Mayor Kevin Faulconer inspects one of the MetroConnect company products. Courtesy of the mayor’s office

World Trade Center San Diego and Mayor Kevin Faulconer Wednesday announced the 20 new members of the 2018 MetroConnect program, which assists local small and medium-sized businesses pursuing opportunities in foreign markets.

The program, which is in its fourth year, is made possible by a grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co. Companies selected for the WTC program receive a $10,000 grant for their expansion efforts.

The winners included soap making company Dr. Bronner’s, slim wallet company Allett and San Diego-based engineering firm Telaeris Inc.

“Expanding San Diego’s global reach is vital to creating more local jobs for San Diegans and boosting our regional economy,” Faulconer said. “The MetroConnect program and their growing companies are introducing innovative products and services to new international markets and sharing San Diego’s story with the rest of the world.”

WTC San Diego has awarded grants to 45 companies over the first three years of the MetroConnect program. Those companies — including Coronado Brewing Company, Planck Aerosystems and Portfolium — have generated about $15 million in export sales and added a total of 161 new jobs in San Diego County, according to the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.

“We know that companies that export pay higher wages, are less likely to go out of business and become more competitive and resilient,” said WTC San Diego Executive Director Nikia Clarke. “Thanks to JPMorgan Chase, the MetroConnect program helps San Diego companies export their innovation around the world, which creates jobs and opportunities back here at home.”

In addition to Faulconer and Clarke, JPMorgan Chase Middle Market Banking Executive Director Tim West, Mark Ballam of San Diego State University’s Center for International Business Education & Research and Bob Manning from 2017 MetroConnect member CureMatch were on hand as representatives of the 20 chosen companies received their award checks and displayed their products.

— City News Service

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