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Big Picture San Diego Blog

October 3, 2019

Sysmex Corporation, a global medical device manufacturing company with its HQ in Kobe, Japan, was looking to enlarge their US-based presence.

With San Diego as a target destination for expansion, Sysmex contacted EDC with details on the company’s plans to expand its life science operations by leveraging proprietary technologies to create new testing and diagnostic technologies that help provide optimal healthcare for all. Sysmex distributes and supports automated in vitro diagnostic hematology, coagulation and urinalysis analyzers, reagents and information systems for laboratories and healthcare facilities throughout the Western Hemisphere.

The company was interested in piloting their US presence with a research and development lab staffed with ten initial full-time employees. EDC provided a list of properties using a site selection database that met Sysmex’s requirements for location characteristics. In order to coordinate site logistic tours and provide Sysmex additional market perspectives on the potential locations, EDC leveraged its connections with CBRE’s sales division. CBRE was able to conduct a tour with Sysmex on nine different locations across the region.

Sysmex is now in the process of finalizing their internal budget by mid-October, in order to establish their research and development site by December of this year. The Sysmex team is very positive regarding San Diego and establishing a future here.

 

October 3, 2019

For the latest installment of the Innovator’s Dinner Series, Greg Koch, executive chairman and co-founder at Stone Brewing, joined a group of 25 entrepreneurs from North County to talk about the craft beer company’s growth story along the 78 Corridor. Now leading a 23-year-old company, Greg shared his thoughts and experience on how the company has grown, where they were able to find success, and how they’ve run into challenges in the last two decades.

The conversation showed entrepreneurs that are in the trenches of growing their business how Stone dealt with similar challenges, and ultimately, became a market leader in the craft beer industry. One underlying theme for the evening: An entrepreneur with a good idea needs grit to get through challenges, and the reward can be life-changing.

The Innovator’s Dinner series is part of the Startup78 initiative, which fosters entrepreneurship and supports the startup ecosystem along the 78 Corridor. Startups and entrepreneurs in the cities of Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos, and Vista (together, Innovate78) can find out more about upcoming events at Innovate78.com.

 

October 3, 2019

EDC’s Trade and Competitiveness in North America study launched in 2018 identified the innovation economy as a growing industry in San Diego County, Imperial County, and Baja California—otherwise known as Cali Baja. Among the key takeaways from this study, the high-value services offered in Cali Baja are the future of trade in North America.

According to the study, by 2020, 51% of total trade within Cali Baja will take place in the service sector, not in commodities. This growth creates service sector creates opportunities within San Diego and Tijuana for cross-border collaboration and development within San Diego’s current innovation economy.

To further support this trend, WTC San Diego provides tailored services to San Diego-based companies considering Baja California for expansion. In Q3 2019, WTC San Diego offered consultative services to two tech companies considering expansion into Tijuana, Baja California. One of the companies is a business intelligence services company, which provides its clients with various IT solutions. The other is a logistics company focused on supporting the manufacturing industry. Both of these companies are expanding their software activities by leveraging the competitive advantage in Tijuana’s innovation ecosystem.

In order to help the company’s executives understand the TJ tech ecosystem, WTC San Diego coordinated visits to various locations and facilitated introductions to key public and private sector partners for both San Diego companies. The key partners included Tijuana EDC, Eazy Workspace, MIND Hub Tech Incubator, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Red Door Interactive, which are all valuable examples and assets to companies exploring Tijuana.

As their expansion process continues, WTC San Diego will continue providing consultative services to these companies and any others that are interested in learning more about software capabilities south of the border.

For more information on WTC’s cross-border activity, contact Jesse Gipe at JG@sandiegobusiness.org.

October 3, 2019

Last summer, 20 San Diego-based companies were selected to participate in World Trade Center (WTC) San Diego’s export assistance program—MetroConnect. Participants were equipped with a $10,000 grant and programmatic resources over the course of a year, with the intent of helping them access international markets and boost export sales.

The companies in MetroConnect Year 4 collectively generated a net increase of $69.6 million in exports sales, signed 369 international contracts, and opened 10 new facilities overseas. Together, these participating companies also added 97 jobs right here in San Diego–evidence that exporting can make businesses more dynamic and resilient back home.

After collecting initial results from this year’s cohort, WTC San Diego formed a MetroConnect Judging Committee to determine which four companies would be invited back to compete in the MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest. On November 13, the pitch competition will award one company an additional $35,000 and deemed the grand prize winner of MetroConnect Year 4.

