Skip to Content
The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Big Picture San Diego Blog

July 5, 2018

With and through our investors, EDC works to maximize San Diego’s economic competitiveness. Click through the links below to see how.

EDC's Q2 in review

Regional Support

EDC convenes resources and stakeholder groups to help talent and a diversity of companies thrive in the San Diego mega-region. The economic development team led and advised on a variety of projects with the following outcomes: 

WTC San Diego

As part of EDC, World Trade Center San Diego (WTC) works to cultivate a pipeline of export-ready firms, maximize FDI opportunities, and grow the region's global connectivity.

The WTC team connected local businesses and industry leaders to foreign markets. Here's how:

San Diego: Life. Changing.

EDC's marketing efforts serve to elevate the region as a top destination for talent, business, and investment.

As part of the San Diego: Life. Changing. campaign, EDC's marketing-communications team debuted the following to equip businesses with the resources necessary to 'sell' the region:

Research

Understanding our economy begins with strong data. EDC develops economic reports to help business and civic leaders make informed decisions.

Our research team released the following economic reports in Q2:

 

See the full Quarterly Report here.

TAGS
July 2, 2018

Are you a growing, San Diego-based company? Are you looking to expand into foreign markets? Or, are you a defense contractor looking to diversify revenue? San Diego Regional EDC can help.
 
Apply now to EDC's business support programs - MetroConnect and/or the Defense Innovation Voucher Program - which offer $10K-$15K grants and programmatic services to support your business' growth.

 
The details:
  • MetroConnect, World Trade Center San Diego’s flagship export assistance program, is now in its fourth year. Made possible through a grant provided by JPMorgan Chase & Co., small to mid-sized companies in San Diego will receive a $10K grant and programmatic services to assist with international expansion efforts. Learn more.
  • As part of the Department of Defense-funded Propel San Diego grant, the Defense Innovation Voucher Program will provide San Diego headquartered defense companies with $15K in consulting services in one of the following categories: marketing, strategic planning, accounting compliance, lean supply chain analysis and additive manufacturing, and certifications, as well as additional hands-on training for companies looking to diversify revenue. Learn more.
 
The application can be accessed here from July 2 - August 20, 2018.

 

June 28, 2018

In an effort to maximize the region’s global competitiveness via talent attraction, EDC launched the San Diego: Life. Changing. brand campaign last year. The campaign serves to raise San Diego’s profile by telling real stories of the people and companies that call San Diego home. By bringing light to San Diego’s robust innovation ecosystem and vibrant entrepreneurial community, EDC aims to eliminate the stigma that there aren’t jobs in San Diego.

Most people around the world know San Diego as a vacation destination, rather than a place where they actually live and grow their careers. Part of this could be attributed to a ‘too good to be true’ mentality, with San Diego’s impeccable weather, endless outdoor activities, and friendly easy-going residents. It doesn’t seem possible to get both one’s dream job and the top-tier quality of life that San Diego offers. But those who have made the move to San Diego know that is, in fact, not the case. San Diego may not be a headquarters town, but the mission-driven companies located here are making huge, ‘life-changing’ impacts in both the tech and life sciences industries. And better yet, they’re hiring.

As part of the campaign’s latest web developments, there is now an interactive company map that showcases top tech, life sciences, and lifestyle companies in San Diego. This allows people to easily compare and contrast the different companies located here at a high-level, so they can get a holistic view of San Diego’s career offerings.

If you are part of a San Diego company that meets this criteria and would like to be added to the map, simply sign up for the online recruitment toolkit and select ‘I’d like to also add a profile for my company.’

From Illumina’s human genome sequencing technology to Aira’s software for the visually impaired, San Diego companies are quite literally changing the world. Visit the San Diego: Life. Changing. company map to see other top companies that are fueling global innovation from right in our backyard.

