PitchFest winners.
El Cajon-based Eddy Pump is the winner of the 2019 MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest. Photo via WTC San Diego.

World Trade Center San Diego announced Thursday that the pump and dredging equipment manufacturer Eddy Pump Corporation won its 2019 MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest, including a $35,000 grand prize.

WTC San Diego held the competition Wednesday as the culminating event in its MetroConnect year-four cohort. MetroConnect is WTC San Diego’s flagship export support program intended to help local businesses and companies expand to foreign markets.

WTC San Diego selected 20 companies last year for the year-four cohort, awarding them each $10,000 grants and resources over the course of a year to help them improve their export sales. Four of them — Bitchin’ Sauce, Eddy Pump, LRAD Corporation and Scientist.com — were chosen as finalists for PitchFest.

The companies combined to generate an increase of $69.6 million in export sales, according to WTC San Diego. Eddy Pump CEO and Managing Partner Ben Weinrib called the program a “game-changer” and said it enabled the company to boost its exports by $5 million year-over-year.

“In the years that follow, we are looking to close a multi-million- dollar per year contract with some of the largest companies in Canada, as well as selling our technology to friendly foreign militaries,” he said.

The competition winner was chosen via an equally weighted vote between a live audience of business professionals and community leaders and a panel of representatives from Qualcomm Ventures, the city of San Diego’s Economic Development Department and the digital health company CureMatch, the last MetroConnect PitchFest winner.

“The results from this year’s cohort are impressive,” WTC San Diego Executive Director Nikia Clarke said. “From opening new offices in the Japan to inking multi-million dollar deals throughout Latin America, the participating MetroConnect companies are collectively strengthening the San Diego region’s economy.”

Local small- and medium-sized businesses can apply to be selected for the program’s fifth cohort at sdredc.typeform.com/to/hw3CHj. Successful applicants will be businesses seeking to expand into international markets or those that are already exporting goods or services, according to WTC San Diego.

— City News Service