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WTC San Diego

October 17, 2018

Learn from the best, they say. For the third straight year, East County-based guitar manufacturer Taylor Guitars generously played host to WTC San Diego and the 20 companies in this year’s MetroConnect program for a day-long export strategy workshop.

We kicked off the day with a tour of the company’s manufacturing operations, showcasing the craftsmanship that goes into the creation of every Taylor guitar. Then, the MetroConnect cohort was treated to lunch and an information session about global growth, IP protection and even corruption in the international marketplace. Taylor Guitars CFO Barbara Wight provided first-hand insight about how the company selects distributors and deals with IP issues. She described how the company effectively responds to inquiries and IP infringement, and helped the MetroConnect cohort think through how they might mitigate international risks for their companies. Taylor Guitars Director of Finance Bryan Bear then described the company's schema for prioritizing international markets and choosing an entrance strategy.

These workshops are among several support services provide to local SMEs as part the MetroConnect program.

 

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.

July 24, 2018

Earlier this month, the Port of San Diego secured a three-year ocean liner contract with European shipping conglomerate G2 Ocean. The deal ensures consistent break bulk service from Europe to San Diego, an important step for the Port as it continues to increase its cargo capacity via the redevelopment of its Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. According to Greg Borossay, Principal Maritime Business Development at Port of San Diego, the G2 service will contribute $650 – 750k per year to Port revenue, for the next three years.

This deal is part of a larger Port effort to attract large ocean liners to San Diego in order to provide more options for local companies, most of which currently ship out of the Ports of LA and Long Beach.

To assist with these efforts, WTC San Diego executed a study at the beginning of 2018 comparing trucking rates throughout the Southwestern United States from the Ports of LA, Long Beach, and San Diego. Mr. Borossay says the study was used in discussions with G2 and other ocean liners to illustrate the overall cost savings of establishing San Diego as a port of call.

July 18, 2018

This week, WTC San Diego partnered with the U.S. Commercial Service team in San Diego to host a business roundtable led by Mr. Alan Turley, the Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for China and Mongolia. With much at stake in the future of the U.S.-China relationship, DAS Turley’s visit presented seven local companies and institutions a chance to voice their concerns directly to a government official involved in formulating and negotiating U.S.-China trade policy and offered reassurance and guidance to those companies presently conducting business across borders so they may remain globally competitive.

The roundtable was particularly timely as it took place amidst growing concerns over steel and aluminum tariffs and less than two weeks after the Trump Administration announced it would impose 25 percent tariffs on Chinese goods, worth $34 billion. The Administration is currently preparing an additional round of tariffs, worth $200 billion, in response to China's retaliatory tariffs.

 

July 12, 2018

Amid contentious political rhetoric and tightening borders, global trade and investment are top of mind for national leaders and companies alike. To contextualize the importance of such international connectivity, World Trade Center San Diego, with support from the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy & Strategy, released “Trade and Competitiveness in North America,” a research summary that quantifies trade and competitiveness in the Cali Baja mega-region, spurred in part by the negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“An integrated North American economy creates opportunity on both sides of the border. For every 10 jobs an American multinational creates in Mexico, it creates 25 in the United States,” said Nikia Clarke, Ph.D., executive director, World Trade Center San Diego. “As we look at a global economy where 95 percent of the world consumers live outside of North America, the ways we partner with Canada and Mexico to produce goods, services, and technology is crucial to our economic future.”

With nearly $3.6 billion in trade occurring daily between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, and 14 million jobs in the U.S. supported by this trade within North America, NAFTA is one of the most beneficial and significant trade agreements in history – most especially to the Cali Baja mega-region, which includes San Diego County, Imperial County, and the State of Baja California.

Against the backdrop of rapid changes in global production, a newfound ‘trade war’ with China, and renegotiations of trade agreements, Cali Baja’s global competitiveness is dependent on the $2.5 billion co-producing manufacturing supply chain that creates jobs and opportunities on both sides of the border.

KEY STUDY FINDINGS:

  • Cali Baja’s foreign exports total $24.3 billion, of which $6.2 billion stay within the mega-region.
  • Mexico is California’s largest export market, with annual exports totaling $26.8 billion. Today, trade with Mexico supports more than 566,000 jobs in California.
  • Since NAFTA was signed, California exports to Mexico have grown by 311 percent.
  • Cali Baja produces commodities including medical devices, semiconductors, aerospace parts, and audio and video equipment. Together, the mega-region’s manufacturing sector directly employs 418,300 workers.
  • In the U.S., nearly 87 percent of manufacturing job losses from 2000 to 2010 were caused by productivity increases as opposed to the relocation of jobs attributed to trade.
  • More than 51 percent of trade within Cali Baja is in the service sector. These include:
    • $7.6 million in computer systems design and related services
    • $3.5 million in scientific R&D services
    • $2 million in software publishers

“It is clear that the cross border economic relationship plays a critical role in the Cali Baja mega-region in spurring economic growth, advancing technology, and enhancing lives on many levels,” said Melissa Floca, associate director of the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, a top policy research center for U.S.-Mexico relations. “These findings underscore the importance of continued cooperation between Mexico and the U.S. to enhance the value we create as a region in services and advanced manufacturing.”

