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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Big Picture San Diego Blog

July 18, 2016

This is part of a weekly series featuring a profile on one of the 2016 MetroConnect Program companies. MetroConnect is dedicated to helping local San Diego businesses go global and is presented by JPMorgan Chase.

A pioneer in renewable energy, San Diego is home to some of the world’s most innovative companies in cleantech research and development. The region’s cleantech industry includes the innovation and deployment of technologies in clean transportation, energy storage, energy efficiency, biorenewables and solar and wind power. Solatube Worldwide Sales, a company owned by North County-based Solatube International, Inc. is an excellent example of how a San Diego company combines innovation in both harvesting solar energy and energy efficiency. 

Solatube tubular daylighting devices (TDDs) are affordable, high-performance lighting solutions that bring daylight into interior spaces where traditional skylights and windows simply can’t reach. Sometimes called “light tubes,” TDDs have become the ideal solution for lighting interiors in a cost-effective, energy-efficient and eco-friendly way because they significantly reduce the need for electricity while keeping people connected to the outdoor environment. Solatube products are used in commercial and residential settings in over 120 countries around the world.

Solatube Worldwide Sales acts as the international division that handles all areas outside the U.S. and Canada. Impressively, the team of three employees currently markets and sells Solatube Daylighting Systems and Solar Star Attic Fans into Southeast Asia, Korea and Africa, on top of managing in-country sales reps and distributor networks.

With a new focus on India’s market, Solatube Worldwide Sales plans to use MetroConnect Program support for import tariff reduction projects, exhibitor presence at key trade shows, travel to meetings with Bureau of Energy Efficiency and other tariff reducing entities, as well as market research and workforce growth strategy.  

Todd Maerowitz, Director of International Sales states, “We’re looking forward to working closely with the San Diego World Trade Center on our expansion of Solatube’s products into emerging markets. As we move into places like India and Sub-Saharan Africa, the relationships and financial support we’ll be privy to as part of the program, are sure to prove beneficial to our growth plans."

 

The success of small- and medium-sized businesses is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success. Through the MetroConnect Program, companies such as Solatube Worldwide Sales are be awarded a $10,000 grant provided by JPMorgan Chase to assist with their international efforts, as well as additional support services including: a dedicated trade and investment manager at WTC San Diego to support company participants in deploying overseas strategies during the grant period; access to workshops that address export compliance, financing and fundraising and global marketing; reduced airfare on Japan Airlines direct flights from San Diego to Tokyo; free access to SYSTRAN software for website translation and customer service needs; and consideration to compete for an additional $35,000 during the MetroConnect Grand Prize Pitchfest in November 2016.

July 15, 2016

On July 14, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer hosted more than 100 business and community leaders at the One San Diego 100 reception. The reception, hosted at DeskHub in Little Italy, recognized early adopters of the Mayor’s One San Diego 100 Initiative, while learning more about the creative ways companies throughout the region are investing in our future workforce and encouraging others to get involved.

The initiative, a recommendation of the Mayor’s OpportunityWORKS Taskforce, challenges 100 businesses throughout the region to engage in providing meaningful work-based learning experiences for young adults. Experiences range from summer jobs and internships to company tours, job shadows and the creation of learning labs inspired by Qualcomm’s Thinkabit Lab.

To date, more than 68 companies have signed on to the Initiative. Any company, large or small, is encouraged to participate and share the exciting ways they are connecting the next generation of workers to San Diego’s thriving economy.  For more information or to share your company’s story, visit onesandiego100.org or contact Ashley Swartout at as@sandiegobusiness.org

June 30, 2016
San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, World Trade Center San Diego, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and business and civic leaders unveiled the 15 companies selected to participate in the MetroConnect Program, a comprehensive support program to help local companies accelerate their global growth.
 
“The MetroConnect Program helps us to foster our startup community to provide phenomenal opportunities for San Diego entrepreneurs abroad,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, who announced the program participants. “I am proud of the 15 companies selected by MetroConnect, which represent virtually every sector of our region’s innovation economy, from life sciences to maritime tech and wireless analytics. It is my hope that they will use our MetroConnect Program to write new chapters in San Diego’s success story.”

 
From Deering Banjo, the largest banjo manufacturing company in the U.S., to Ocean Aero, an autonomous underwater unmanned systems company, the 2016 MetroConnect companies represent a diverse cross section of San Diego’s innovation economy.
 
