Twenty more San Diego area companies will join a program to boost their international presence. MetroConnect was founded in 2015, in conjunction with the relaunch of the World Trade Center San Diego as an affiliate of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
World Trade Center Executive Director Nikia Clarke, who is also vice president of the EDC, said the program stemmed from research at the end of the recession about ways to increase San Diego’s resilience through global engagement. In the past, many local companies have depended on federal funding, from military and defense contracts to grants from the National Institutes of Health.
“Historically, San Diego has been pretty insular,” she said. “Post the financial crisis, people in the region realized diversifying made a lot of sense for the region as a whole.”
Participants include small- and mid-sized companies in a variety of sectors, including biotech, defense, manufacturing and consumer goods. To date, 45 companies have participated in the program, generating $15 million in new export sales.
Participants of this year’s program will be able to receive a $10,000 matching grant from JPMorgan Chase and the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment. They also will receive consulting, workshops, and the opportunity to receive $35,000 the MetroConnect Grand Prize Pitchfest next June.
This year’s participants include:
• Aira, a La Jolla-based service that provides visual interpreting services for blind and visually impaired users by connecting them to an agent via smart glasses.
• Allett, a San Diego-based designer of slim wallets
• Arctic Zero, a San Diego-based company that produces low-calorie and non-dairy ice cream treats
• AtYourGate, a San Diego-based airport food-delivery app
• Bitchin’ Sauce, a Carlsbad company that makes almond-based dips
• Cloudbeds, a San Diego-based provider of property management software for hotels and other hospitality businesses
• Conectric, a San Diego company that makes wireless sensors and designs software for data on energy use
• Dr. Bronner’s, an Escondido-based producer of organic soaps and hair products
• Eddy Pump Corp., an El Cajon dredge equipment and pump manufacturer
• Epitope Diagnostics Inc., a San Diego medical device manufacturer that produces tests for diagnostics and research
• Hookit, a San Diego company that measures athletes’ sponsorship value
• IPS Group Inc., a San Diego company that provides parking solutions for smart cities
• Kulr Technology Group, a Campbell company that provides cooling technologies for electronics
• LRAD Corp., a San Diego company that produces devices that can broadcast messages and warning sirens over a longer distance
• MRP Training Solutions Inc., a San Diego company that provides training and courses to the U.S. Navy.
• PKL Services Inc., a Poway company that provides aerospace maintenance, training and logistics services
• Quality Controlled Manufacturing Inc., a Santee manufacturer of complex components for aerospace, heavy equipment and oil and gas.
• Raveon Technologies, a Vista company that designs long-range wireless products for data communications, GPS tracking and security
• Scientist.com, a Solana Beach-e-commerce company that hosts a marketplace for research services
• Telaeris Inc., a San Diego firm that develops RFID solutions for security