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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


WTC San Diego

October 8, 2019
 
One of the core missions of World Trade Center San Diego is to enhance the region’s global identity in order to boost its global fluency and competitiveness. By hosting foreign delegations of business, academia and government leaders from around the world, WTCSD is able to brand San Diego among important stakeholders as well as attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to the region and make connections in key markets. 
 
In Q3, WTC hosted four delegations, consisting of more than 60 individuals from Australia, China, and Mexico. One of the delegations included the U.S.‐Mexico Relations Program at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy program, which brought more than 25 government officials and emerging leaders from Mexico. The program focused on international relations and institutions, the U.S. political system, regional economic development, and U.S.‐Mexico relations. For this delegation, WTC led a discussion surrounding cross-border political and economic activity along with the trade impacts on the region. Following this discussion, EDC and the WTC San Diego teams coordinated a visit for the delegation to meet with local Congressman Scott Peters. 
 
Additionally, WTC and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted a business round table with Australian Ambassador Joe Hockey. Local business leaders engaged in discussions with Ambassador Hockey regarding the US/Indio-Pacific international trade landscape and the U.S.-Australian trade and investment relationship. Ambassador Hockey led an engaging conversation focused on the private investment opportunities between San Diego and Australia. San Diego companies and organizations used the meeting to highlight potential projects and discuss other global priorities for the region. 
 
After each delegation visit and meetings, the delegates become part of the WTC San Diego’s global network and continue staying engaged in the organization’s activity. WTC welcomes delegations to San Diego and is proud to represent the San Diego region in a global capacity. 
 
For more information on delegation support contact Itzel Moncada at IM@sandiegobusiness.org
 

October 8, 2019
In celebration of the region’s global competitiveness, WTC hosted the #SDgoesglobal reception on Monday, September 30, at Farmer & the Seahorse in Torrey Pines.  The reception, sponsored by Lufthansa, marked the kick-off event for WTC San Diego’s Germany Trade Mission taking place in October.  
 
The reception was attended by Germany Trade Mission delegates, previous delegates from WTC San Diego trade missions to Vancouver, London, and Japan, as well as local MetroConnect companies. Nikia Clarke, Ph.D. Executive Director of WTCSD, opened the program by highlighting the important role that partner organizations play in assisting the regional #SDgoesglobal effort led by WTC San Diego. Martina Hupach and Kiana Sabet with Lufthansa Group discussed the strength of San Diego’s global competitiveness as a result of the region’s partnership with Lufthansa Group since 2017. 
 
Over the last four years, WTC San Diego has worked closely with its global partners to plan strategic trade missions to international cities with close economic ties to San Diego. Thanks to a new direct flight service from San Diego to Frankfurt offered by Europe’s only five-star airline, Lufthansa, it’s perfect timing for a group of senior local business, academic, and government leaders to be visiting Germany.
 
The upcoming trade mission to Frankfurt and Munich, Germany from October 21-25 will feature events, tours and meetings focused on intelligent mobility, smart cities, and precision health—sectors that are vital to the future of San Diego’s economy. 
 
For more information on the upcoming Germany Trade Mission and WTC San Diego’s global connectivity, contact Jesse Gipe at JG@sandiegobusiness.org.

October 3, 2019

EDC’s Trade and Competitiveness in North America study launched in 2018 identified the innovation economy as a growing industry in San Diego County, Imperial County, and Baja California—otherwise known as Cali Baja. Among the key takeaways from this study, the high-value services offered in Cali Baja are the future of trade in North America.

According to the study, by 2020, 51% of total trade within Cali Baja will take place in the service sector, not in commodities. This growth creates service sector creates opportunities within San Diego and Tijuana for cross-border collaboration and development within San Diego’s current innovation economy.

To further support this trend, WTC San Diego provides tailored services to San Diego-based companies considering Baja California for expansion. In Q3 2019, WTC San Diego offered consultative services to two tech companies considering expansion into Tijuana, Baja California. One of the companies is a business intelligence services company, which provides its clients with various IT solutions. The other is a logistics company focused on supporting the manufacturing industry. Both of these companies are expanding their software activities by leveraging the competitive advantage in Tijuana’s innovation ecosystem.

