Skip to Content
The Big Picture San Diego Blog


WTCSD Q2 17

July 1, 2017

A year ago, members of the Global Competitiveness Council – the voice of the global business community in San Diego – made a request to Mayor Faulconer: to travel internationally with World Trade Center San Diego.

And he said yes. So we decided to start our global engagement by expanding our North American relationships and traveling to Vancouver--an international city that is quicker to fly to than it is to drive to LA. And with so many similarities to San Diego, we wound up squeezing nine meetings and events into just under a day and a half.

Economically speaking, Vancouver is seen as one of the greenest cities in the world. With the Mayor's climate action plan and the ongoing development of our cleantech industry, San Diego is fast being recognized as another one of North America’s greenest cities.

Some of the highlights from the trip include:

  • San Diego-based Cubic Transportation Systems, in partnership with TransLink, Metro Vancouver’s transportation network, announced there were more than 2 million compass cards in circulation
  • Phoenix Molecular Design, a life sciences company based in Vancouver, is actively expanding its business to San Diego and plans to grow to 15 employees within two years
  • UC San Diego and University of British Columbia (UBC)  formulized  the HIBAR initiative, designed to connect their faculty to their communities to tackle problems around sustainability and climate change
  • San Diego State University became the only California university accepted into the International Sustainability Campus Network, joining UBC and other top tier universities around the globe
  • SDG&E and BC Hydro, British Columbia’s energy utility, participated in a clean energy forum
  • Planck Aerospace, a San Diego-based drone startup, was able to pitch its technology to the Port of Vancouver
  • A smart cities forum led by Qualcomm and Wavefront, the Canadian center for mobile and IoT technology, and other telecommunications/Iot companies

 

And we made it back to San Diego just in time to celebrate Canada’s 150 birthday. 

World, get ready. San Diego is coming for you. 

Learn more about the trade mission by checking out #SDinVancouver

 

June 26, 2017
The 2017 BIO International Convention, the world’s leading biotechnology conference, came to San Diego in June and brought with it more than 16,100 attendees from 74 countries. While here, many of these delegations – comprised of venture capitalists, foreign dignitaries, private companies and others – send hundreds of meeting and/or tour requests to local businesses and organizations.
 
WTC San Diego, in partnership with Biocom, launched discoversdbio.com in order to streamline such requests. In this pilot year, the website handled requests from 32 delegations, representing 388 people. More than 75 percent of these delegations consisted of companies seeking partnership opportunities with locals such as JLABS, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Renova Therapeutics and more. 
 
Foreign direct investment (FDI) is an integral part of San Diego’s life sciences cluster. In Q1 2017 alone, San Diego’s life sciences cluster received more than $1.7 billion in FDI – more than 75 percent of the region’s total FDI during that quarter. Strategically implementing tools such as this website helps local companies vet future opportunities. 
 
Moving forward, partner organizations can leverage the website to connect visiting delegations with local businesses and institutions.
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.
June 16, 2017
In just the first half of 2017, the region has seen the official launch of two direct flights, of which WTC San Diego and EDC have assisted the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority in attracting: Condor Airlines’ direct service to Frankfurt, Germany and Edelweiss’ direct service to Zurich, Switzerland. 
 
This week, Edelweiss launched its inaugural flight. WTC and EDC assisted in hosting a private luncheon earlier this year with Swiss-owned and San Diego-based companies seeking business opportunities in Switzerland. Switzerland is an important market for San Diego, especially for the life sciences industry, with more than $1.6 billion in investment from Switzerland. 
 
May 3, 2017

At 6pm on Monday, May 1, San Diego greeted Condor Airlines' first ever flight from Frankfurt, Germany. Condor begins seasonal, nonstop service between San Diego and Frankfurt with up to three flights weekly.
 
“Germany is one of San Diego’s most important foreign markets. By providing nonstop service to Frankfurt from San Diego, we’re opening new doors to global markets that will attract exports and lucrative foreign investment for the region,” said City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
 
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). 
 
Ringing in this new flight, more than 100 San Diego business and tourism officials joined WTC San Diego at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens - Liberty Station for a kickoff event this Tuesday. Attendees included San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer; Jens Boyd, group head of long-haul, Condor Airlines; April Boling, board chairman, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority; Greg Koch, founder and Chairman, Stone Brewing; and Consul General Hans Jörg Neumann, Consulate General Germany Los Angeles. Stone Brewing Co is the only U.S. brewer to fully own and operate a brewery in Europe. 
 
Besides Frankfurt, the service will provide travelers with convenient one-stop access to European destinations such as Paris, Vienna, Prague, Venice, Berlin, Rome, Zagreb and many more.
 
This year, San Diego International Airport will double its intercontinental routes. In addition to its current service to Tokyo, London and the new route to Frankfurt, it will also add a new flight to Zurich, Switzerland later this year. 
 
April 18, 2017

Last time San Diego hosted BIO in 2014, San Diego companies were inundated with requests for meetings from visitors  looking to make connections outside of the convention center. After all, if you are going to visit one of the world's preeminent biotech hubs, you better take advantage of your surroundings. Many of these meetings result in inbound investment opportunities for San Diego businesses and research institutions.

WTC San Diego, in partnership with Biocom, has launched discoversdbio.com, a website that will track, vet and expand investment opportunities for San Diego businesses during the BIO International Convention

The 2017 BIO International Convention, the world’s leading biotechnology conference, comes to San Diego June 19 - June 21. In 2017, BIO is projected to attract more than 16,500 attendees, with more than 2,000 individuals coming from international destinations. These delegations, comprised of venture capitalists, foreign dignitaries, private companies and others, collectively send hundreds of requests to businesses and organizations for tours and meetings outside of the San Diego Convention Center.

Foreign investment (FDI) is an integral part of San Diego’s life sciences cluster. In Q1 2017 alone, 

San Diego’s life sciences cluster received more than $1.7 billion in FDI – more than 75 percent of the region’s total FDI during that quarter.

Discoversdbio.com will function as a one-stop-shop for delegations seeking opportunities in the broader San Diego community during BIO 2017. The tool will streamline requests, improve the tracking of visitors and strengthen the follow through. Delegations are directed to a website that captures contact information, delegation make-up, requested company tours and more.

“The annual BIO convention offers significant opportunities for companies to network at the conference, and because San Diego has a vibrant life sciences ecosystem, many visiting delegations are eager to make connections outside of the conference,” said Jennifer Landress, senior vice president and COO at Biocom. “However, sifting through a high volume of requests can be difficult. This tool will help track and vet the opportunities for San Diego organizations, giving them the information they need to make the decisions about which meetings to hold.”

San Diego life sciences companies and/or research institutions that are interested in hosting delegations, please contact Drew Garrison at dg@sandiegobusiness.org to be added to the website. 

San Diego Regional EDC, the parent organization of WTC San Diego, will also be running subsequent programming during BIO 2017 as a way to market the region and attract additional inbound investment. EDC will launch an economic impact study on San Diego’s genomics industry, making San Diego the first region in the U.S. to quantify its genomics industry.