 

June 27, 2018

So far, 2018 has been a year of transition for EDC. Research performed through a partnership with the Brookings Institution led us to some startling findings about how inequality and affordability pose a threat to the San Diego region’s economic competitiveness. These findings helped to build a case for if and how an economic development organization (EDO) can play a role in region-wide efforts to promote an inclusive economy. Organizations across San Diego have been working for decades with much avail to elevate underrepresented populations, bolster small businesses, and improve quality of life for more local residents. But where does an economic development organization fit in?

For more than 50 years, EDC has been the voice of the business community – lauding the accomplishments of our life sciences, tech, and defense industries. The success of San Diego’s innovation economy has positioned the region for sustainable growth, but in an economy nearing full employment, even the most cutting-edge businesses struggle to find and retain the workers they need to remain competitive.

A strong economy is an inclusive economy, in which residents, businesses, and communities all have the opportunity to contribute and reap the benefits of growth. Over the last quarter, a regional steering committee, supported by technical advisory groups, has embarked on an ambitious effort to develop and drive an agenda that points the region toward a more inclusive economy, and thus, a stronger economy. This agenda will articulate the economic imperative for taking action, identify broad regional goals, and provide concrete recommendations around three pillars of influence: building a strong local talent pipeline, increasing small business competitiveness, and increasing affordability. This process is one that will not be accomplished overnight, but here’s an update on EDC’s progress, followed by some engagement opportunities for those ready to take action now.

Progress update:

  • Inclusive growth steering committee: made up of more than 40 leaders representing academia, nonprofit, and private sector. The steering committee convened for its second gathering to set a regional target for the first pillar of the inclusive growth strategy: building a strong, local talent pipeline. This regional target aims to increase the number of post-secondary degree holders by 2030. Details to come.
  • Advisory group on a creating a strong local talent pipeline: To arrive at this target for building a strong local talent pipeline, the steering committee was informed by an advisory group of 15 subject-matter experts, who met for three working sessions in Q2. These sessions were filled with data-driven discussions on skills, workforce requirements, demographic shifts, and more to help the steering committee arrive at a regional target.
  • Advisory group on small business competitiveness: To begin strategizing for the second pillar of this effort, the advisory group on increasing small business competitiveness met in Q2, as well. To inform this process, EDC, in partnership with the Small Business Development Center, has deployed a mass small business needs assessment survey to better understand challenges facing small business owners. The small business advisory group will analyze survey results to inform a regional target for increasing small business competitiveness. Take the survey here.

Engagement opportunities:

Building an employer-led coalition on inclusive growth will take time and collaboration across multiple industries, nonprofits, academia, and philanthropy. EDC is working hard with our partners and stakeholders to ensure we remain thoughtful and strategic in addressing these regional challenges. That said – we understand you may be tired of talking and ready to take action. Below are just a few opportunities to engage.

  1. Provide a San Diego small business the opportunity to increase its competitiveness through a free coaching program by nominating a small business for the Inner City Capital Connections Program, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente.
  2. Help us better understand the challenges facing our small businesses by taking the small business needs assessment survey.
  3. Showcase career paths for San Diego’s students by hosting a virtual tour as a part of Cajon Valley School District’s World of Work program or contact Ed Hidalgo, Chief Innovation and Engagement Officer at Cajon Valley Union School District - hidalgoe@cajonvalley.net.

We’re just getting started; much more to come. Learn more.

By Kate Gallagher, economic development coordinator

June 25, 2018

After Thermo Fisher Scientific opened its software development center of excellence in September 2016, the technical capabilities of Tijuana’s workforce have caught the attention of numerous San Diego companies. One of those companies is Red Door Interactive (RDI), a San Diego-based digital marketing firm poised for rapid growth. Rather than growing its team in Indonesia, RDI approached EDC with a preference to expand closer to its headquarters in downtown San Diego. EDC worked with RDI over the proceeding months to assess the company’s needs and get leadership acquainted with the Tijuana market.  

