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15 San Diego Companies Get A Boost To Expand Abroad

August 8, 2017 1:33 p.m.

15 San Diego Companies Get A Boost To Expand Abroad

GUESTS:

Lauren Lindner, director, World Trade Center San Diego

Samantha Urban, founder, Urban Translations

Related Story: 15 San Diego Companies Get A Boost To Expand Abroad

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

THIS IS KPBS MIDDAY EDITION , I AM MAUREEN CAVANAUGH. COMPANIES GETTING STARTER MONEY TO EXPAND INTO INTERNATIONAL MARKETS. THEY ARE THE RECENT WINNERS OF THE METRO CONNECT PRICE. LOCAL BUSINESSES THAT WON THE PRIZE, RANGE FROM BREWERIES TO BIOTECH, SOFTWARE TO SOLAR. THE SAN DIEGO ECONOMIC DEVELOPER CORPORATION SAYS SINCE THIS BEGAN, 30 COMPANIES HAVE GENERATED MORE THAN $10 MILLION IN NEW EXPORT SALES AND CREATED 50 NEW LOCAL JOBS. JOINING ME AS LAUREN LINDELL OR, DIRECTOR OF THE WORLD TRADE CENTER SAN DIEGO. AND, ONE OF THE WINNERS, SAMANTHA URBAN. WELCOME.WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN APPLICANTS FOR THIS PRICE? WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES A LOCAL COMPANY READY TO EXPAND?WE LOOK FOR A FEW DIFFERENT THINGS WHEN COMPANIES APPLY, PRIMARILY WE WANT COMPANIES IN THE SMALL-MIDSIZE REMARK. -- MARK. WE ARE LOOKING FOR COMPANIES THAT WORK IN THE HIGH-LEVEL INNOVATION SECTORS IN SAN DIEGO, TECHNOLOGY, SOFTWARE, INDUSTRIES YOU MENTIONED BEFORE, WE LOOK FOR COMPANIES THAT HAVE MAYBE THOUGHT ABOUT GOING ABROAD BUT ARE NOT FOR SEVERAL INSTANCES, THE EDUCATION THEY NEED TO GET INTO THE INTERNATIONAL MARKET, NOT SURE WHERE TO START, THEY MAY HAVE BEEN BURNED BEFORE AND NOT SURE THEY WANT TO GET OUT OF DOMESTIC MARKETS, WE FOUND COMPANIES THAT EXPORT DO TEND TO PROVIDE MORE JOBS, HIGHER-PAYING JOBS, MORE CREATIVE AND MORE DIVERSIFIED SALES PORTFOLIOS.LET ME TURN TO YOU SAMANTHA, CONGRATULATIONS FIRST OF ALL. YOUR COMPANY URBAN TRANSLATION MAKES LANGUAGE TRANSLATION SOFTWARE FOR HOTELS AND CASINOS. YOU TRIED TO EXPAND INTO BRAZIL IN TIME FOR LAST YEAR'S OLYMPICS, WHAT HAPPENED?THANK YOU, I GOT MY IDEA BY GOING TO BRAZIL. WE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A GOOD MARKET TO APPROACH. THAN IN 2013 I WENT ON A TRADE MISSION, WHILE WE WENT THERE IT WAS GREAT, LIKE THE WORLD TRADE CENTER. WE WORKED WITH THE PENNSYLVANIA BRANCH AND WITH THAT THEY GIVE YOU THE RESOURCES YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND HOW US AS A SOFTWARE COMPANY CAN EXPAND IN ONE OF THE BIG THINGS WAS FOR US AS SOFTWARE WE HAVE A HARDWARE COMPONENT, BEING CAREFUL OF EXPORTING THE HARDWARE BECAUSE IT'S AN ASSET. WE LEARNED A LOT OF VALUABLE THINGS BUT THE CHALLENGE WAS BRAZIL IS NOT READY FOR EXPANSION. AT LEAST NOT FOR US. IT IS A COUNTRY THAT HAS A LOT OF DIFFERENT TECHNICALITIES WHEN IT COMES TO A STARTUP OR SMALL BUSINESS, IT WAS CHALLENGING. OF COURSE THE COST TO KEEP ON FLYING DOWN AND MAINTAINING IT, WE WORKED WITH THE JW MARRIOTT WHEN WE WENT ON THE MISSION AND GOT SOME GREAT CONNECTIONS, I TALKED TO THE OLYMPICS BUT INSTEAD OF DOING THE OLYMPICS FOR 2016, WE ARE LOOKING AT 2020, THE INFRASTRUCTURE JUST WASN'T THERE IN BRAZIL.SO THAT'S WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT, WHERE ARE YOU LOOKING TO EXPAND?WE ARE CLOSE TO BAJA AND MEXICO, THAT THE BIG ADVANTAGE FOR US. THERE ARE TONS OF BEAUTIFUL RESORTS ON THE COAST, WE