The four finalists:

  • Bitchin’ Sauce
    • A San Diego staple served at street fairs for years, the almond-based, gluten-free, Non-GMO and vegan sauce is great for veggies and a spread. Now available at retailers in San Diego and beyond.
  • Eddy Pump
    • An engineering and manufacturing company producing state-of-the-art material handling equipment for a multitude of industries including military, oil, mining, energy, and more across the globe.
  • LRAD Corporation
    • Manufacturer and developer of long-range acoustic hailing devices, mass notification, and distributed messaging systems, which allow users to clearly communicate warnings and instructions, resolve uncertain situations, and enhance safety in a variety of applications for defense, law enforcement, and more.
  • Scientist.com
    • The world's leading marketplace for sourcing scientific research services.

Congratulations to these companies on their success, and we look forward to seeing them make their pitch in November!

Details for the MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest

·         Who: 200+ attendees primarily within San Diego’s international business community (exporting companies, service providers, trade organizations, program stakeholders)

·         When: Wednesday, November 13 from 2:30 – 5:30 PM

·         Where: The Alexandria at Torrey Pines and Farmer & the Seahorse

·         Why: This event marks the finale of MetroConnet 2018-2019 program. The audience and a judging panel (50/50 split) will vote for the grand prize winner to receive a $35,000 check, courtesy of JPMorgan Chase

Following the pitch competition, there will be a company showcase and reception at Farmer & the Seahorse. Learn more and get tickets for the event here.

October 2, 2019

In an effort to address San Diego’s soaring cost of living, San Diego Regional EDC and its Inclusive Growth Steering Committee of 40 employers officially endorsed a regional goal to create 75,000 newly thriving households by 2030. Driven by the findings in EDC’s latest study release, this regional goal and accompanying set of recommendations aim to address key factors (housing, transportation, and childcare) impacting San Diego’s affordability crisis – the last of three main goals of a regional Inclusive Growth agenda.

"While San Diego's affordability crisis impacts everyone in the region, it has a disproportionate and devastating impact on African American and Hispanic communities,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO, San Diego Regional EDC. “The lack of affordable housing is a significant part of the problem, but those impacted are also the same residents who are dealing with the longest commute times, childcare deficits, limited connectivity to public transportation, and other barriers that make access to high-wage, high-skilled jobs particularly more difficult and burdensome."

ADDRESSING SAN DIEGO’S AFFORDABILITY CRISIS
In its new study, EDC found that the majority of household incomes in San Diego do not meet the region’s expected cost of living ($96,000 annually for owner-occupied households and $61,000 annually for renter-occupied households). The cost of housing – twice the average among U.S. metros – is the primary driver of the region’s growing cost of living, pushing residents further away from job centers and resulting in longer commute times and increased cost of transportation.

Additional key findings include:
Affordability: San Diego is 47 percent more expensive than the average U.S. metro.
Housing: Half of all homeowners do not earn enough to cover their cost of living, and nearly 60 percent of all renters fall thousands of dollars short each year.
• Transportation: The average household spends more than $14,000 on transportation and travels nearly 20,000 miles over the course of a year.
• Childcare: There are now nearly twice as many children under the age of six with working parents as there are licensed childcare spaces available.

With the fifth highest median home price, staggering commute times for its poorest residents, and substantial childcare shortages, San Diego’s high cost of living not only impacts the region’s existing workforce, but also the pipeline of future talent.


"It is becoming more challenging to recruit talent from out of the San Diego region because San Diego is not an affordable place to live.  This is especially true in higher education where many competitors for talent are in low-cost college towns," said Thom Harpole, human resources director, San Diego State University. "Salary and benefits packages alone are not adequate to address the problem.  Affordability in San Diego must be addressed to ensure the health of our communities and the success of our organizations in delivering on their missions."


If the region’s housing, transportation, and childcare costs continue to rise at this rate, San Diego will no longer be an attractive place to live or work. To address this affordability crisis, the Inclusive Growth Steering Committee has endorsed a regional goal of creating 75,000 newly thriving households by 2030. To meet this new regional goal, San Diego must increase the proportion of households that can afford the region’s true cost of living from 47 percent to 55 percent. This means more housing, more transportation options, and more childcare. It also means growing household incomes through the local development of skilled workers and creation of more quality jobs.


