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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Mayor Kevin Faulconer

June 26, 2017

This op-ed was originally published by San Diego Union-Tribune, and authored by Matt Cole, Magda Marquet and Michelle Sterling.
 
This is a time of profound disruption in the global economic system: The rules of global commerce are shifting rapidly, the pace of innovation and competition is generating winners and losers, and political volatility around the world is creating an uncertain environment for businesses large and small.
 
Now, more than ever, it is time for cities to step up and lead. And to lead, they must be seen.
 
For San Diego companies, global connectivity matters. Whether it’s biotech or manufacturing, most businesses have customers outside of San Diego, which allows them to add jobs here at home. In 2015, San Diego exported more than $17 billion in goods overseas, as well as billions more in services like software, cybersecurity, engineering and research. Small- and medium-sized businesses produce 92 percent of those goods. 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.
 
Our competitive advantage here in San Diego is that we develop and produce life-saving and life-changing technologies better than almost anywhere else in the world.
 
Four years ago, Althea was a midsize life sciences company with great talent and a compelling business proposition. A personal relationship, and chance meeting at a trade show, began a relationship with Japanese multinational Ajinomoto that has drawn millions of dollars of investment into the region, and enabled Althea to become a global player in the development and manufacturing of biologics and innovative pharmaceuticals.
 
For Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS), a business unit of Cubic Corp., providing public transportation solutions is one example of where public-private partnerships can be applied. From Chicago to Sydney, Vancouver and London, Cubic-powered technology and services move 38 million people seamlessly on a daily basis. This form of service requires collaborative working relationships between metro governments, transportation authorities and the private sector. And more often than not, these relationships need to be built over time by political and civic leadership to be effective.
 
Most San Diegans know the name Qualcomm but are less familiar with the transformative impact that the company has had in the world through its innovation in wireless technologies that power the global economy. What started in 1985 as a startup co-founded by a UC San Diego professor has grown into a company that has invented the technologies that make smartphones indispensable in our lives. With each technology Qualcomm invents and with each employee it hires, people from Brazil to China are learning how San Diego is changing the world.
 
The 600 largest cities in the world account for 60 percent of the global economy, and that economy is increasingly crowded, confusing and contested. Metros need strong leadership, unified voices and targeted strategies to compete. This is why mayors around the world are uniting to take on big issues like climate change, trade and poverty. It is why the mayors of every major U.S. city are on the road like never before, opening doors for the expansion of their regional economies. It is why we, as the Global Competitiveness Council — the voice of the global business community here in the San Diego region — called on Mayor Kevin Faulconer to be on the road to help out.
 
The mayor responded to this call by the business community, and is traveling to Mexico City, Vancouver and London in 2017 to create civic and academic partnerships, to facilitate deals that create jobs for San Diegans, and, most importantly, to create a framework for engagement with our most important markets. Our hope is that companies of all sizes seize the opportunities the mayor is creating.
 
We know what an innovative, collaborative and life-changing place San Diego is; but now more than ever, we need our leadership telling that story here at home and around the world. Our economy depends on it.
 
Cole is president of Cubic Transportation Systems. Marquet is co-founder of Ajinomoto Althea and AltheaDX. Sterling is executive vice president of human resources at Qualcomm.
 
Mayors of every major U.S. city are on the road like never before, opening doors for the expansion of their regional economies.
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
May 25, 2016

In collaboration with San Diego County College and Career Readiness Consortium and Mayor Faulconer’s One San Diego 100 initiative, EDC is working to create and provide work-based learning opportunities across the region to help develop and retain San Diego’s talent. With opportunities including job shadows, company tours, industry panels and access to internships, students gain exposure to our region’s diverse career opportunities.  

This quarter, EDC coordinated day-long job shadows at various organizations throughout San Diego including The Control Group, San Diego Union Tribune, Cox Communications, SAIC, Ethertronics Inc. and the FBI.

Check out the students’ experience at video production company Scratch Media and broadcast news station CW6:

Thank You CW6! from Westview DMP on Vimeo.

Together, in collaboration with East County EDC, Junior Achievement and Cleantech San Diego, more than 1,600 young people have been provided industry exposure experience through job shadowing. 