In order to help the company’s executives understand the TJ tech ecosystem, WTC San Diego coordinated visits to various locations and facilitated introductions to key public and private sector partners for both San Diego companies. The key partners included Tijuana EDC, Eazy Workspace, MIND Hub Tech Incubator, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Red Door Interactive, which are all valuable examples and assets to companies exploring Tijuana.

As their expansion process continues, WTC San Diego will continue providing consultative services to these companies and any others that are interested in learning more about software capabilities south of the border.

For more information on WTC’s cross-border activity, contact Jesse Gipe at JG@sandiegobusiness.org.

October 3, 2019

Last summer, 20 San Diego-based companies were selected to participate in World Trade Center (WTC) San Diego’s export assistance program—MetroConnect. Participants were equipped with a $10,000 grant and programmatic resources over the course of a year, with the intent of helping them access international markets and boost export sales.

The companies in MetroConnect Year 4 collectively generated a net increase of $69.6 million in exports sales, signed 369 international contracts, and opened 10 new facilities overseas. Together, these participating companies also added 97 jobs right here in San Diego–evidence that exporting can make businesses more dynamic and resilient back home.

After collecting initial results from this year’s cohort, WTC San Diego formed a MetroConnect Judging Committee to determine which four companies would be invited back to compete in the MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest. On November 13, the pitch competition will award one company an additional $35,000 and deemed the grand prize winner of MetroConnect Year 4.

The four finalists:

  • Bitchin’ Sauce
    • A San Diego staple served at street fairs for years, the almond-based, gluten-free, Non-GMO and vegan sauce is great for veggies and a spread. Now available at retailers in San Diego and beyond.
  • Eddy Pump
    • An engineering and manufacturing company producing state-of-the-art material handling equipment for a multitude of industries including military, oil, mining, energy, and more across the globe.
  • LRAD Corporation
    • Manufacturer and developer of long-range acoustic hailing devices, mass notification, and distributed messaging systems, which allow users to clearly communicate warnings and instructions, resolve uncertain situations, and enhance safety in a variety of applications for defense, law enforcement, and more.
  • Scientist.com
    • The world's leading marketplace for sourcing scientific research services.

Congratulations to these companies on their success, and we look forward to seeing them make their pitch in November!

Details for the MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest

·         Who: 200+ attendees primarily within San Diego’s international business community (exporting companies, service providers, trade organizations, program stakeholders)

·         When: Wednesday, November 13 from 2:30 – 5:30 PM

·         Where: The Alexandria at Torrey Pines and Farmer & the Seahorse

·         Why: This event marks the finale of MetroConnet 2018-2019 program. The audience and a judging panel (50/50 split) will vote for the grand prize winner to receive a $35,000 check, courtesy of JPMorgan Chase

Following the pitch competition, there will be a company showcase and reception at Farmer & the Seahorse. Learn more and get tickets for the event here.

July 9, 2019

Since 2013, the U.S. Department of Commerce hosts its annual SelectUSA Investment Summit, making it the country’s largest trade show for foreign direct investment (FDI). This year, in partnership with the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) International Affairs and Business Development team, WTC San Diego and San Diego Regional EDC staff attended the event to promote California and San Diego.

Garnering more than 2,000 attendees and an impressive slew of speakers, the conference featured keynotes from Secretary Wilbur Ross, Larry Kudlow, and Ivanka Trump, alongside dozens of technical presentations. US Ambassadors from all over the world brought delegations of companies set on expanding into the US from their respective countries to learn about the competitive advantages of each state. At the conference, economic development representatives from nearly all 50 states vie for the attention of these companies by demonstrating why their state is best suited to support international expansion. While some states resort to fun, unique antics like utilizing a Captain America outfit to draw in crowds, the delegates from California drew attention to the immense academic investment and corporate strengths of the fifth largest economy in the world.

In the span of two days, WTC staff met with more than a dozen companies from across the globe – Israel to China and UK to Japan – specifically discussing each country’s interest in San Diego. As states and regions compete to attract foreign investment, increased coordination and collaboration across California is necessary to help combat any negative narratives, and ultimately, highlight the success of the entire state’s economy.