"San Diego's cost of living significantly impacts our ability to attract and retain talent from other destinations," said Clifford “Rip” Rippetoe, president and CEO, San Diego Convention Center Corporation. "We need to be creative to compete.  We work to make sure that all of our employees have the opportunity to thrive in San Diego.”


The Inclusive Growth Steering Committee has recommended that employers support the regional goal through the following actions:
1. Transparency – understand the impacts that lack of affordability has on existing workforce and talent pipeline.
2. Engagement – participate in public policy dialogue around infrastructure development to address the region’s affordability challenges.
3. Investment – invest in programs and projects that help ameliorate cost of living pressures on workforce.

Employers that have officially endorsed this goal and recommendations include San Diego State University, San Diego Convention Center, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cox Communications, Northrop Grumman, and more. For a complete list of employers committed to this effort, visit the new interactive web study.

If you are an employer interested in joining this effort, please contact bl@sandiegobusiness.org.

EDC’S INCLUSIVE GROWTH INITIATIVE
In 2018, EDC launched a data-driven, employer-led initiative focused on promoting inclusive growth as an economic imperative. Together with its Inclusive Growth Steering Committee, EDC has set collaborative regional goals, endorsed actionable recommendations for accomplishing them, and will continue to monitor its regional progress towards building a strong local talent pipeline, equipping small businesses to compete, and addressing San Diego’s affordability crisis.

For more information about the Inclusive Growth initiative, visit inclusiveSD.org. Join the conversation at #inclusiveSD.

View the full interactive web study release: Addressing San Diego’s Affordability Crisis.
 

September 20, 2019

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases employment data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego's Economic Pulse covers August 2019. Check out EDC's research bureau for more data and stats about San Diego's economy.

This report is sponsored by Manpower San Diego.

 

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 3.4 percent in August, down from a revised 3.6 percent in July 2019, and below the year-ago estimate of 3.5 percent..
  • The region’s unemployment rate remains lower than both the state and national unemployment rates of 4.2 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively
  • Construction (up 2,900) added the largest number of jobs over the month, with gains centered in speciality trade contractors(up 1,800)
  • Between August 2018 and August 2019, total nonfarm employment increased from 1,485,300 to 1,512,700, adding 27,400 jobs.
  • Government (up 8,400) followed by professional & business services(up 6,600) led job growth during the past year
September 12, 2019

 

In an effort to provide residents with increased access to high-demand jobs, San Diego Regional EDC launched Advancing San Diego, a $3 million local investment initiative underwritten by JPMorgan Chase that will align industries with economic development, workforce development and education systems.

“Talented and skilled workers are integral for a strong economy,” said Mark Cafferty, president & CEO at San Diego Regional EDC. “With and through our program partners and stakeholders, we are establishing a first-of-its-kind, employer-led initiative that will measure and aggregate workforce needs while also indentifying solutions that align and strengthen our local education systems. We need to ensure that the benefits of our region’s growing innovation economy are reaching all San Diegans.

Advancing San Diego will establish nine working groups that are designed to give employers a collective voice about talent needs in priority industries, ranging from software and technology to marketing, healthcare and more. In the first report, 17 participating employers expressed a projected need for more than 7,200 additional software-related positions over the next three years.

The Advancing San Diego initiative
In April 2019, San Diego was one of five cities to receive a $3 million investment as part of JPMorgan Chase’s AdvancingCities Challenge, an initiative to drive inclusive growth and create greater economic opportunity across the U.S. Advancing San Diego is a collaborative program by San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, the City of San Diego, San Diego Workforce Partnership, United Way of San Diego, and San Diego & Imperial Counties Community College Association (SDICCCA).

As San Diego’s economy continues to expand, employers are seeing an increased demand for skilled workers. While San Diego strives to attract and retain talent, it must also look inward to build a workforce that meets demands for current and future jobs. EDC and its Inclusive Growth Steering Committee of 40 employers have endorsed a regional goal to double the number of skilled workers produced in San Diego County to 20,000 per year by 2030. This requires strong, effective learning programs offered by community colleges and other education institutions.

The goals of Advancing San Diego are to:

  • Engage employers in a structured process to collectively communicate talent needs
  • Identify education programs that are aligned with industry needs
  • Increase the pool of diverse, skilled talent in San Diego
  • Expand access to talent pipelines for small companies

“By 2020, nearly two of every three jobs in the U.S. will require a credential or degree, and currently, 90 percent of our students remain in San Diego after graduation,” said Dr. Sunita "Sunny" Cooke, superintendent & president at MiraCosta Community College District. “Community colleges play a critical role in creating a diverse talent pipeline for the region. The Advancing San Diego program willhelp connect the work occurring within local community colleges to ensure we offer innovative curricula that support employer needs and include opportunities for students to apply their learning in workplace settings so graduates are ready for employment.”