February 29, 2016

Today, we welcomed Wrike, a Silicon Valley-based SaaS startup to San Diego. While Wrike is certainly a unique company, its situation is one we know well.

Recognizing the talent footprint in the region, Wrike chose to expand to San Diego, bringing with it 150 jobs over the next three years. Located a stone’s throw away from UC San Diego, Wrike is looking to attract talent from the region’s top universities, including SDSU and CSUSM. The company considered Raleigh, Phoenix and Chicago as alternative locations, but in the end, chose San Diego as the place to expand its California footprint.

"We're thrilled to expand to San Diego and open this location as a launch pad for our growth here,” said Seth Shaw, Wrike’s Chief Revenue Officer and San Diego expansion lead. “We've been really impressed with the high caliber of talent in the region and the enthusiasm for growing professionally in a startup environment."

EDC’s recent data can attest to the depth of San Diego’s talent pool. In 2014, San Diego gained 72,000 degree holders – more than any other major metro area. However, it’s not just the talent pool that attracted Wrike here, but the quality of life the region offers to employees. Not only are the region's beaches ranked among the best in the country, but San Diego ranks fourth in number of sunshine hours (yes, that’s a metric), and has the lowest average commute time among our peer metros. Life most certainly works here, and we’re proud that Wrike agrees.

November 18, 2015

In an effort to cement San Diego’s reputation as a world class innovation hub and help SMEs expand their global reach, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, San Diego Regional EDC and JPMorgan Chase & Co. awarded the MetroConnect Grand Prize to San Diego-based genomics startup Cypher Genomics. The Grand Prize winner was voted on by an audience of more than 100 people at the MetroConnect PitchFest. 

Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said, “San Diego’s world-class economy grows from local ideas, startups and businesses that sprout into global companies. I’m proud to host MetroConnect, which not only helps strengthen our overall economy at its roots, but fosters and supports startups like Cypher Genomics at the local level. I hope that Cypher Genomics will continue captivate investment abroad in the same way that they’ve found success here at home. ”

Ashley Van Zeeland, co-founder & CEO, Cypher Genomics said, “Cypher is grateful to win the MetroConnect Grand Prize and to participate in the vibrant and innovative San Diego entrepreneurial community. This award will help us build collaborations around the globe with countries who can use our genome interpretation technology to uncover the genetic causes of rare diseases and cancer, which can inform new therapeutics and improve healthcare around the world.”

Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said, “San Diego’s world-class economy grows from local ideas, startups and businesses that sprout into global companies. I’m proud to host MetroConnect, which not only helps strengthen our overall economy at its roots, but fosters and supports startups like Cypher Genomics at the local level. I hope that Cypher Genomics will continue captivate investment abroad in the same way that they’ve found success here at home. ”

Pharmaceutical manufacturer IriSys also took home the runner-up prize.

Brennon Crist, head of JPMorgan Chase’s Middle Market Commercial Banking Group in San Diego said, “JPMorgan Chase is delighted to recognize all of these outstanding San Diego businesses that have thoroughly embraced the region’s go-global vision. We hope the MetroConnect Prize Program will enable Cypher Genomics and IriSys to continue advancing their global strategy by connecting with potential customers in target international markets. Over time, this outreach can be a win not only for these companies, but for economic growth and job creation for the region.

Nikia Clarke, direct of World Trade Center San Diego said, “MetroConnect targets small and medium sized businesses like Cypher and Irisys because they are really the drivers of the regional economy. The more they export their products and technology, the more connected, competitive, and resilient San Diego becomes.”

Managed by San Diego Regional EDC, and presented by JPMorgan Chase, the MetroConnect Grand Prize offers $50,000 – $35,000 for the winner and $15,000 for the runner-up – to further aid these companies in foreign market expansion. In June, 15 San Diego companies were selected as finalists for the MetroConnect prize, and given $10,000 to pursue strategies to export in foreign markets. Over the course of four months, the 15 companies demonstrated their ability to export to foreign markets. A panel of judges consisting of representatives from  Biocom, CONNECT, Qualcomm Ventures, Quantum Designs, San Diego Regional EDC, Tech San Diego and Wireless Life Sciences Alliance reviewed companies’ accomplishments and goals as a means of selecting the top four finalists to present at the PitchFest: Applied Membranes, Aventyn, Cypher Genomics and IriSys.

