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Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023
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ITJuana Arms Cos. With Cross Border Digital Talent

ITJuana, a binational organization focused on contributing to the growth of California’s innovation economy, seeks to expand its reach in San Diego after seeing exponential growth over the last two years.

Founded in 2019, by Maritza Diaz, a former senior director of information technology for Thermo Fisher. Diaz helped the laboratory equipment maker expand its operations in Mexico, growing the company’s software team there to 200 employees.

After working for a Carlsbad-based firm for nineteen years, she set out to start her own company. Founded in 2019, ITJuana’s mission is to help its clients create “technology centers of excellence” in Tijuana.

“I started ITJuana with a simple mission,” said Diaz, founder and chief executive officer. “We want to enable companies to create their software centers of excellence in Tijuana, leveraging Baja California’s wealth of world-class engineering talent.”

Creating Over 400 Jobs

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ITJuana works by helping source talent for companies, conducts interviews and tests, and quickly scales up a workforce that is ready-to-go. It serves its clients by building out product and software engineering teams ranging from companies of all sizes.

Since inception, the firm has created more than 400 new jobs, said Diaz, adding that it is currently working with three of San Diego’s largest publicly traded companies in the services and medical device industry. 

While large companies may already have workforces in other countries, such as India and China, Diaz believes Tijuana’s advantage lies with its proximity.

“Being in the same time zone can make it easier to scale operations, and being able to meet face-to-face is even better,” she said.

To keep a healthy pipeline, ITJuana partners heavily with universities in San Diego and Tijuana to scout out potential recruits.

ITjuana also offers a shuttle service that lets workers commute from Tijuana to San Diego easily, for meetings and other work events.

Mexico Creates Over 566,000 Jobs

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, according to a recent survey conducted by the San Diego’s Regional EDC.

Mexico’s second-largest city, Guadalajara, is known as a tech hub. Intel, Oracle, and HP all have research and development facilities there.

Nikia Clarke, executive director at the World Trade Center San Diego, said Tijuana’s close proximity and lower development costs make it an attractive option for employers. A shared time zone, and often, a shared language, makes it easier for cross-border teams to communicate with each other.

“After the largest disruption to the global economy in a generation, it is clear that two major trends are here to stay across every industry: big investments in regional, resilient supply chains and an increasing demand for digital capabilities,” said Clarke. “As a binational region, we are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this moment.”

“The economies of Baja and San Diego have developed complementary strengths in future-focused industries — medical devices, life sciences, aerospace, and all types of advanced manufacturing — that allow us to create jobs and opportunities all along the value chain, safely, seamlessly and in the same time zone,” she said.

Transforming Tijuana

Overall, the firm believes having another talent pool south of the border could become even more important as Amazon, Apple, and Google set up their new offices in San Diego.

Diaz hopes to see a similar transformation for Tijuana, from an economy once dominated by manufacturing jobs to one more focused on software.

“As the local market for tech talent becomes pinched, companies may need to turn to another source,” said Diaz. “Having that talent pool 20 or 30 minutes south is priceless.”

Diaz said the big picture goal for the company is to continue to help companies diversify its talent pipeline. Looking forward, the company plans to help “thousands” of software professionals and help Cali Baja remain competitive as a region.

“We see a tremendous future in the Cali-Baja partnership and our focus is now more important than ever, as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates digital disruption, driving demand for software engineering resources even higher,” said Diaz. “We will continue helping companies in San Diego but long-term we want to help companies around the country.”

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