Education systems that are aligned with results set forth by the working groups will be listed as ‘preferred providers’ by Advancing San Diego. This designation rewards higher education students with priority access to work-based learning and engagement opportunities via networking events, career and internship fairs, and local company tours. To learn more and become a ‘preferred provider,’ educators are encouraged to apply at advancingSD.org.

Additionally, businesses with fewer than 100 employees make up 98 percent of San Diego firms, and on average, are challenged to compete with larger employer wages. As part of EDC’s inclusive growth strategy, more than 35 employers (and counting) have endorsed a regional goal to create 50,000 new quality jobs within small businesses by 2030. To further engage small businesses, nearly half of the funding for Advancing San Diego will be used to subsidize internships within small businesses and offer additional services that support student success in the workplace.

“Start-ups like LunaPBC are rich with mission, purpose, and the opportunity for personal and professional growth,” said Dawn Barry, co-founder & president at LunaPBC. “Unlike large employers, startups are often lower on salary, but offer exciting equity and the opportunity to experience first-hand what it’s like to build an enterprise. When large employers work together with smaller employers, and pursue partnerships with incubators and accelerators, higher education and regional development teams, we strengthen our collective visiblity as a region for career development.”

Report: Demand for Software Talent and Criteria for ‘Preferred Providers’
Working group members were asked to provide hiring projections along with skills and competency requirements for critical jobs, in order to identify programs that align with industry needs. Collectively, these results were compiled into the Demand for Software Talent Report and will create a criteria for ‘preferred providers’ of software – a designation by employers that demonstrates an education program is providing adequate training for software engineers.

Companies that contributed to this report represent industries with the highest proportion of software talent in San Diego, including tech, life sciences, healthcare and defense. Based on the participation of 17 employers who collectively employ approximately 53,000 people and share a need for software talent, this report indicates the working group is projected to hire more than 7,220 additional software professionals over three years.

Additional key findings include:

  • Software engineers accounted for the highest future hiring demand among all software occupations in working group companies, making up 53 percent of total projections
  • Entry-level software engineers represent the highest hiring need of any position at any level
  • Collectively, the working group projects they will hire more than 1,700 entry-level software engineers over the next three years
  • Approximately 44 percent of working group employers require a bachelors degree for entry-level software engineers

Through the Advancing San Diego collaboration, San Diego strives to cultivate a more inclusive economy, as this initiative will look inward to address regional talent shortages and strengthen the relationship between employers and education systems.

For more information about the new Advancing San Diego initiative, future working groups, or to be listed as a ‘preferred provider, visit advancingSD.org. Follow along and join the conversation at #advancingSD.

View the full interactive web report—“San Diego’s Demand for Software Talent Report”—here.

**Read the full press release here.**

September 5, 2019

San Diego has the largest concentration of military assets in the world. The local defense industry brings in more than $26 million in direct spending and is responsible for approximately 22 percent of all jobs in the region.

With such a significant economic impact and contribution to the region by both military and defense, San Diego was recently selected by the Department of the Navy and NavalX, as one of five U.S. locations to soon house a new innovation incubator model – ‘Tech Bridges.’

During planning stages, the NavalX team spent several months looking at regions across the U.S. that had both the necessary internal ecosystem to support greater innovation among the Department of the Navy as well as strong outside partners – think: academia, state/regional governments and local privately held companies – residing in each location. San Diego also has the foundation in place to connect emerging startups with the Department of the Navy. The additional cities selected to carry out their own form of this innovation platform include Newport, RI; Keyport, WA; Orlando, FL; and Crane, IN.

As the SoCal Tech Bridge gets fully operational and a location is soon selected, the platform will run on a franchise model, allowing San Diego’s diverse innovation ecosystems to fully shine. The goal is focus on connecting ‘non-traditional partners’ to enhance collaboration, in order to meet the growing needs of our region’s Navy and Marine Corps. Defense contractors and growing startups will soon have easier access to resources from the Department of the Navy, made possible by the Tech Bridge.

