Like we do every year, our team spent the last few months of 2021 working with EDC’s executive committee, board, and investors to establish annual goals that are informed by current economic realities, led by employers, and have measurable outcomes that contribute to prosperity and competitiveness across the binational region. As San Diego emerges from a global pandemic to an economy full of contradictions—strong job growth, eye-watering VC numbers, and massive capital investment as well as widespread labor shortages, small business closures, and housing prices almost 30 percent higher than 2019—it is abundantly clear that smart economic development is inclusive economic development.
In 2021, EDC reframed our organizational goals around these fundamental building blocks of a strong economy—quality jobs, skilled talent, and thriving households—and committed to working with and through our investors to accelerate progress towards these Inclusive Growth goals. In 2022, resilience means connecting more people to innovation industries; competitiveness means more San Diegans have the skills the economy needs; and prosperity means that working families can afford to live here. Please find EDC’s 2022 goals outlined below.
Goal: The region needs to create 50K quality small business jobs by 2030.
Business Services: Execute 250+ business expansion, attraction, and retention projects and support major mixed-use projects, leading to 5,000 quality jobs. Leverage the Life Sciences Task Force to establish a “one-stop-shop” framework for expansion support for Life Sciences industry and major development projects.
Goal: The region must create 20K degreed and credentialed workers per year by 2030.
EDC will contribute to this goal in 2022 through:
San Diego: Life. Changing.: Communicate opportunities for diverse, skilled talent in San Diego—especially to strategic competitive markets by enhancing Life Sciences recruiting tools.
Advancing San Diego: Maintain employer working groups and network of 40+ Preferred Providers for high-demand occupations, update and release regular talent demand reports, and place 80+ Healthcare and Life Sciences interns.
Goal: The region must create 75K newly thriving households by 2030.
EDC will contribute to this goal in 2022 through:
Anchor Collaborative: Set shared regional procurement goals for region’s largest purchasers, identify $100 million in new small business spend, and create supplier navigation map.
Global Identity: Advance San Diego’s global agenda, support investments in critical infrastructure, and lead Mayoral Thriving Cities trade mission to international market.
Inclusive Growth: Create regional alignment on Inclusive Growth goals, launch downtown research and policy collaboration at UCSD’s Park & Market, and execute demonstration project on infrastructure needs.
EDC programs have real, measurable outcomes—supporting thousands of quality jobs, placing hundreds of interns and job seekers, and creating opportunities for millions of dollars of new contracts for small businesses. But ultimately, even the most driven and passionate team won’t substantially move the needle on these ambitious regional goals; we do not ourselves create jobs, train workers, draft policy, or build roads, high-rises, or housing.You do.
EDC can draft the roadmap, but you all—our region’s largest employers—are the only ones who will get us there, through working collaboratively and creatively to accelerate progress towards our regional 2030 goals. That is what “with and through” our investors means, and we at EDC can’t wait to get started.
These companies received $5,000 grants to bolster their export initiatives and international expansion efforts. Amid a pandemic, companies needed more digital support services than ever to help navigate growing e-commerce needs during the pandemic. To support, WTCSD held a Digital Trade Series, which assessed each client’s needs and arranged one-on-one counseling sessions with contracted e-commerce experts.
Over the course of the program, one company stood out – with MetroConnect’s support, satellite-based communications and fleet management company Blue Sky Network generated a 36 percent increase in monthly recurring revenue in Brazil, as well as its largest order to date. To support this growth, the company hired seven new full-time employees. Ultimately, WTCSD crowned Blue Sky Network MetroConnect V’s winner and awarded it a $25,000 grant toward its international expansion goals.
Over the past five years of MetroConnect, 80 companies collectively leveraged $890,000 in export grants, resulting in a $95 millionnet increase in exports from the San Diego region.
