California STEP Offering Opportunity for California Small Businesses to Sell Their Products Directly to Chinese Consumers

California STEP, in collaboration with JD.Com, is offering a unique opportunity for small California-based consumer products companies to sell directly to Chinese consumers. JD.Com—which is China’s largest retailer and the 3rd largest internet company in the world by revenue—and the California STEP program are working to identify, screen, and support California small businesses to gain a foothold in the world’s largest e-retail market.

California companies that meet the small business eligibility requirements will have the opportunity to submit their products for PRIORITY consideration by JD.Com through the California STEP registration. The California STEP program will pay for the first product listing (a $1,000 registration fee) for the companies selected. California STEP will also provide ongoing support for selected companies through an e-retail dedicated blog and helpline. Companies selected will become a part of the JD U.S. Select Store incubator program which will include an online store at JD.Com with access to over 236 million active users in China, free marketing resources on JD’s platform, daily maintenance of your online store and transactions, as well as integrated export consignment shipping and customs service.

Product categories which are being recruited for the JD.Com include:

  • Health and beauty (cosmetics, hair care, nail care, skin care), vitamins and other health supplements
  • Healthy food products (non-perishable)
  • Pet products
  • Baby products
  • Other “California Lifestyle” products – this is a broader category that includes products that have an association with California (including but not limited to fashion, household goods, sporting goods, surf, entertainment, environmentally conscious, etc.)

For additional information about this opportunity and to apply, click here.

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Small Businesses Learn About Export Sales Techniques and Port/Airport Services at Last Session of Export University

The San Diego CITD, in collaboration with the Port of Los AngelesPort of San DiegoU.S. Small Business Administration San Diego District OfficeU.S. Commercial ServiceSan Diego & Imperial District Export Council, and the World Trade Center San Diego, hosted the 6th  and final workshop in a series of workshops called, Export University, geared toward helping small and medium-sized companies optimize their export potential and grow globally. This session of the series, titled “Export Sales Techniques/Port & Airport Services” was held on August 16th at the Mission Valley Campus of Point Loma Nazarene University and provided participants with information on how to work with foreign distributors and the various services available to exporters through regional sea and air ports.

After brief welcome remarks by San Diego CITD Director, Victor Castillo, and Cynthia Harris, Economic Development Specialist with the San Diego District Office of the SBA, the workshop began with a presentation by Jim MacLellan, Director of Trade Development for the Port of Los Angeles, who provided a detailed overview of an export sales agreement and considerations when determining export pricing. Mr. MacLellan also talked about the market trends he sees as Director of Trade Development for the Port of Los Angeles, including top markets for goods passing through the L.A. Customs District. Miguel Reyes, Manager of Maritime Trade Development for the Port of San Diego, followed up with an overview of the Port’s maritime operations, including a planned modernization of a portion of the Port’s facilities to expand its capabilities. When products need to get to foreign customers faster than ocean freight, exporters can choose to transport their cargo via air freight. To that end, Eric Podnieks, Program Manager with the San Diego Regional Airport Authority, talked about how the Airport works with air carriers, such as UPS and FEDEX, to facilitate air export services.

During each of the sessions of the Export University series, participants were provided with an export business plan template and offered assistance with developing their plan as well as an opportunity to present it during the last session.  KG Golly of Bokosso Export, who participated in most of the Export University sessions, volunteered to present his export business plan—which entails exporting vehicles and vehicle parts to Africa—to his fellow workshop participants and the invited speakers, who provided constructive feedback.

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World Trade Center San Diego Presents 2017 MetroConnect Cohort

The World Trade Center (WTC) San Diego introduced the 15 local companies that were selected to participate in the MetroConnect Program for 2017 at an event held at the University Club in Downtown San Diego. The MetroConnect Program, sponsored by JPMorgan Chase, is a support program developed to help local companies accelerate their international growth. The event also featured an expo of global service providers, including the San Diego CITD, which had the opportunity to promote its programs and services designed to help small businesses grow globally.

(Photo Courtesy of World Trade Center San Diego)

World Trade Center San Diego Executive Director, Nikia Clarke, kicked off the event, after which San Diego Mayor, Kevin Faulconer, spoke about San Diego’s innovative businesses and the importance of connecting them to global markets. San Diego CITD client and MetroConnect 2016 Grand Prize winner, Jeff Silver, owner of Rough Draft Brewing then spoke about how the program has helped his company reach new markets before the 2017 cohort was announced.  The companies in this year’s cohort include: Coronado Brewing Company, CP Global Manufacturing, CureMatch, Del Mal Oceanographic, Dermala, Envision Solar International, FoxFury, Guru, Julian Hard Cider, Optimized Fuel Technologies, Performa Learning, Planck AeroSystems, Tioga Research, Tunnel Vision, and Urban Translations.