Each MetroConnect participant will be awarded a $10,000 grant provided by JPMorgan Chase to assist with their international efforts.
 
Building on the success of the pilot round, the MetroConnect Program is creating additional support services in 2016 to directly help San Diego companies. These services include:
 
  • A dedicated trade and investment manager at WTC San Diego to support company participants in deploying overseas strategies during the grant period
  • Access to workshops that address export compliance, financing and fundraising and global marketing
  • Reduced airfare on the Japan Airlines direct flight from San Diego to Tokyo
  • 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 November 2016

The expanded MetroConnect Program is made possible by JPMorgan Chase, a company committed to helping San Diego reach its full economic potential.

MetroConnect funds can be used for a variety for global services including travel (to and from target markets), participation in trade shows, establishment of a foreign subsidiary, foreign language translation of marketing materials and more. In 2015, MetroConnect Grand Prize Winner Cypher Genomics was acquired by San Diego-based Human Longevity Inc. after using the money to fund a partnership with Genomics England. Pharmaceutical company IriSys – another 2015 participant – opened a business development office in Shanghai.
 
“Global connectivity is crucial to San Diego’s economic future, and SMEs are increasingly its driver,“ said Nikia Clarke, executive director of World Trade Center San Diego. “Thanks to JPMorgan Chase, we are continuing to build out a comprehensive export support program to ensure that San Diego’s goods, services and technologies are competing overseas.”

 
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 total, 73 San Diego companies applied to the MetroConnect Program. Companies were selected based on criteria including potential for export growth, development of an international strategy and potential benefit the company would receive from international expansion. Judges included representatives from Applied Membranes, Biocom, Qualcomm Ventures, U.S. Department of Commerce, San Diego Regional EDC, San Diego State University’s CIBER, Tech San Diego, Taylor Guitars and UC San Diego.
 
The MetroConnect Program is administered by WTC San Diego, an affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC. The program is made possible through JPMorgan Chase, with additional support from Japan Airlines, Qualcomm Ventures, SYSTRAN and Taylor Guitars.
 
For more information about MetroConnect, please go to MetroConnectsd.org
 
The 15 program participants:
  1. Aurora Spine
  2. AVACEN Medical
  3. Calbiotech
  4. Deering Banjo Company
  5. ElliptiGO, Inc.
  6. GroundMetrics
  7. Hyperikon
  8. INOVA Drone
  9. MANTA Instruments Inc.
  10. Ocean Aero
  11. Ocean Reef
  12. Rough Draft Brewing Company
  13. Solatube Worldwide Sales
  14. VaultRMS
  15. Whova
June 30, 2016
By Sean Barr, Senior Vice President of Economic Development and only in-office Canadian
 
EDC traveled to Toronto last week with our peers from Atlanta and Minneapolis to meet with metro leaders from across Canada. Facilitated by the Brookings Global Cities Initiative, the conversations proved to be a great opportunity for EDC and WTC San Diego to continue to build bridges with key cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and of course, my native Winnipeg. 
 
There are a number of international markets that many San Diegans might not consider to be at the top of our list. Canada is just one of those markets that surprises many. Canadian cities, in particular, continue to drive a large share of San Diego's trade and investment interests. 
 
Canada purchased more than $2.8 billion worth of goods and services from San Diego in 2013. Inward investment from Canada supports more than 4,300 jobs in San Diego’s local economy. Bottom line, Canada is San Diego's fourth largest trading partner. But still, there is room to grow and expand the depth of the relationship with our Neighbor to the North. For instance, Vancouver shares our pacific, bi-national orientation and smart cities, life sciences and research-driven strengths – a metro market EDC and WTC San Diego intend on growing as we move into 2017. 
 
With Canada’s birthday on July 1, we wish all our Canadian friends, investors and partners a very Happy Canada Day!
 
June 28, 2016

In an effort to attract talent from outside of the region to North County San Diego, Innovate78 led an ad campaign targeting the L.A. area and focusing on the region’s diverse career and lifestyle opportunities. Utilizing various social media channels, as well as university communications at UCLA and UCI, the ad campaign garnered more than 740,000 impressions and drove more than 3,500 clicks to the Innovate78 website, where recent graduates can find jobs, housing and additional resources available in North County.