2. WTCSD debuts a regional trade and investment strategy for 2025
In 2015, San Diego Regional EDC’s release of “Go Global: San Diego’s Trade and Investment Initiative,” launched the World Trade Center in San Diego, bringing regional companies and stakeholders together with a global vision. Throughout 2020 and early 2021, WTC engaged many of the same partners, and new ones, in an effort to gauge how the region measured up to it, more than five years later. This 2021 update analyzed the state of exports, foreign investment and VC, as well as the extraordinary impact of COVID. Through rigorous data analysis dozens of interviews with public and private-sector leaders, WTC synthesized a set of five key priorities the region should focus on over the next five years. Find out what they are here. Key findings include:
2020 saw $3 billion in foreign investment into San Diego
73 percent of investment into San Diego is in Life Sciences
San Diego exports $22 billion in goods each year
San Diego is a top 10 services exporter among U.S. metros
Heading into 2022, we expect to see FDI investment portfolios return to the same levels seen in 2019.
3. Export Small Business Development Center (SBDC) supports export and COVID-relief projects
Beyond MetroConnect, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at WTCSD provided 35 export-ready small companies with the support needed to navigate international goals, including exports, manufacturing support, and more.
In addition to expansion support, the Export Specialty Center continued to offer COVID-19 recovery resources at no cost, helping San Diego companies like Funki Adventures apply to Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) 2nd Draw, Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, and City and County small business grants.
Finally, the Global Readiness Program saw a partnership between WTCSD and the University of San Diego help local small to mid-sized businesses secure STEP grants to grow the regional export pipeline.
4. WTCSD serves as a key source of market intelligence
WTCSD conducted a series of business surveys to better inform decision making of regional partners and affiliates. These included:
Corporate Travel Survey:
Survey of 12 large businesses and two non-profits in the region to better understand travel and budgets forecasts for the year ahead. This information was critical for the retention of existing service out of SAN and for the attraction of future direct flights. It found:
79 percent of respondents are willing to pay a premium to fly on a San Diego nonstop route versus flying out from Tijuana or Los Angeles
56 percent of respondents expressed a desire for nonstop service to Mexico City and Sao Paulo
EDC Changing Business Landscape Survey:
Survey of more than 100 business in the San Diego region, aimed at informing long-term development priorities, across business areas. It found:
14 percent of respondents currently import and/or export out of the Port of San Diego
24 percent of those surveyed would be interested in using the Port of San Diego if they provided service to the types of goods they ship
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
Welcome to the fifth edition in EDC’s Changing Business Landscape Series, which will be published bi-monthly in the San Diego Business Journal and here on our blog. If you missed them, check out all past editions here.
Surveying the changing business landscape in San Diego
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every facet of life, including how businesses operate. Companies in every industry are rapidly re-evaluating how they do business, changing the way they interact with customers, manage supply chains and where their employees are physically located. This has massive immediate and long-term implications for San Diego’s workforce and job composition, as well as regional land use decisions and infrastructure investment.
To identify evolving trends in local business needs and operations, ensuring their ability to grow and thrive in the region, San Diego Regional EDC is surveying nearly 200 companies in the region’s key industries on a rolling basis throughout 2021 to monitor and report shifts in their priorities and strategies. In addition, EDC constructed the San Diego Business Recovery Index (BRI)—a sentiment index to measure companies’ perceptions of current conditions, as well as expectations for the future across several factors such as business development, employment, and commercial real estate needs. (An index value >50 reflects expansion, and a value <50 reflects contraction. More information on the index and how it is calculated is available here.)
These insights will help inform long-term economic development priorities around talent recruitment and retention, quality job creation, and infrastructure development. Companies are surveyed on several topics, with varying emphases in each wave.
Here are three key findings from the wave of surveying conducted in October 2021:
For software companies, the struggle is now real. They have been among the most optimistic industries surveyed, but now face similar challenges to other industries.
The market for skilled talent has never been hotter. A great convergence of talent needs is turning hiring difficulties into slower job growth.
Supply chain disruptions appear to be pinching profit margins. Input prices have risen for many companies, but most are reluctant to pass along higher costs to their customers and opting to sacrifice earnings for now.
The BRI took a step back in October to settle at 54.1, marking the second consecutive decline since June. The topline index value edged 1.2 points lower from August’s 55.3 but is 9.6 points off its June high of 63.7. The deterioration stems from weaker perceptions of present conditions, but slightly more hopeful views of the future helped keep the overall BRI in expansion territory.
