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WTC San Diego

April 10, 2019

World Trade Center (WTC) San Diego's flagship export assistance program, MetroConnect, helps local companies in the region with their efforts in accessing international markets and executing sales overseas. For the 2019 program, twenty companies are selected to participate, including five defense companies who received exclusive access to a consultant that advised on regulatory compliance issues in addition to the services available for supporting international expansion plans.

During Q1 2019, WTC, LRAD Corporation and JAS Forwarding were able to sit down and discuss specific ways to potentially update LRAD's internal and export compliance procedures for its long-range acoustic devices. To assist in furthering its global footprint, WTC was able to leverage the organization's extensive global network and put LRAD in touch with data privacy experts in the European Union.

Additionally, LRAD identified South and Central America as target areas for potential sales growth, and the WTCSD team connected the company with a vetted list of port operators in Latin America and the Caribbean. These relationships stemmed from a delegation held in fall 2018, in partnership with Port of San Diego and World Trade Center, DC. 

 

April 10, 2019

World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) works to connect San Diego to global resources. Before a company sets up a location in San Diego, it needs customers. That's where WTCSD comes in.

 

Recognizing San Diego's role as a cleantech’s hub and the region's forward-thinking adoption of green policies, in January, a Japanese-maker of alternative paper and plastic products reached out to World Trade Center San Diego. Not only was the firm interested in potential customers that might need its product, but they were also looking to cultivate relationships with local manufacturers.

Through WTCSD's MetroConnect participants and other regional partners, WTCSD was able to compile a list of potential leads and provided curated introductions to hoteliers and retailers in San Diego with a track record of progressive climate action. On the manufacturing end, EDC also was able to connect the company with contract manufacturers in the San Diego region, which lays the foundation for the Japanese-based company to make a future investment in San Diego.

 

April 1, 2019
 
On March 7, WTC San Diego in partnership with Tendy LLC hosted a roundtable event which facilitated proactive conversations between business executives from San Diego’s innovation economy and representatives from the Consulates General of Ethiopia, South Africa, and Zambia. Discussions centered around opportunities and innovations within the healthcare, energy, infrastructure, mobility, and tourism sectors, as well as ways in which each region could grow and improve upon their economic development strategies. This event, a first of its kind here in SD, is a follow-up to a similar event organized by Tendy LLC in New York City, during UN General Assembly Week, with the goal of demystifying what it means to do business in various African countries, educating businesses and organizations on the opportunities present and growing in these nations, and facilitating a venue through which partnerships and deal flow can be established. Takeda Research, the premiere biotech-like research center for the Japan-based pharmaceutical company, hosted this event which drew attendees from local companies and organizations such as Cleantech San Diego, the City of San Diego, UC San Diego, Kaiser Permanente, FoxFury Lighting Solutions, PKL Services, IPS Group Inc, and Viasat.
 
In the healthcare and medical roundtable Zambia’s Honorary Consul, Robert Sichinga, noted that countries are seeking committed, long-term international partnerships. In the past, large companies have come in, conducted their study, helped a limited number of individuals from the hosting country, and departed. The hope is that in the future, these companies look for more long-lasting, sustainable, relationships to truly increase the availability and efficiency of modern medicine on the continent, while also allowing for knowledge transfer, training, and education of local populations, as well as potential job increases. 
 
According to the Ethiopian investment agency, foreign direct investment is booming in the East African country. This is primarily a result of its increased focus on manufacturing and agriculture. As trade frameworks such as AGOA emerge and receive resounding support from African nations, countries are realizing a renewed energy and focus on inter-African trade as well as increasing their partnerships with other trading blocks to boost investments in agriculture, agri-processing, transportation infrastructure, and renewable energy.
 
