to initiate in 2022. Considering this, San Diego’s domestic and international competitive advantage lies in the life sciences with companies such as ResMed, Amplyz Pharmaceuticals, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Illumina, and others are bringing San Diego’s life changing innovations to the global market with and through their groundbreaking work. These sectors are proving to the world their value and as we emerge from this crisis highlighting the region’s robust strengths in life science will continue to drive US investments as pressures global to localize supply chains increases.

About World Trade Center San Diego

World Trade Center San Diego operates as an affiliate of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. WTC San Diego works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment, and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad. sandiegobusiness.org/wtcsd

In 2014, San Diego Regional EDC (EDC) launched the Go Global: San Diego’s Global Trade and Investment Initiative report, a joint project supported by the Brookings Institute and JPMorgan Chase as part of the Global Cities Initiative. This report highlighted the importance of elevating San Diego’s global competitiveness within the global economy as a means to creating a thriving and resilient economy back home. Now that the 5-year report has ended, the WTC San Diego is planning to launch the new Go Global report in early 2021.

For more COVID-19 recovery resources and information, please visit this page.

EDC is here to help our local businesses. You can use the button below to request our assistance with finding information, applying to relief programs, and more.

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World Trade Center San Diego announces MetroConnect V cohort

World Trade Center San Diego’s Flagship Export Program

San Diego – San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and World Trade Center (WTC) San Diego unveiled the 15 companies selected to participate in MetroConnect V, the fifth iteration of WTC San Diego’s international sales accelerator program, underwritten by Procopio and JPMorgan Chase & Co. The program is designed to help local companies jump start and scale their global growth.

“One of San Diego’s biggest exports is the innovation and ingenuity of our local companies and this business accelerator helps fuel the entrepreneurs of tomorrow,” Mayor Faulconer said. “Programs like MetroConnect strengthen our local economy by creating opportunities for our small businesses to build greater networks, employ more San Diegans and further invest in our region.”

Now in its fifth program-year, WTC San Diego has adapted MetroConnect V to address the unique circumstances brought on by COVID-19. Routine video conferencing, an enhanced export education program, and virtual workshops with program partners are among the changes implemented prior to the virtual launch.  MetroConnect continues to equip small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) with a suite of financial and programmatic resources in their efforts to bring their products and services to global markets.

More About the Program

The MetroConnect program is highly competitive, with just 15 companies selected based on a variety of criteria, including product potential, interest in new markets, assessed impact of program funds and resources, current international traction, and more. Applicant companies are assessed by a panel of judges, which include representatives from Qualcomm Ventures, Connect w/ San Diego Venture Group, Biocom, the U.S. Commercial Service, CMTC, Viasat, Mitsubishi Electric, Procopio, San Diego State University, Tech San Diego, UC San Diego, San Diego Regional EDC, WTC San Diego, and the previous year’s program winner.

The MetroConnect program resources include:

  • $5,000 in matching grants to cover the costs associated with international expansion, made possible by co-underwriters JPMorgan Chase and Procopio, and with additional funds and in–kind services from more than a dozen sponsor companies
  • One year of complimentary access to SYSTRAN’s premium enterprise machine translation platform
  • Workshops (7) addressing export compliance, localized marketing strategies, and more, taught by private sector experts from the San Diego business community
  • Dedicated WTC San Diego staff manager to support company participants in deploying overseas strategies during the grant period
  • Reduced airfare on international flights out of San Diego International Airport with American Airlines, British Airways, and Japan Airlines
  • Free consultations with legal, tax, and consulting partners
  • Access to a mentor network consisting of trade experts at large and mid-sized San Diego firms and country representatives at the Japan External Trade Organization and the United Kingdom Government Office in San Diego
  • Consideration to compete for an additional $25,000 during the MetroConnect Grand Prize Pitchfest

“San Diego’s continued economic growth is vital to the region’s long-term health and prosperity,” said Aaron Ryan, Executive Director and San Diego Region Manager of JPMorgan Chase’s Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries practice. “MetroConnect will enable some of San Diego’s brightest companies to grow internationally, and help them successfully navigate the complexities of doing business abroad. JPMorgan Chase is proud to support this impact on the San Diego economy.”

Since the program’s debut in 2015, 65 MetroConnect alumni have collectively generated $85 million in new export sales, signed 500 new contracts, added 269 new jobs to the region, set up 18 new overseas facilities and seen five successful company exits. Past participants include Coronado Brewing, Cypher Genomics (acquired by Human Longevity Inc.), Dr. Bronner’s, Planck Aerosystems, Scientist.com and many more. From community-owned health and genomic data platform LunaPBC, to unmanned aerial systems component manufacturer Mayan Robotics, to California’s very first employee-owned brewery Modern Times, the 2020 MetroConnect companies represent a diverse cross section of San Diego’s innovation economy.