With Bud Colligan as Sr. Advisor for International Affairs and Trade for California, there's been an increased call for California to develop more robust trade and FDI strategy. According to SelectUSA, majority-foreign-owned companies support 769,20 jobs in California, placing the state in a distant first with Texas coming in second by supporting 596,900 jobs.

If you are interested in WTC San Diego’s approach to creating a statewide strategy for foreign direct investment, contact Director of World Trade Center San Diego, Jesse Gipe at jg@sandiegobusiness.org.

July 9, 2019

Now in its fourth year, MetroConnect is World Trade Center San Diego’s flagship export assistance program, underwritten by JPMorgan Chase. Following a competitive application process, 15 to 20 export-ready, small and medium-sized businesses receive a $10,000 challenge grant and programmatic services to aid their international expansion efforts. During the course of one year, participating companies get access to complimentary services and preferred rates from program partners, as well as technical assistance trainings in areas such as data privacy, export compliance, supply chain, IP protection, and more.

For the fourth and final workshop of the program period, WTC partnered with MetroConnect sponsor SYSTRAN and consultant JAS Forwarding to host a two-part workshop focused on language translation and supply chain solutions. The first portion of the workshop titled, “The Language Traps of Going Global,” focused on the importance of selling in the local language and the contemporary software solutions available to small businesses. Ken Behan, vice president of sales and marketing, and Philip Staiger, technical account manager at SYSTRAN demoed SYSTRAN’s pure neural server and took questions from the companies in attendance.

The latter half of the workshop, presented by JAS Forwarding Worldwide, focused on “Freight Forwarding & Supply Chain Solutions.” Matt Halpin, business development manager at JAS Forwarding, and Tyler Sullivan, senior national account director at JAS Government & Defense, provided a synopsis of the logistics behind exporting/importing goods to and from the San Diego region.

The 2019 MetroConnect Grand Prize Pitchfest will take place on November 13, 2019 at The Alexandria. The top four performing companies from this year’s cohort will compete for an additional $35,000 in funding to accelerate their international expansion efforts.

 

June 28, 2019

MetroConnect company Telaeris is a privately-owned San Diego company that develops RFIDs (Radio Frequency Identification) and contactless smartcards for businesses. RFIDs and its related products are important contemporary solutions for the efficient management of inventory and assets. RFIDs are also important in tracking the flow of people, as it is one of the basic technologies that make a security badge function.

In September of 2018, Telaeris was selected to be one of 20 participating companies in World Trade Center (WTC) San Diego’s MetroConnect export assistance program. The company received a $10K grant, courtesy of JPMorgan Chase, as well as programmatic support in order to access international markets and boost export sales. Programmatic support included educational workshops, marketing and PR support, and access to preferred rates and discounts with airline and industry partners.

At the beginning of the 2018 program, WTC’s team connected Telaeris to MetroConnect sponsor SYSTRAN, to provide complimentary translation services for the nearly 100,000 lines of code the company needed modified.  Once the company had taken the SYSTRAN software as far as it could go, Telaeris used its $10k in grant funds to pay for expert human translators in Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and more, to polish the code to ready it for market.

In April, the company attended a trade mission to the South of France with the Port of San Diego and WTC San Diego. There, the company was able to market its localized product to French electronic tracking company Coppernic. As a result, Telaeris was able to ink a deal and have eight Coppernic employees (six in Europe; two in Africa) trained to sell Telaeris’ enterprise technology, thereby expanding its sales capability to regions where it had never had a presence before. Additionally, this relationship has led to two potential deals (currently in the works) worth $25K each.

“The MetroConnect program, presented by JPMorgan Chase, has been an amazing catalyst to super-charge the way our company approaches international business development. Our company has been around for 14 years, but with the tools and resources provided through MetroConnect, we are now on track to target many large markets that make up the majority of the world that does not speak English. Capitalizing on these opportunities makes us a more resilient and prosperous company back home.”

– David Carta, CEO & President at Telaeris

 

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)