Like anywhere else, life in Africa is not without challenges. In 2014, the World Bank estimated that nearly 600 million people were without electricity. Access to clean water and medical care also remains an issue. However, with challenges come great opportunities for innovation, change, and collaboration. The CEO of FoxFury Lighting Solutions, Mario Cugini, provided the delegates with a demonstration of how products such as its scene lights—high intensity, highly functioning LED lights which could greatly aid hospitals and operating rooms and other critical infrastructure whose efficacy is reduced by unreliable power supplies. The potential for such lighting applications is endless in sectors such as wildlife management, first responder/emergency operations, healthcare, infrastructure and construction. IPS Group, the leader in smart meter technology and implementation, was also on hand for a joint conversation with Viasat around how investments in solar energy, wireless infrastructure, and banking solutions are all imperative to taking their technology abroad.
 
For more information on how you can tap into business opportunities within the African continent, please contact Lucas Coleman at the World Trade Center San Diego. 
 
The image above is from the roundtable. Pictured Back L to R: John Reeves (Viasat), Robert Sichinga (HonConZambia), Oscar Adley (PKL), Berthran Ugeh (Tendy LLC), Cem Hacioglu (West African LNG Group), David Pasquini (UK Gov’t Office SD), Erik Caldwell (City of San Diego), Blake Erickson (unaffiliated); Middle: Hilda Mwangi (WTC San Diego at time of picture), Brian Webber (IPS Group Inc), Kimberly Robling (PKL Services), Valerie Achieng (UCSD MBA Student), Mario Cugini (FoxFury); Bottom: Shakira Motan (South African Consulate Chicago), Betelehem Abera Haile (Ethiopian Consulate Los Angeles), Muktar Mohammed Ware (Ethiopian Consulate Los Angeles), Patience Onyegbule (Kaiser), Runa Tarannum (self employed consultant)
 
 
 
February 28, 2019

This week, WTC San Diego teamed up with Elaine Harwell, senior counsel at Procopio, to host a roundtable on a topic that has generated much confusion, interest, and anxiety over the past year – data privacy.

In May 2018, the European Union’s first-of-its-kind data privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), went into effect. With limited case law to aid in its interpretation, companies and regulators alike have since scrambled to ensure compliance and avoid penalties such as the $57 million fine levied on Google by France’s top data privacy agency.

The GDPR also propelled data privacy laws in other parts of the world. Last June, Governor Brown signed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) of 2018, cementing into state law many of the general tenets from Europe’s GDPR. These include the right to know what personal information is being collected and with whom it is being shared, as well as the right to have personal information deleted from company databases. GDPR and CCPA share the objectives of increasing transparency, broadening existing definitions of data processing, and encouraging business behavior that prioritizes data security. At least 24 states in the U.S. now have laws that address the data security practices of private sector entities. This is a new reality, and for companies of any size, developing and maintaining a data privacy framework needs to be a priority.

For updates on upcoming workshops and events, you can subscribe to WTC San Diego’s newsletters or follow us on Twitter. If you are a company looking to grow your exports and international presence, also check out WTC San Diego’s flagship export assistance program – MetroConnect

December 12, 2018

Together in 2018

EDC put San Diego on the global stage; made the case for inclusion as an economic imperative; and helped catalyze company growth here and abroad. Watch our full story below.

With and through EDC's investors and partners, we will continue to build a thriving and inclusive San Diego. Here's to another year, in it together.

November 13, 2018

During World Trade Center San Diego’s Trade Mission to Tokyo and Yokohoma, Japan,  Scientist.com, the world's leading marketplace for outsourced scientific services, announced it will expand to Japan, opening an office in Tokyo.

“Scientist.com has recently created enterprise marketplaces for several Japanese pharmaceutical companies,” stated Dan Kagan, PhD, Scientist.com’s Chief Operating Officer. “WTC San Diego’s trade mission will help Scientist.com continue its rapid expansion into the Asian-Pacific region.”
 
The San Diego-based ecommerce marketplace will open an office at the Nihonbashi Life Sciences building, where UC San Diego and other major life sciences companies also house international offices. Scientist.com has recently seen growth in its Japanese clientele; it currently operates marketplaces for several large Japanese pharmaceutical companies.
 