RDI’s leadership was encouraged by the success of Thermo Fisher’s software center, which grew from 40 to more than 250 employees over two years. However, Thermo Fisher’s line of work ranges greatly from RDI’s, which is focused on SEO optimization, web development, and data analytics. The digital marketing industry is highly competitive, and subject to cost pressures and workload fluctuations. To keep with demand, RDI needed a solution that allowed it to increase agility and scale its staffing capability without greatly increasing overhead.  

After meeting with RDI’s leadership, EDC organized a site visit to showcase numerous software development operations in Tijuana. Alongside EDC, the company toured examples of different operational models including BIT Center, MindHub Tech Incubator, and Thermo Fisher. These companies shared insight on talent availability and resources. RDI’s leadership left the site visit impressed and ready to move ahead. To move quickly on an expansion, EDC and Tijuana EDC facilitated an introduction between RDI and IVEMSA, a Tijuana shelter company that works with U.S. companies to simplify the process of establishing an operation in Mexico.

Soon thereafter, RDI and IVEMSA toured through several available office locations, ultimately selecting one to begin operations. RDI is currently opening their Tijuana operation, investing more than $40,000 and achieving an immediate three percent growth in employment, with projections for growth up to 15 percent.

"Thanks to the EDC, Red Door Interactive is now expanding our footprint in the broader San Diego-Tijuana region. EDC made the daunting process incredibly approachable by walking us through the process every step of the way,” said Reid Carr, CEO, Red Door Interactive. “They facilitated site exploration and establishment via critical and vetted introductions and they provided valuable information to support our decisions. We can now capitalize this diverse regional asset to complement our established presence in San Diego.”

 

June 21, 2018

In March, the San Diego region officially welcomed Lufthansa’s new direct service to Frankfurt, Germany. As a key global partner to the San Diego region, Germany currently ranks fourth in terms of foreign employment (2015) and seventh in terms of total exports from San Diego (2013). 

To celebrate the new connection, WTC San Diego partnered with Lufthansa, San Diego Tourism Authority, and San Diego County Regional Airport Authority to host a luncheon with business and elected leaders from around the region. 

Continually, EDC's COO Lauree Sahba accompanied a delegation of San Diego executives to promote the flight in the European market. The delegation held meetings with business leaders in Frankfurt and Zurich to promote both the Lufthansa flight, as well as Lufthansa affiliate, Edelweiss’ direct service to Switzerland.

June 21, 2018

In the past two decades, San Diego County Water Authority has invested more than $2.4 billion in five major water reliability projects. A new study released by EDC in partnership with the San Diego County Water Authority, quantifies the impact these investments have on our broader economy. These projects have generated $4.8 billion in total economic impact, supporting an average of 1,475 jobs annually over two decades and creating more than $1.8 billion in local wages and salaries.

The report also found that access to safe and reliable water supplies supports $482 million in total regional sales of goods and services daily – equivalent to the economic impact of nearly three Comic-Cons every day.

In addition, the report shows that more than 2,800 people work in the water and wastewater sectors at the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies. The water industry provides career opportunities across all levels of educational attainment, in everything from customer service to engineering. 

SDCWA has kicked off the "Brought to you by water" campaign to share the impact of water across multiple industries. 

 We all know that water is essential for the viability of our communities, but we often take that for granted and that is a luxury,” said Janice Brown, chair of the EDC’s Board of Directors.  “Without the infrastructure: pipelines, dams, treatment plants - we would not have reliable water. Reliable water makes us economically competitive."  

You can find the full study here: http://www.sandiegobusiness.org/sites/default/files/Water%20Study%202018.compressed.pdf
 
If interested in an economic impact analysis of your company or project, get in touch with EDC's research team

 

June 15, 2018

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases industry data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers May 2018 data, including unemployment, new business establishments, and job postings.

Highlights include:

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 2.9 percent in May, unchanged from April’s revised rate, and 0.8 percentage points lower than a year ago – the lowest since January 2000.
  • The majority of jurisdictions saw a decrease in unemployment rate from the month prior. Only National City saw its unemployment rate rise, an increase of 0.1 percentage points to 4.0 percent.
  • The labor force grew slightly, adding 900 workers during the month, up 0.1 percent. The labor force is now up 4,300 compared to a year ago, or 0.3 percent.
  • The largest increases came from leisure and hospitality, which added 2,100 jobs. Education and health services saw the only employment declines of any industry group, contracting by 300 jobs.