This is a new effort focused on exposing talent from outside of San Diego to the unique opportunities in North County – which includes more than surfing and craft beer (although we love those, too). 

June 24, 2016

In partnership with iDEA Hub, EDC hosted the 6th Annual Multi-Use Technology Symposium in conjunction with San Diego Startup Week. With industry leaders including NASA, SPAWAR, UC San Diego, Northrop Grumman and others in participation, the day-long event focused on robotics, autonomous vehicles and opportunities for entrepreneurs.

San Diego’s tech ecosystem is intimately connected to the region’s defense economy, with federal labs like SPAWAR continue to play a vital role in spurring innovation that has led to broad commercial success. To foster more engagement between federal labs across Southern California and San Diego’s rich entrepreneurial ecosystem, the symposium brought together nearly 150 attendees to discuss new technologies under development in autonomous vehicles and robotics.

SDSW provided an excellent venue for entrepreneurs from across San Diego to learn how they might partner with industry leaders and federal labs in San Diego’s rapidly evolving tech hub. The event showcased technologies from Northrop Grumman, 5D Robotics, UC San Diego, NASA Armstrong, China Lake, SPAWAR, Qualcomm, among others. Attendees were able to discuss cutting edge research and strategies on how to leverage these entities as business partners – driving San Diego and its innovative companies forward.  

June 24, 2016

San Diego’s large and complex concentration of Navy and Marine Corp personnel and assets face a wide variety of challenges ranging from budget pressures under sequestration to consequences of changing geopolitical strategies like the rebalance to the Pacific.  With more than 22 percent of San Diego’s GDP tied to our military and defense industrial base, this sector is a critical driver of the region’s economy.

This connectivity is why EDC works in close partnership with the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC) to develop strategies to support the region’s military through a coordinated DC strategy. SDMAC, with its extensive group of retired flag officers, has the network and understanding necessary to advocate for the defense industry in San Diego as they face budget and geopolitical pressures. 

This year, EDC joined SDMAC for its annual DC trip, where Executive Director Randy Bogle and President Ward Wilson met with senior Navy and Marine Corp commanders and our local congressional delegation to discuss how best we can continue to support the military in San Diego.

Meetings in DC ranged from conversations with Navy Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Forest Faison on how best to continue to build partnerships in our medical community to ensure the long-term wellbeing of our veteran population, to conversations with Assistant Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley about the importance of our shipbuilders in San Diego and how future ship deployments will impact the region. Conversations at the Pentagon were followed by a series of meetings with San Diego’s congressional delegation, whose leadership positions on the HASC and other key committees continue to prove valuable to San Diego. Maintaining a presence in DC with trips such as this are critical to our being effective allies for the region’s military. 

June 23, 2016

In 2012, then FBI Director Robert Mueller stood up at a cybersecurity conference and said, “There are two types of companies- those who have been hacked and those that will be.”

Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company, military contractor, genomics company or a neighborhood restaurant, cybersecurity has become ubiquitous for all businesses. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, an estimated $1 trillion will be spent on cybersecurity from 2017 to 2021. These global businesses may have San Diego – or rather one of its 100 plus cyber firms – to thank for that.

A new study released this week by San Diego Cyber Center of Excellence, with research by San Diego Regional EDC, provided additional insights on the impact of San Diego’s cyber economy.  In total, 104 core cyber firms employ 4,230 people in the region. SPAWAR, the Navy’s cybersecurity and R&D arm, employs an additional 3,390 in the cyber industry.

According to the study, San Diego’s cybersecurity industry generates more than $1.9 billion in GDP and impacts 16,580 jobs annually – equivalent to hosting four Super Bowls or 14 Comic-Cons each year – and has grown by more than 26 percent in just two years, since EDC’s last cyber study.

“San Diego is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the ever-growing global demand for cybersecurity products and security,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “This study shows how the convergence of the innovation economy, education and research, and department of defense presence creates a fertile ecosystem for companies and talent.”

San Diego, with its strong concentration of military personnel, has a growing a base of software jobs and university specializations, which benefits from a rich pool of cybersecurity talent. It’s one of the reasons companies such as ESET and iboss have set up shop here. More than 51,000 technology specialists call San Diego home and work in a variety of cybersecurity-related occupations. Employers surveyed expect their cybersecurity workforce to grow by 13 percent in the next year compared to projected 2 percent overall regional job growth.  