Japan is the third largest economy in the world and a hub for scientific research and exploration. It is also a top-five export market for San Diego goods and services.
 
Scientist.com has more than 70 employees worldwide. In addition to its San Diego headquarters, it also has offices in the UK and Boston. The Japanese expansion announcement comes on the heels of several accolades recognizing Scientist.com’s growth. In August 2018 Scientist.com was ranked #9 on the Inc. 5000 list of fasting-growing privately owned companies in the US.
 
Scientist.com is joining a San Diego delegation of local politicians, industry executives and academic leaders. The company is also one of twenty San Diego companies awarded a $10,000 grant as part of WTC San Diego’s MetroConnect program, a comprehensive export assistance program designed to help local companies accelerate their global growth.
November 12, 2018

In an effort to create a connection between vital economic trading partners, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) and World Trade Center San Diego, an affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC, are leading a delegation to Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan. During the trade mission, local companies and organizations will promote key San Diego industries, establish and develop business relationships and explore opportunities for San Diego companies to tap into Japan’s expertise in urban planning and life sciences.

“In today’s global economy, San Diego’s success depends on fostering international relationships that bring investment and jobs to our region,” said Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52). “Japan shares our commitment to life sciences and our startup culture, creating opportunities for collaboration every day. Strengthening our partnership will foster innovation and economic growth in both our regions.”                                                

Japan is currently the third largest economy in the world, and one of San Diego’s most vital trading partners. According to World Trade Center Los Angeles, nearly 12,000 San Diegans are directly employed by Japan-based companies including SONY, Takeda and more. Additionally, there was more than $3.4 billion in economic activity between San Diego and Japan from 2016 -2018.

“Ever since the launch of Japan Airlines' direct service from San Diego, we have seen an influx in foreign investment from the Japanese market,” said Nikia Clarke, executive director of World Trade Center San Diego and vice president of economic development at San Diego Regional EDC. “As the rhetoric around global engagement shifts, now, more than ever, it is essential that we reinforce San Diego’s brand so it is top of mind for investors and companies.”

Over the three day trade mission, San Diego will look to bolster its tech and life sciences industries through various meetings and partnership deals with Japanese counterparts. Some crucial agenda items include:

  • An announcement from a San Diego-based biotech startup that is expanding to Tokyo.
  • A ‘trends in venture capital forum’ with Qualcomm, Yahoo! Japan and others at Plug and Play, the world’s largest technology accelerator.
  • A celebration of more than 60 years of a “Sister City” relationship with Yokohama, Japan.
  • An immersive visit to Takeda’s Shonan Health Innovation Park, one of the first collaborative academic and private sector research centers in Japan.
  • Panels and programming surrounding best practices and ideas exchanges on climate change with Scripps Institute of Oceanography as well as leadership and gender equity.

Delegates will participate in upwards of 15 meetings over the course of the trade mission, sharing best practices and formulating collaborations across many verticals. The 31-San Diego delegates include representatives from Northrop Grumman, Qualcomm Takeda California and more.  Also in attendance are key San Diego agencies, universities and civic organizations such as the Port of San Diego, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, San Diego State University, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, UC San Diego and more.

Additionally, many small businesses and startups, including FoxFury Lighting Solutions, Planck Aerosystems and Scientist.com, will have the opportunity to engage in business development opportunities with Japanese counterparts.

As Tokyo looks to modernize infrastructure and grapples with key issues ahead of the 2020 Olympics, San Diego leaders have the unique opportunity to learn from counterparts across the globe, while also maintaining ties that create jobs and boost the regional economy.

At a time of mounting global uncertainty, World Trade Center San Diego conducts periodic trade missions to drive long term relationships for San Diego’s economy. In 2017, World Trade Center San Diego and Congressman Peters led a trade mission to London, which enabled startup Forge Therapeutics to double its headcount in San Diego and expand to a new facility.

This trade mission is organized by World Trade Center San Diego, an affiliate of the San Diego Regional EDC.

Follow along during the trade mission: #SDinJapan.