Cross border production sharing has made North America more integrated, more resilient, and more competitive; it has also served to insulate our economies from other global competitors like China. By 2020, however, more than half of all U.S. exports will be in services, not goods. Establishing a robust framework for IP protections, data transfer, and privacy will be essential in ensuring that North America remains competitive in the global economy.

“In the Cali Baja mega-region, we continue to strengthen our binational ties by working closely together to improve economic prosperity on both sides of the border,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, who attended the launch event. “We’ve built that strong bond through the exchange of goods and we’re now seeing that expand to high-level services that cross the border thanks to the digital era we live in. This new study proves that free trade is working for our mega-region and why continued collaboration is so important.”

Read the full study here; also available in Spanish here.

For more research from San Diego Regional EDC – World Trade Center San Diego’s parent organization – please visit: sandiegobusiness.org/research-center.

The report was produced by World Trade Center San Diego, with research support from Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy & Strategy. The research was underwritten by SAMSUNG.

 

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 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 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. 

May 15, 2018

A San Diego genomics giant is acquiring a San Diego genomics startup. Does it get any better than this?

Recent #SDinUK delegate company and biotech startup Edico Genome has been acquired by local genomics giant Illumina in a deal worth $100 million.

Edico Genome’s DRAGEN Bio-IT technology uses field programmable gate array chips in conjunction with proprietary software algorithms for rapid analysis of genetic data produced by DNA-sequencing machines. It means the time it takes to sequence your genome is drastically expedited. 
 
Our acquisition of Edico Genome is a big step toward realizing the vision of reducing sequencing data acquisition and analysis to a push-button, standardized process,” said Susan Tousi, SVP of product development at Illumina. 
 
The San Diego roots in this deal run strong. Like many great San Diego startups, Edico Genome was a graduate of local incubator EvoNexus. It has also received funding from Qualcomm Ventures. President and CEO Pieter Van Rooyen was also a co-founder of EvoNexus alum EcoATM prior to working with Edico Genome.
 
Earlier this year, on the heels of EDC's 2017 U.K. trade mission, Edico Genome and Genomics England announced a partnership to strengthen the accuracy and consistency of next-generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis in Genomics England’s Rare Disease Pilot.
May 14, 2018

This month, it was announced that California had the 5th largest economy in the world, behind the total GDP of the United States, China, Japan, and Germany. Much of this growth is concentrated in the coastal metros which, of course, include San Diego. In an increasingly integrated economy, strategic global economic engagements are crucial to San Diego’s sustained economic competitiveness. By leveraging international exports and foreign direct investment (FDI), San Diego continues to create jobs, increase competitiveness, and boost the region’s global identity.

San Diego, with the help of its local leadership, has become an increasingly global city – one that engages with other metropolitan regions with similar interests and industries. These connections have led to an increase in trade missions, research and innovation partnerships, collaborations, venture funding, and other opportunities for local companies. This year, San Diego welcomed Lufthansa airlines as a direct flight carrier linking San Diego and Frankfurt. Lufthansa joins the ranks of Edelweiss, British Airways, and Japan Airlines in offering overseas nonstop service. These direct flights go a long way in easing both business and tourism travel which foster increased business flow and connect people around the world with San Diego’s world-class tourist sites, such as the San Diego Zoo. These direct flights and increased global connectivity have also done much to help San Diego’s budding companies do business both at home and overseas.

In just the past three years, 45 companies have graduated from MetroConnect, an export assistance program led by WTC San Diego. As we close out our most recent cohort, program participants have collectively generated $10.5 million in new export sales, signed more than 70 new contracts, added 50 new jobs to the region, set up nine new overseas facilities and seen three successful company exits.

While the latest national rhetoric seems to suggest that trade is an evil word and something to be feared, San Diego traces some of its greatest successes to trade. Companies such as Viasat, Qualcomm, Cubic, and Illumina have all translated local innovation into global solutions – solutions that have catapulted San Diego onto the global stage and helped highlight the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that helps this region the life-changing place it is.

This week, WTC San Diego is proud to commemorate World Trade Week and highlight the ways in which San Diego is going global. We couldn’t be more proud of our companies, our people, and our innovations. Follow along in our week-long celebration at #WorldTradeWeek, and tell us what #GlobalSD means to you.

The World Trade Week concept was started in 1926 and first observed in 1927 in Southern California. World trade significantly contributes to the nation’s economy and has developed a vast new horizon for America’s businesses. To learn more about the history behind World Trade Week, visit: foreigntradeassociation.com/worldtradeweek.