“Earlier this year, the Naval Expeditions (NavalX) office stood up to facilitate rapid adoption of proven agility-enhancing methods across the Department. And today, I’m proud to announce that NavalX in collaboration with our workforce has furthered this effort by creating the first five regional “Tech Bridges” across the country to better connect the DON and the private sector. These five spaces will lower barriers that traditionally hamper external collaboration.”
Mr. James Geurts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition

Based on research conducted by EDC’s research team in 2018, more than 5,600 defense contractors collectively employ more than 62,000 people in San Diego. Plus, defense contractor jobs have grown 6.3 percent over the last three years, and are expected to grow another 9.3 percent over the next year. The future is bright for defense-related jobs in San Diego, and the addition of SoCal Tech Bridge places it on a path to continue fueling innovation and new technologies.

 

September 4, 2019

This op-ed was originally published in Times of San Diego, authored by Kim Becker, Jane Finley, and Chris Nayve.

More big business executives are shifting their corporate policies to include the needs of every stakeholder—not just the company’s shareholders, but all of its stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, customers, and community. The importance of this issue was magnified by a recent statement from the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs from America’s leading companies. In today’s world of widening economic disparities and rapid digital automation, it is critical now, more than ever, for large companies to go beyond checking the boxes of corporate social responsibility and actually create solutions for inclusive economic growth, which means prioritizing the success of small businesses in their community.

In San Diego, where small businesses make up 98 percent of firms, large corporations can play a crucial role in growing the economy—through supporting small businesses, especially those in “opportunity industries.” While the region’s highest-paying jobs come from innovation industries, a new study by San Diego Regional EDC indicates that opportunity industries offer alternative pathways to prosperity. These industries—such as construction, manufacturing, and logistics—provide good pay, benefits, and sustainable career paths, through quality jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree. The problem is that workers cannot get jobs where none exist.

To address these challenges, EDC launched an employer-led Inclusive Growth Steering Committee to drive an agenda that maximizes economic growth through inclusion. Guided by the findings of EDC’s latest study, the steering committee recently endorsed a regional goal to “create 50,000 new quality jobs in small businesses by 2030.” This includes supporting small firms in opportunity industries, which have a higher concentration of quality jobs accessible without a bachelor’s degree.

The steering committee also developed a set of actionable recommendations for how large employers can support local small businesses, through their procurement decisions and direct investment in small business support programs. These actions help small businesses increase revenue and, as a result, create more quality jobs.

According to a recent survey, the most difficult challenge faced by small businesses is attracting new customers. Though many large firms in San Diego procure goods and services from opportunity industries, local small businesses struggle to compete for their attention and often lose out to larger suppliers from outside the region. By establishing a more concerted effort to procure from local businesses, San Diego’s large companies could fuel local job growth without sacrificing quality of work.

No one understands the value of strong local supply chains better than San Diego’s anchor institutions. As locally-serving organizations deeply rooted in their community, anchor institutions have a vested interest in helping small businesses succeed. The University of San Diego understands the transformative impact an anchor institution can make by simply expanding partnerships with local service providers. The university’s director of procurement has set spending targets specifically for small and minority-owned businesses and hosts quarterly supplier diversity workshops. The university takes responsibility for strengthening the local small business ecosystem, so that more students can thrive in San Diego after graduation.

As an advocate for community health, Kaiser Permanente recognizes that economic opportunity and stability are essential to maintaining healthy residents. Kaiser Permanente recently funded a tuition-free training program for small business owners to help build capacity for sustainable growth. During its first year in San Diego, the program helped 55 small businesses grow revenues and create new jobs.

Through its Small Business Development program, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority ensures that small and disadvantaged businesses have the opportunity to work with the airport. Over the past decade, the airport authority has contributed $250 million to the regional economy in construction contracts with small businesses alone, and has benefited by increasing competition in the procurement process and gaining access to external talent. By demonstrating the value from these partnerships, anchor institutions, like the airport authority, can provide examples of effective procurement strategies that other large companies can adopt to benefit themselves and the region as a whole.

Like CEOs of the Business Roundtable, our region’s anchor institutions and large employers have an opportunity to play a central role in creating a better, more inclusive San Diego. By directly investing in local small businesses through procurement and support programs, large firms can help sustain these smaller companies and maximize regional economic growth, while still maintaining their bottom line. It’s time that San Diego’s largest entities work together to restore our corporate ecosystem and, ultimately, provide more San Diegans with access to quality jobs.