“The MetroConnect program’s support of innovative, high-growth SMEs aligns with the priorities of our firm,” said Jim Perkins, COO and Chief Compliance Officer of program co-underwriter Procopio. “We are thrilled to support WTC San Diego in this endeavor and are looking forward to lending our knowledge and expertise to the new cohort of MetroConnect companies.”

Why MetroConnect Matters Now More Than Ever

Expanding a customer base into multiple markets creates resiliency. That has been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic as global markets have been affected, then subsequently recovered at varying rates. Additionally, as a port city, trade has always played a big role in San Diego’s economy and the success of the businesses that call this city home. In 2018 alone, San Diego exported more than $20 billion in goods overseas, as well as billions more in services like software, cybersecurity, engineering and research. SMEs produce 92 percent of those goods – driving home the point of programs like MetroConnect. Plus, according to the Brookings Institution, companies that are global pay higher wages, are less likely to go out of business, and increase productivity of the domestic market.

One member of the current cohort has already experienced the benefits of taking part in a program like MetroConnect. White Labs’ yeast serves as a key ingredient in beer, which has made it a pillar of San Diego’s craft brewing industry for the last 25 years. International expansion has always been an important part of White Labs’ business, and it applied to be part of the MetroConnect V cohort to expand and improve its international procedures, policies, and marketing to continue to expand globally.

MetroConnect put White Labs in contact with JAS Forwarding. JAS was able to assist White Labs by reviewing its import/export procedures. This consultancy resulted in White Labs adapting their documentation systems to decrease customs clearance holds in Australia.

JoAnne Carilli-Stevenson, Head of Business Development for White Labs, told the MetroConnect team that this change has “resulted in improved service to customers, and decreased re-shipments required due to custom delays. At a time when we are working hard to balance supply and demand during crisis, this change in international procedure is significant for us.”

“Amidst a global health and economic crisis, new agreements and ongoing negotiations with key trading partners, and the rapid evolution of global supply chains, it is more important than ever to give local SMEs an edge in the global marketplace by equipping them with the tools to be successful,” said Nikia Clarke, executive director of World Trade Center San Diego. “Financial assistance, export education, preferred access to ancillary export services, and connectivity to an international network of partners and mentors – all of these were requests emanating from the small and medium-sized companies this program serves. With 98 percent of San Diego’s economy comprised of such businesses, it is critical that we are responsive to their needs.”

See the full list of MetroConnect V companies here.

About World Trade Center San Diego
World Trade Center San Diego operates as an affiliate of San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. WTC San Diego works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad. sandiegobusiness.org/wtcsd

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Why Ireland is looking to San Diego for cybersecurity talent solutions

People sitting around a table in a board room

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the global cybersecurity workforce shortage is projected to reach 1.8 million unfilled positions by 2022. As a hub for cybersecurity companies and research, San Diego has been piloting programs to address talent shortages that are plaguing this ubiquitous industry.

San Diego’s collaborative efforts, combined with its unique concentration of academic, private sector, government, and non-profit industry, have attracted the attention of global technology markets.

In late February,  WTC San Diego – EDC’s international economic development arm –  and the Cyber Center of Excellence (CCOE) hosted 15 delegates from Ireland-based government and academic intuitions. The delegation was touring San Diego to learn about the region’s cybersecurity industry and efforts to support its ongoing growth.

The global ‘cyber’ talent crisis

San Diego companies that attended the roundtable discussed technologies they were developing and strategies for addressing talent shortfalls.

San Diego’s cybersecurity industry, anchored by the presence of NAVWAR, has become a hub for cybersecurity companies. Based on research conducted by San Diego Regional EDC and the CCOE, San Diego’s cyber industry generated $2.2 billion in economic impact in 2018, with more than 8,450 employees working directly for cybersecurity firms.

San Diego companies in attendance also had a lot to learn. Following Brexit, Ireland is the only English speaking country left in the EU. The Ireland delegation used this point, among others, to make their case for why San Diego companies should consider expanding in Ireland.

Understanding WTC’s role

World Trade Center San Diego (WTC) works with partner organizations and global stakeholders to identify strategic global markets and help connect them to San Diego businesses and institutions to increase exports and drive foreign direct investment.

By facilitating strategic meetings, WTC seeks to help elevate San Diego’s profile with key global markets to increase opportunities for inward investment and support local companies as they evaluate expanding into global markets.

Are you interested in getting connected to high profile delegations? We’re here to help.

Get in touch

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