November 1, 2018
Today as part of its local expansion, software startup Cloudbeds unveiled its new San Diego headquarters alongside Congressmember Scott Peters and San Diego Regional EDC. Reflective of its company culture and of the region’s innovative technology cluster, the company’s newly expanded office space is vibrant – chock-full of art, a game room, outdoor working space and picnic area, and a 12-foot willow tree and turf in its common area.
 
Founded in 2012 by native San Diegans and UC San Diego Rady School of Management MBA graduates Adam Harris and Richard Castle, the company creates cloud-based hospitality management software and employs nearly 25 in San Diego, with plans for further growth.
 
“We’re extremely proud of the team across the world for making our growth so far possible, and we plan to continue in a much bigger way,” said Adam Harris, CEO at Cloudbeds. “We plan to have grown by 50 percent globally over our current size at the end of 2019.”
 
Some of that growth will be focused in San Diego. Cloudbeds is currently looking to fill technical positions to support the continued development of its hospitality software. Additionally, Cloudbeds was recently selected to take part in MetroConnect 2018, an export assistance program run by World Trade Center San Diego (WTC) – an affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC – and designed to help San Diego companies accelerate their global growth. Over the next year, Cloudbeds will work directly with WTC and EDC to expand into more global markets – specifically targeting India and Southeast Asia. The company currently supports 200 jobs across 28 countries.
 
“We’re thrilled Cloudbeds is expanding in San Diego. Its new headquarters is truly reflective of the region’s tech ecosystem – creative, innovative and collaborative," said Nikia Clarke, VP of Economic Development, San Diego Regional EDC. "As part of our MetroConnect program, EDC and WTC San Diego look forward to supporting Cloudbeds’ continued growth here and abroad.”
 
“Congratulations to Cloudbeds – a product of San Diego innovation that started right here at UCSD’s Rady School of Management. Their new headquarters fits right in with our top technology sector and thriving hospitality sector,” said Congressman Peters. “I’m proud to support growing startups, like Cloudbeds, that are changing the way we approach business solutions and I look forward to celebrating their success.”

 
October 18, 2018

Today, WTC San Diego and Congressman Scott Peters visited current MetroConnect company LRAD Corporation to tour its new, expanded facility in Rancho Bernardo. The new space will support LRAD as it doubles its workforce and fulfills an $11 million U.S. Army order for acoustic hailing devices – its largest contract on record.

Another example of an #SDlifechanging company: LRAD creates long range acoustic hailing devices, mass notification, and messaging systems that enable users to clearly communicate warnings and instructions, resolve uncertain situations, and enhance safety.

And LRAD is taking its life-saving technology global. After a competitive process, WTC San Diego recently announced that LRAD is one of 20 local companies participating in our export accelerator program, MetroConnect. Over the next year, WTC will work closely with LRAD to help the company increase its export potential in European markets.

The company has seen extensive growth over the last decade, with a presence in 72 countries. This is a testament to the impact of LRAD’s mass notification technology – which is not only applicable to defense, law enforcement and public safety, homeland and border security agencies, but also helps with critical infrastructure protection, fire rescue, and much more all around the world.

Despite national rhetoric, data shows companies that are global pay higher wages, increase productivity in the domestic market, are less likely to go out of business, and spur more efficient R&D here at home. And now more than ever, it's important that we step up to support local companies in sharing their life-changing innovation with the rest of the world.

Congratulations to LRAD, not just on its growth here at home, but its success abroad. Here's to more to come.

 

September 26, 2018

San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and World Trade Center San Diego (WTC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. and business and civic leaders unveiled the 20 companies selected to participate in the MetroConnect program, a comprehensive export assistance program to help local companies accelerate their global growth.

“Expanding San Diego’s global reach is vital to creating more local jobs for San Diegans and boosting our regional economy,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “The MetroConnect program and their growing companies are introducing innovative products and services to new international markets and sharing San Diego's story with the rest of the world."