KNOW HOW BAJA IS UP-AND-COMING. WE HAVE CANADA ON OUR MIND. WE HAVE CONNECTIONS IN THE CASINO INDUSTRY IS BEHIND VEGAS WHERE WE ARE DOING THAT HERE, WE CAN DO THAT THERE. AND THE THIRD IS TOKYO.WHAT SUCCESSES HAVE PAST WINNERS HAVE?WE LOOK AT SUCCESS IN A NUMBER OF WAYS, INCREASED SALES, WE HAVE SEEN SEVERAL COMPANIES SIGN LARGE-SCALE CONTRACTS BY VIRTUE OF BEING PART OF THIS PROGRAM. I WILL SAY THIS PROGRAM BRINGS ADDITIONAL FACTORS TO THE TABLE PRIMARILY INTRODUCING COMPANIES TO THE OTHER RESOURCES AVAILABLE IN SAN DIEGO. HAVE GREAT DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE TEAM HERE, THE XM BEING, THE CENTER FOR INITIAL -- INTERNATIONAL TRAIN AND DEVELOPMENT, WHEN YOU ARE TRYING TO GET YOUR BUSINESS TO RUN SMOOTHLY YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT THESE RESOURCES. SO I WILL SAY THROUGH US AND OUR LARGER NETWORK, THE RESOURCES I MENTIONED, WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO HELP COMPANIES DO THINGS LIKE WORK IN TRADE COMPLIANCE, ENSURE TECHNOLOGY THEY HAVE IS COMPLIANT, WORKED WITH COMPANIES TO INTRODUCE THEM INTO INTERNATIONAL MARKETS AND MAKE SURE THEY HAVE THE ACCESS THEY REQUIRE THROUGH THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT. THROUGH OTHER BUREAUCRATIC INSTITUTIONS DEPENDING ON WHAT MARKET THEY WANT TO GO INTO. AND THEN WE HAVE LINKED UP COMPANIES WITH LOCAL RESOURCES AND NETWORKS IN TOWN TO PARTNER WITH OTHER PEOPLE IN TOWN BEFORE THEY GO ABROAD.WE JUST HEARD FROM SAMANTHA THAT TWO OF HER PRIME LOCATIONS FOR EXPANSION ARE MEXICO AND CANADA. MANY OF THE COMPANIES IN METRO CONNECT OUR THINKING ABOUT EXPANDING INTO MEXICO AND CANADA. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP HAS TALKED ABOUT LEAVING THE FREE-TRADE DEAL, RELEASED SOME OF HIS POLICY POSITIONS LAST MONTH, WHAT DO YOU TELL SAN DIEGO COMPANIES CONCERNING THEY DON'T KNOW HOW MET -- NAFTA TRADE POLICY WILL BE IN A YEAR?OUR ANSWER WOULD'VE BEEN DIFFERENT A FEW MONTHS AGO, AFTER SEEING THE INITIAL FEEDBACK FROM THE WHITE HOUSE, WE ARE BREATHING SOMEWHAT OF A SIGH OF RELIEF. IT LOOKS LIKE THE NAFTA TRADE DEAL WILL STILL BE MAINTAINED TO AN EXTENT AND I THINK WE ARE HOPEFUL IT WILL BE MODERNIZED AND IMPROVED OVER TIME. WITH COMPANIES, WE LIKE TO SAY WE DON'T QUITE KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN, WE DON'T WANT TO MAKE CALLS BASED ON WHAT HAS HAPPENED OVER THE PAST SIX MONTHS. THAT BEING SAID, WE SEE A HUGE OPPORTUNITY FOR IP LAWS TO BE STRENGTHENED, SAN DIEGO IS ONE OF THE MOST PATENTED INTENSIVE REGIONS IN THE WORLD, STRENGTHENING IP AND THE RAMIFICATIONS AROUND THAT WILL BE IMPORTANT TO THE REGION.INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, IS THAT IP?CORRECT, VERY IMPORTANT. ANOTHER THING WE ARE LOOKING AT IS RULES OF ORIGIN. IT ARTICULATES WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE PRODUCT NEEDS TO BE MADE IN THE NAFTA ZONE TO QUALIFY FOR DUTY-FREE EXPORT. IT USUALLY RANGES FROM 50-62%, IT SEEMS LIKE A GREAT VALUE ADD BUT I WILL SAY, TO COMPLY WITH THE RULES AND REGULATIONS THAT GO INTO QUALIFYING, HOW TO UNDERSTAND IF YOUR PRODUCT DOES OR DOES NOT QUALIFY, IT CAN BE TIME INTENSIVE AND RESOURCE INTENSIVE AND WE FIND SOME COMPANIES DO NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT. THEY WOULD RATHER MOVE FORWARD AS IS AND LOOK AT DUTY-FREE. IF THERE IS ANY WAY IT CAN BE STREAMLINED WE ARE FOR IT.