Read the full study here.

June 21, 2016

This week, World Trade Center San Diego traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the SelectUSA Summit.

For the first time ever, San Diego had an organized and coordinated effort for the nation’s foreign investment summit. In partnership with the City of San Diego and the City of Chula Vista, San Diego hosted a booth that attracted nearly 40 international companies and investors that communicated interest in the San Diego region. Their interests ranged from learning about the city’s concentration of innovation-based industries, San Diego’s climate action plan and additional details on the local talent pool. While quantifiable value is still be determined, the overall experience by the San Diego delegation was incredibly positive and we’re all in agreement that SelectUSA did a top notch job.

The summit hosted more than 2,400 visitors from 70 international markets, including some of San Diego’s priority markets – Japan, China, Germany, Canada and more. Foreign direct investment (FDI) is a key tenant of the work WTC San Diego undertakes, especially as it tends to increase the research & development funding of a region (great when your region’s R&D efforts contribute more than $14 billion), pay employees better wages/salaries (great when your region’s pay is already competitive for its employed citizens) and can fill key capital gaps of a region (which enhances the fact that  San Diego receives the 4th highest amount per capita of venture capital in the software industry).

Staying on the topic of foreign investment, WTC San Diego’s executive director Nikia Clarke attended the inaugural meeting of the Investment Advisory Council (IAC). The IAC is a group of key foreign and domestic business leaders that will advise Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and the U.S. Department of Commerce on policies that will enable the government to ensure foreign investment flows into the U.S. economy. In an ever increasing global economy, where FDI is shifting from  advanced economies to emerging and from big business to small- and medium-sized enterprises, it has become apparent that the U.S. – both from a national and a local level – needs to proactively market and attract foreign investment. The IAC will meet over the next two years in order to advise the current administration and help streamline the transition into the new one.

Finally, we couldn’t have had the presence we did at SelectUSA without the help and success of our key local companies. To that effect, we want to thank Stone Brewing Co. for its incredible work in promoting the San Diego craft beer industry. Using their beer at the private reception WTCSD and the City of San Diego hosted on Monday night, we attracted more than 50 investors and educated them on the San Diego region’s offerings by allowing attendees to experience a little of our quality of life – craft beer (IPA’s of course) and sliders.

 

June 21, 2016

This week, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority announced a new seasonal service between San Diego and Frankfurt, Germany. The new flight – operated by Condor Airlines – will provide the only nonstop connection between San Diego and Continental Europe.

EDC and World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) worked in partnership with the San Diego Tourism Authority to support the efforts of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority to bring Condor Airlines’ direct daily service to Frankfurt.

New international route service is a core priority of the newly relaunched WTCSD and EDC’s global competitiveness interests. Making the business case, the EDC and WTCSD team prepared a package of materials, including research related to economic ties between both Germany and San Diego, and a series of case studies of German-owned firms operating in the San Diego region and a compilation of San Diego-based companies operating in Germany.

Key economic figures include:

  • In 2015, Germany ranked as the 4th largest source of foreign employment in San Diego, with more than 4,368 jobs in San Diego tied to German-owned businesses.
  • German companies such as Taylormade (Adidas), Kontron and Siemens all have locations in San Diego.
  • Germany is a top destination for San Diego exports, especially in the machinery, electronics and precision instruments industries.
  • Over the last decade, German companies have invested more than 300 million in new projects in our region, making Germany one of our top three largest greenfield investors.  
  • San Diego companies across diverse industries are targeting Germany, as seen with Stone Brewing Co.’s brewery in Berlin opening in late 2016.

Upon meeting with the Condor team, EDC prepared and delivered a presentation outlining the growing interests between Germany and San Diego. In the weeks following the presentation, EDC answered a series of follow up questions and requests from the Condor Airlines route planning division to help secure its commitment to San Diego.

“As one of San Diego’s top partners for exports and foreign investment, Germany is fast becoming one of our economy’s most important international markets,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of San Diego Regional EDC. “Condor’s new direct flight will now link San Diego to one of Europe’s most important economic and cultural hubs.”

 

Condor will begin service in May 2017 with up to three weekly flights on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The route will operate on a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft and offer three classes of service: Business Class, Premium Class and Economy Class. Flights can now be booked online at http://www.condor.com/