Companies reported a slowing of both revenues and earnings. This comes after a period of record earnings in some industries but could also be the result of prolonged supply chain disruptions that have choked off necessary inputs and simultaneously prevented sales. Yet, businesses surveyed also expressed continued difficulty hiring and retaining workers, driving a significant slowdown in job growth.
For tech companies, the struggle is now real
Firms in industries with limited remote work capabilities, such as Healthcare and Aerospace, continued to express relatively pessimistic views. Joining this list are Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Software companies, which up to now have been among the most optimistic industries surveyed.
Software companies signaled revenues have begun to fall, along with an even steeper decline in earnings. Supply chain disruptions play a role here, as San Diego is top 10 exporter of services. Limited availability of or access to key inputs, as well as travel restrictions, have hindered San Diego Technology companies from growing their businesses. Making matters worse, these businesses also expressed far greater difficulty finding people to hire compared to the summer months, which is driving a significant slowdown in job growth. Taken together, these headwinds led respondents to sour on the economy—both presently as well as future expectations for the next six months to a year.
ICT firms have also lost some faith in their current and future economic prospects. Companies in this vertical are facing even greater supply chain difficulties than Software firms. Business development and hiring pose far greater challenges than they did in the summer. Worse still, worker retention has become nearly impossible as a record number and a record rate of people quit their jobs in September.
The market for skilled talent has never been hotter
Talent recruitment and retention challenges have undermined employers since before the pandemic began. What is new is employers reported a sharp slowdown in job growth as workers drive a hard bargain. Not only are workers seeking higher wages and more flexible work arrangements, but employers find themselves competing across industry for an increasingly limited pool of skilled talent.
The top posted occupation in San Diego during the last year, outside of registered nurses, was for software developers and software quality assurance testers. There were more than 23,000 unique job postings for those occupations going back to October 2020. The top posting companies for these jobs are tech giants, such as Qualcomm and Apple, as well as startups receiving record venture funding. However, manufacturers comprised a formidable second with 4,514 unique positions during that time.
Manufacturing in San Diego has long been advanced—producing everything from jet engines to medical devices—so elevated demand for software developers working on unmanned aerial systems or DNA sequencing may not be all that surprising. Nevertheless, digging a bit deeper, we find the second most listed skill among Manufacturing job postings was for Teradata SQL, an open-source database management system. In fact, during the past 12 months, Manufacturing job postings that included Teradata SQL quadrupled and represent nearly 71 percent of all postings seeking that skillset. The median advertised annual salary for jobs requiring this skillset is $126,000, which is up 40 percent from a year earlier, and about $5,000 more than in either San Francisco or San Jose, and about $30,000 more than in Seattle.
The demand for skilled talent is rising rapidly and spreading across industries. Unfortunately, the supply of that talent has not kept pace. In fact, census data show an overall decline in the number of total degree holders in the region since 2017. A rising cost of living against a backdrop of increasing competition from “tech markets” across the globe poses a real challenge for local companies. With still more than 86,000 people unemployed, it has never been more important that the region invest in upskilling and building a pipeline of local talent to fuel San Diego’s recovery and future growth.
Supply chain disruptions appear to be squeezing profit margins
Supply chain disruptions and inflation continue to dominate headlines. While these challenges appear to be temporary, they are impacting consumers and the business decisions of local companies. Companies surveyed indicated supply chains are just as challenging now as they were in June. Furthermore, these challenges are directly tied to increases in input prices. This is leaking downstream into business development and sales, which employers, on balance, now rate as only slightly expansionary.
As such, some companies are considering passing along higher input costs as margins get squeezed from both sides. This decision largely depends on the magnitude of price increases that companies are facing themselves. Most companies are willing to absorb the bulk of increased costs when those increases are relatively small; tolerance for deeper margin cuts were much smaller. Only one in four companies indicated wanting to pass along at least half of those increased costs, where input prices have risen less than five percent. However, companies are nearly twice as likely (44 percent) to do so where input prices rose more than five percent—principally those in Manufacturing.