From visual-aid tech startup Aira, to soap manufacturer Dr. Bronner’s, to top 10 Inc. 5000 company Scientist.com, the 2018 MetroConnect companies represent a diverse cross section of San Diego’s innovation economy.

Now in its fourth program-year, the MetroConnect program equips small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs) with a suite of financial and programmatic resources in their efforts to bring their products and services global. Program resources include:

  •  $10,000 in matching grants to cover up to 50 percent of the costs associated with international expansion, made possible by JPMorgan Chase and the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment and EDC’s 501(c)(3) Foundation
  • Dedicated WTC San Diego staff manager to support company participants in deploying overseas strategies during the grant period
  • Free export consulting with JAS Forwarding (USA), Inc. on ITAR/EAR regulations and other export activities; in-kind support by San Diego International Airpor
  • Access to workshops that address export compliance, financing and fundraising and more
  • Reduced airfare on the Japan Airlines direct flight from San Diego to Tokyo, and on Air Canada direct flights from San Diego to Canada. Assigned Lufthansa agent for direct flights from San Diego to Frankfurt, Germany
  • Access to country representatives at the Japan External Trade Organization and the United Kingdom Government Office in San Diego
  •  Free access to SYSTRAN software for website translation and customer service needs
  • Consideration to compete for an additional $35,000 during the MetroConnect Grand Prize Pitchfest in June 2019

“JPMorgan Chase is proud to continue supporting the global expansion of San Diego businesses,” said Tim West, Executive Director and head of JPMorgan Chase’s Middle Market Banking practice in San Diego. “MetroConnect will empower these 20 local companies to grow in targeted international markets, and help them navigate many of the complex nuances of global business. MetroConnect’s track record speaks for itself, and we’re looking forward to seeing the program’s continued impact on the San Diego economy.”

Since the program’s debut in 2015, 45 MetroConnect alumni have collectively generated $15 million in new export sales, signed more than 116 new contracts, added 161 new jobs to the region, set up nine new overseas facilities and seen four successful company exits. Past participants include Calbiotech (now ERBA Diagnostics), Rough Draft Brewing, Deering Banjo Company, Cypher Genomics (acquired by Human Longevity Inc.), Planck Aerosystems and many more.

“Amid increasing uncertainty over national trade policy, ensuring that local companies get the tools they need to be successful overseas is more important than ever.  We know that companies that export pay higher wages, are less likely to go out of business, and become more competitive and resilient,” said Nikia Clarke, executive director of World Trade Center San Diego. “Thanks to JPMorgan Chase, the MetroConnect program helps San Diego companies export their innovation around the world, which creates jobs and opportunities back here at home.”

Against the backdrop of rapid changes in global production, a newfound ‘trade war’ with China, and renegotiations of trade agreements, it is more important than ever to support SMEs in going global. In 2015 alone, San Diego exported more than $17 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. 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.

For more information about MetroConnect, please visit MetroConnectSD.org.

The 2018 MetroConnect companies are:

1.       Aira

2.       Allett

3.       Arctic Zero, Inc.

4.       AtYourGate

5.       Bitchin' Sauce

6.       Cloudbeds

7.       Conectric Networks

8.       Dr. Bronner's

9.       Eddy Pump Corporation

10.   Epitope Diagnostics Inc.

11.   Hookit

12.   IPS Group Inc.

13.   KULR Technology Corp.

14.   LRAD Corporation

15.   MRP Training Solutions

16.   PKL Services

17.   Quality Controlled Manufacturing, Inc.

18.   Raveon Technologies Corporation

19.   Scientist.com

20.   Telaeris, Inc.


The MetroConnect program is highly competitive, with just 20 companies selected based on a variety of criteria, including interest in new markets, interest in targeted metro markets, assessed impact of funds, current international traction and more. This is up from just 15 companies in the first three years of the program. Applicants were assessed by a panel of judges, including representatives from Qualcomm Ventures, Biocom, U.S. Commercial Service, Tech San Diego, Rough Draft Brewing, San Diego State University, Tech San Diego, UC San Diego, San Diego Regional EDC and WTC San Diego.