San Diego small businesses have a new opportunity to enter the sprawling marketplace that is the world.
Once again, the World Trade Center San Diego is hosting its MetroConnect export accelerator program. Applications are due Nov. 15.
An application form as well as detailed information about the program is accessible through the blog post here.
Slots for 15
A total of 15 companies will be selected for spots in the latest program, presented by JPMorgan Chase and Procopio.
“Amid changing trade policy and pandemic-induced global supply chain constraints, 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 and Procopio, the MetroConnect program helps San Diego companies export their innovation around the world, which creates jobs and opportunities back here at home.”
Coaching, Cash and Cross-Cultural Help
The 15 companies selected for the program will receive a $5,000 export assistance grant. They will be able to attend private executive export workshops and get complimentary access to SYSTRAN PRO translation software.
There is also the chance to compete for a $25,000 grand prize.
To participate, companies must have their headquarters in San Diego, have been in business for at least one year, and be designated a small business by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
In addition, they must be export-ready. That is, the company must be already exporting its goods or services. Absent that, it must have international sales as a near-term priority.
The World Trade Center is an affiliate of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. This is the sixth time it has offered the MetroConnect program.
During its first four years in existence, MetroConnect San Diego assisted 65 small businesses. Those businesses turned $790,000 in export funding into $85 million in new international sales. The businesses inked 500 new international contracts and opened 18 new offices around the world.
World Trade Center and the EDC credit the MetroConnect program with creating 269 new jobs in San Diego.
An Eye Opener
EDDY Pump, an El Cajon company that produces commercial pumps and dredging equipment, participated in an earlier cohort of MetroConnect, winning the $25,000 grand prize.
Ben Weinrib, CEO of the company, said he would do it all over again.
“One hundred percent,” he said. “It just opened our eyes to new resources we didn’t know about.”
By participating in the program, the business saw international sales increase from $3 million to $10 million, Weinrib said. The business broke into markets in Canada, the Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Indonesia and Madagascar.
A second company that has used MetroConnect as a stepping stone is Dr. Bronner’s, the Vista-based maker of natural soap. Dr. Bronner’s used the program to increase its sales in the Taiwanese market. Part of the services it used was translation assistance; Systran helped Dr. Bronner’s put just the right nuance into its marketing materials, according to the World Trade Center.
The nonprofit reported that Dr. Bronner’s online campaign in Taiwan generated more than 8 million impressions and more than $1.9 million in purchase value.
For more information on the MetroConnect program, visit the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation homepage at sandiegobusiness.org and find the link to the MetroConnect program. Alternately, go to https://tinyurl.com/swju3v77
San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.
CEO: Mark Cafferty
BUSINESS: Nonprofit promoting San Diego and its economic development
NOTABLE: In 2020, the EDC helped 476 companies access COVID-19 relief