Passing along increased costs is a short-term strategy to a complex problem. As such, some companies are reevaluating their supply chains, not just in terms of suppliers but also the networks they rely upon to receive inputs or distribute products. Of the companies surveyed, only 14 percent indicated currently using the Port of San Diego. However, nearly double (27 percent) expressed a willingness to do so in the future.
The survey results continue to reflect an uneven recovery across industries. The reported trends in employment line up squarely with recent jobs reports for the region. In total, San Diego establishments added an underwhelming 3,600 jobs to the economy in September. The sharp slowdown in job growth helps explain the upward shift in remote work adoption as well as future expectations for remote work accommodations. There are many surveys of workers, both locally and nationally, indicating that desires for flexibility and remote work are strong and sticky. Despite these challenges, employers surveyed remain optimistic about the next six to 12 months albeit somewhat more modest plans for expansion.
Stay tuned for more on San Diego’s changing business landscape. EDC will be back every other month with more trends and insights. For more data and analysis, visit our research page.
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 mayapply here.
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.
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.
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?
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
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!
Ten years ago, the BA flight set off a new focus within our region on the role that direct, nonstop service to international markets could play in growing our economy through foreign direct investment and global trade. It was the catalyst for our Japan Airlines flight to Tokyo, our Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt, and continued strategies to expand our global reach and connectivity.
The flight also played a key role in the rebuilding of our region’s World Trade Center (WTC). We learned quickly that trade-related jobs were the kind of quality jobs we were hoping to create for more San Diegans, and that engagement with international markets could have a significant and positive impact on our region’s diverse small business community.
Now operated through EDC, the WTC partnership between the City of San Diego, the San Diego Airport, and the Port of San Diego was at its strongest just when the global pandemic shut down international travel (and life as we knew it). But while tourism and mobility from continent to continent slowed to a halt, the need for San Diego-based business to develop partnerships in foreign markets, tap into an international customer base, and draw financing from international investors did not. And while the work of WTC changed and pivoted slightly, the role that the team played in keeping our business community connected to international markets and resources remained steadfast.
It used to be very common for me to bump into colleagues at events who would ask, “Where do you think San Diego’s next international flight will be to?” or “Where is the WTC team going for their next trade mission?” I honestly so look forward to the days when these conversations and plans will be the norm again. But until then, I take great pride in the work our team continues to do to with our small business community to keep them globally connected and well-positioned to take advantage of new opportunities around the world as they emerge.
Consider Tijuana, Mexico. Our binational region, which includes San Diego County, Imperial County, and the Mexican State of Baja California, is home to more than 7.1 million people – and specializes in high-value goods and services.
San Diego and Tijuana jointly host some of the world’s strongest innovation clusters, including the world’s largest medical device cluster (Trade and Competitiveness in North America, 2018), due in part to significant foreign direct investment from global firms that often co-locate on both sides of the border. Firms like Thermo Fisher Scientific are already leveraging all our binational region has to offer, including specialized production processes and highly-skilled workers.
Who should consider leveraging cross-border talent?
Companies that are:
Considering outsourcing talent outside of San Diego
Currently outsourcing talent but looking to build a geographically closer team
Cost-conscious but looking to expand
Small to mid-sized and struggling to compete in the battle for talent.
can all benefit from leveraging talent in both San Diego and Tijuana.
Why consider cross-border talent?
Tijuana’s proximity to San Diego makes it a strong strategic choice for talent and business partnership, and is an even better one in the midst of COVID-19.
First, compared to working with talent around the world, there can be fewer limitations when your company leverages talent in Tijuana – whether visa-related or otherwise. For regional innovation companies like those in the life sciences cluster, too, the ability to transport samples between San Diego and Tijuana teams is much simpler and quicker than other international options.
And when it comes to culture and oversight, Tijuana is just 20 minutes south of San Diego, allowing management to provide more direct support via easy day trips to Tijuana teams and offices. Because Tijuana is in the same time zone as San Diego, teams can enjoy easier collaboration and culture-building every day – whether or not companies remain remote or consider returning to on-site work.
Who can help me?
If leveraging Tijuana talent can help your company but you’re not sure where to begin, there are a number of programs and partners that may be able to support or help fund your cross-border talent search.