A spin-out of the Scripps Research Institute, San Diego-based Cypher Genomics is a 13 person startup that’s revolutionizing the way we understand and deliver personalized healthcare. Through its technology, Cypher Genomics is able to rapidly sequence the human genome, enabling scientists and medical professionals to find individualized therapies to combat rare diseases. With the MetroConnect Prize, Cypher was able to partner with Genome England on its large-scale study to sequence 100,000 human genomes. 

With the $35,000 Grand Prize, Cypher will be exploring additional foreign markets, such as Saudi Arabia and Sweden, that are investing in population-scale genomics.  Because of this foreign activity, Cypher is able to boost product innovation, translating into further job creation and capital investment in the San Diego market.

Global engagement is essential if San Diego wants to catalyze its economy and workforce. 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.

May 18, 2015

 

We all have to start our career somewhere. And that ‘somewhere,’ whether it’s running the local paper route or dipping cones at the local ice cream shop, has a strong impact on the rest of our careers. While these first jobs may not uncover one’s lifelong passion, they often do translate into invaluable skills you carry with you for the rest of your career.

That’s one reason why CONNECT2Careers (C2C), a youth summer employment initiative administered by the San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP), has launched the #MyFirstJobSD video campaign. To raise awareness for the need to increase youth employment in San Diego, C2C asked a number of prominent San Diegans to reminisce about their first job—what it was, what it taught them and what advice they would give their younger selves. The result is a series of short, inspiring #MyFirstJobSD videos. Featured San Diegans include Mayor Kevin Faulconer, NBC 7 anchor Marianne Kushi, San Diego Regional Chamber CEO Jerry Sanders, and State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins. New videos will continue to be released through June.

“The #MyFirstJobSD campaign is meant to remind us what our first job meant to us and encourage the opening of doors to our future workforce,” says Peter Callstrom, CEO of SDWP. “Summer employment through C2C is a great way to gain experience and for employers to invest in the up-and-coming talent pool.”

C2C encourages San Diegans to use social media to spread the word about the #MyFirstJobSD campaign, share your first job story using the hashtag, ask others what their first job was, and keep the conversation going. 

April 22, 2015

Perhaps nothing encapsulates San Diego’s mix of innovation and lifestyle more than the surfboard pictured below. Let us explain…

Although it looks like any other surfboard, it’s actually made from algae, instead of petroleum-based polyurethane which is typically found in surfboards. We have Stephen Mayfield, a scientist from UC San Diego and director of the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, to thank for that. Like quite a few San Diegans, he can call himself both a scientist and a surfer.

Mayfield is featured in “National Geographic Channel’s: World’s Smart Cities” documentary about San Diego, which premiered last night at San Diego Symphony Hall.  Following the documentary, Mayfield presented the world’s first algae-based surfboard to Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Surfing legend and San Diego local Rob Machado, who also appeared in the documentary, was on hand to help present the surfboard. In the documentary, Mayfield talks about industry/academic collaborations that are helping to make biofuels from algae a commercially viable transportation fuel in the future. 

The documentary follows San Diego’s innovation narrative as National Geographic host and Digital Nomad Andrew Evans gets his genome sequenced at Illumina, performs stem cell surgery on a penguin at SeaWorld, flies UAVS at Northrop Grumman, learns about the Smart Grid at SDG&E, checks out the Qualcomm® Thinkabit Lab™,  part engineering lab and part art studio – all while enjoying the sites, culture and lifestyle that San Diego is known for.

Last night, Andrew Evans made the trek back to San Diego to join Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Diego Tourism Authority’s Joe Terzi, EDC’s Mark Cafferty and a packed house of San Diegans to show people why San Diego is the only city in North America chosen for the documentary.

"San Diego is a neat city. There's no place like it in the world," said Evans at the premiere.  

The documentary will be shown in more than 60 countries, reaching approximately 250 million households world-wide.  Make sure to tune in (or record) the documentary, which begins airing this Saturday, on the National Geographic Channel.

Spread the word. It’s time the world learns what San Diego is really about.



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