Kim Becker is the president and CEO of San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. Jane Finley is the senior vice president and area manager for all Kaiser Permanente facilities in San Diego. Chris Nayve is the associate vice president for community engagement at the Karen & Tom Mulvaney Center of the University of San Diego. These organizations are all members of San Diego Regional EDC’s Inclusive Growth Steering Committee.

 

 

August 27, 2019

Fortune recently announced its 2019 Change the World list, its annual ranking of companies that are using creative tools of business to meet society's unmet needs. In today's world of widening economic disparities and rapid digital automation, it's critical now, more than ever, for large companies to go beyond checking the boxes of "corporate social responsibility" and actually create solutions for sustainability and inclusive economic growth.

See which San Diego-based companies made this year’s list:

No. 1 Qualcomm: Turning faster connections into green gains
Why Fortune ranked Qualcomm as Number 1 on its 2019 Change the World list: The mobile-chip designer has been a leader in wireless tech since the earliest smartphones. Now it’s building chips for 5G connectivity, which promises speeds 10 to 100 times as fast as those of today’s phones. Already, phonemakers are using Qualcomm modem chips to power 5G-compatible devices. But the company will soon introduce inexpensive, low-power versions for smart devices and sensors that could have a profound impact on the planet. As such sensors become pervasive, cities will be able to monitor air and water quality in real time, farmers can avoid overwatering or overfertilizing crops, and self-driving cars will communicate with each other to avoid traffic jams and reduce emissions.

No. 12 Viasat: Connecting Latin America to the Internet, dirt cheap
Why Fortune ranked Viasat as Number 12 on its 2019 Change the World list: Satellite Internet service provider Viasat has been able to offer cheap online service from space to poorly wired parts of the world as the capabilities of its spacecraft have improved. Since lofting the school-bus-size ViaSat-2 satellite in 2017, the company’s reach has extended across Latin America. In Mexico, for example, a simple $1,500 receiver setup in a local shop can provide Wi-Fi across a wide area for as little as 50¢ an hour to users with cheap phones or tablets. So far, over 600,000 devices have logged on for Internet connections in Mexico. In July the state of São Paulo began working with Viasat to set up community Wi-Fi stations to provide connectivity in 20 underserved areas. Coming next: three ViaSat-3 satellites, with more capacity, reaching Europe, the Middle East, and Africa in 2021 and the Asia-Pacific region in 2022.

No. 35 Illumina: Lifesaving shortcuts in gene testing
Why Fortune ranked Illumina as Number 35 on its 2019 Change the World list: The genomic sequencing giant has managed to spur personalized drug development, help foster a revolution in at-home DNA testing, and even save critically ill newborns. The company has been at the forefront of making whole genomic sequencing not just cheaper (it now costs less than $1,000 to conduct such sequencing, as opposed to the $3 billion it cost to sequence the first full human genome—largely thanks to Illumina’s work over the past 20 years)—but also considerably faster.

That’s absolutely critical when it comes to saving newborns in the ICU suffering from rare genetic disorders, according to Dr. Stephen Kingsmore, the CEO of Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine in San Diego. “Illumina is involved in every step of delivering care for these sick babies,” he says. Kingsmore says that, thanks to Illumina’s technology and dedication to making whole genomic sequencing accessible, affordable, and fast, a critically ill baby can have his or her genome sequenced in as little as 20 hours—which means that child can have personalized treatment delivered within a matter of days rather than weeks, likely spelling the difference between life and death. The Rady Institute has already tested about 1,000 sick newborns with Illumina’s tech in the past three years (about half of them in the past 12 months).

Aira makes Fortune's "Ones to Watch" list.
Most of the companies on Fortune Magazine's 2019 Change the World list are large corporations with $1 billion or more in annual revenue, which helps them pay for and scale their efforts. So it created a "Ones to Watch" list, which ranks smaller companies that may not have the  financial means to make significant impacts (yet), but have made technological breakthroughs that can lead to even larger gains and social impact in the future. Featured at the top of this list is San Diego-based Aira.

Why Fortune names Aira on its Ones to Watch list: Aira makes life easier to manage for the visually impaired. The four-year-old start-up offers customers a pair of camera-wielding smart glasses and an app that allows users to connect with Aira agents, who offer verbal assistance while they go about their day—navigating errands or tasks at work. With several thousand users, Aira has evidence that it boosts quality of life and reduces the chances that a blind student will drop out of college, and the company says its technology helped more than 250 visually-impaired users get jobs. The National Federation of the Blind has signed on as a partner.

Check out the full rankings on Fortune’s 2019 Change the World List here.