Read the Economic Pulse here.

June 14, 2018

As part of the San Diego: Life. Changing. campaign, we're always thinking of different ways to communicate San Diego's story. And though it's a mostly digital campaign, we know the value in prospective talent having something tangible to hold, touch, and keep at their desk to flip through whenever daydreaming of a better life.

This guide - as part of the Talent Recruitment Toolkit - provides an overview of what it's like to work and live in San Diego, showcasing some of the innovations and technology created here, as well as the different neighborhoods recruits could soon be calling 'home.' Flip through the digital version of the guide below. If you're interested in purchasing printed copies for use in your recruitment efforts, email us at communications@sandiegobusiness.org.

June 8, 2018

World Trade Center San Diego, through a grant provided by JPMorgan Chase & Co., and more than 100 business and community leaders awarded the 2017-18 MetroConnect Grand Prize to CureMatch, a local digital health company focused on personalized medicine and oncology. The company will use the $35,000 award to take its life-saving technology into the Canadian, Mexican and European markets.

“Three years in, the success of the MetroConnect program points to the importance of global trade and connectivity,” said Nikia Clarke, Ph.D., executive director of World Trade Center San Diego, the organization administering the grants. “From securing distribution partnerships in Japan to inking deals in key biotech hubs across the EU, the MetroConnect Grand Prize finalists are sharing their life-changing innovation with the world, helping strengthen San Diego’s economy and workforce.”

Managed by World Trade Center San Diego, an affiliate of the San Diego Regional EDC, and presented by JPMorgan Chase, the MetroConnect Grand Prize offers $35,000 to one of 15 companies to aid in their foreign market expansion. The complete list of finalists can be found here.

The benefits of companies going global and engaging foreign markets are well-documented. According to the Brookings Institution, companies that are global pay their employees higher wages, are less likely to go out of business and spur more efficient development of technology and R&D.

In 2017 alone, San Diego exported $23.8 billion in goods and services from diverse industries including aircraft manufacturing to pharmaceutical R&D. Small- to medium-sized businesses produce 92 percent of those goods – undergirding the importance of programs like MetroConnect.

Now in its third year, MetroConnect has emerged as the region’s premier export assistance program. Run by World Trade Center San Diego, 15 companies are selected on an annual basis and equipped with a suite of programmatic and financial resources to help them in their plans to go global. Out of 50 applicants in 2017, just 15 San Diego companies were awarded the initial $10,000 MetroConnect grant, funded by JPMorgan Chase. Since the program’s inception in 2015, the cohort companies have produced an additional $15 million in export sales and 161 new jobs for the region, collectively.

A panel of judges consisting of business and community leaders reviewed the companies’ respective accomplishments and goals as a means of selecting the top four finalists to present at the Grand Prize event: CureMatch, FoxFury, Planck Aerosystems and Tioga Research.

“CureMatch is thrilled to win the Pitchfest, with special thanks to World Trade Center San Diego and JPMorgan Chase,” said Stephane Richard, Ph.D., president and CEO of CureMatch. “Cancer has no boundaries, so while CureMatch was born in San Diego, we believe that every one of the more than 15 million people diagnosed with cancer this year deserves the best treatment. This grand prize will help CureMatch save more lives around the world.”

“JPMorgan Chase is committed to helping local businesses connect to the global marketplace,” said Tim West, region manager of JPMorgan Chase’s Middle Market Commercial Banking practice in San Diego. “We congratulate the finalists for their efforts to grow their businesses internationally while creating jobs and boosting our local economy.”

The Grand Prize event was hosted at Alexandria Real Estate on June 7, with keynote remarks by Matt Cole president, Cubic Transportation Systems and corporate senior vice president, Cubic Corporation.