Each of the companies participating in the MetroConnect Program will receive $10,000 in funding to help with their exporting efforts. These funds can be used for a variety for global services including travel (to and from target markets), participation in trade shows, establishment of a foreign subsidiary, foreign language translation of marketing materials and more. Additionally, participating companies will be able to compete for an additional $35,000 in funding during the MetroConnect Program Grand Prize Pitchfest, which will be held in May 2018.

CITD Participates in SBA Day & Lender Fair

The San Diego CITD participated in the SBA San Diego District Office‘s SBA Day & Lender Fair on July 26th. The event, hosted in collaboration with the Vista Chamber of Commerce was held at the Vista Civic Center and featured presentations on topics including: What You Need to Know About the IRS for Your Small Business, Legal Aspects of Being in Business, Overview of the I-9 Form and Filing Procedures, All About Small Business Insurance, How Resource Partners May Help You Succeed in Your Business, and How Local Lenders May Help You Finance Your Business. San Diego CITD Director, Victor Castillo, presented an overview of CITD programs and services. In addition to the presentations by resource partners, the event featured Special Guest Speaker, Eric Reece Jones, SBA Deputy Chief of Staff who stressed the importance of the contributions small businesses make to the growth of our economy and pledged continued support from Washington, D.C. for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

After the presentations, participants had the opportunity to network with other small business owners, engage with lenders at the Lender Fair, and take advantage of one-on-one counseling with resource partners and technical assistance providers.

Export University Workshop Participants Learn How to Finance Their Export Transactions

The San Diego CITD, in collaboration with the Port of Los AngelesPort of San DiegoU.S. Small Business Administration San Diego District OfficeU.S. Commercial ServiceSan Diego & Imperial District Export Council, and the World Trade Center San Diego, hosted the 5th in a series of workshops called, Export University, geared toward helping small and medium-sized companies optimize their export potential and grow globally. This session of the series, titled “Export Trade Finance & Insurance” was held on July 19th at the Mission Valley Campus of Point Loma Nazarene University and provided participants with information on how to finance export transactions.

After brief welcome remarks by San Diego CITD Director, Victor Castillo, and Maria Hughes, Lead Lender Relations Specialist with the San Diego District Office of the SBA, the workshop began with a presentation by Martin Selander, International Trade Specialist with the SBA, who provided an overview of the trade-focused financing programs backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, including the SBA’s Export Express, Export Working Capital, and International Trade Loan programs. The SBA does not provide direct loans under these programs, instead, they provide loan guarantees for qualified borrowers which can make it easier to qualify for financing through banks and other lenders. Sandra Donzella, Deputy Managing Director for the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (EXIM) – Western Region, followed up with an overview of export credit solutions available through EXIM Bank. Similar to the SBA, EXIM provides loan guarantees and also export credit insurance, which can help protect U.S. exporters from non-payment by their foreign customers. The workshop program concluded with a presentation by Debbie Gelbach, First Vice President with Banner Bank, who explained the various international payment options, potential risks associated with these options, and how exporters can determine the best payment option for their export transactions.

There is only one workshop left in the Export University series, which will cover:

During the last session in the series, participants will have the opportunity to discuss their export plan with a panel of trade professionals. Additionally, those who attend at least three of the sessions will be given a certificate of participation. For additional information on the Export University workshop series, go to www.sandiegocitd.org/exportu.

CITD Receives Visit from Delegation of Government Officials and Professionals from China

The San Diego CITD hosted a meeting with a delegation of senior officials and professionals from the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China interested in learning about best practices in the area of international trade. The meeting was arranged by Paul Wang of Triway International Group, which specializes in customized executive education and professional development for Chinese delegations in the United States. During the meeting, San Diego CITD staff presented on the role of our host institution, Southwestern College, as well as trade statistics for our region, CITD programs and services, and how the U.S. nurtures entrepreneurship through policy, technical assistance, and educational programs. Members of the delegation included District Mayors and Vice Mayors, senior officials from the Guangxi region’s departments of commerce, finance, transportation, as well as businesspeople from the region’s ports and investment groups.

SME Exporters Learn How to Get Their Products to Global Customers Efficiently

The San Diego CITD, in collaboration with the Port of Los AngelesPort of San DiegoU.S. Small Business Administration San Diego District OfficeU.S. Commercial ServiceSan Diego & Imperial District Export Council, and the World Trade Center San Diego, hosted the 4th in a series of workshops called, Export University, geared toward helping small and medium-sized companies optimize their export potential and grow globally. This session of the series, titled “Logistics and Shipping Documents” was held on June 21st at the Mission Valley Campus of Point Loma Nazarene University and provided participants with information on how to get their products to global customers in a cost-effective and efficient way.

After brief welcome remarks by San Diego CITD Director, Victor Castillo, and Cynthia Harris, Economic Development Specialist with the San Diego District Office of the SBA, the workshop began with a presentation by Brenda Rensfield, Director of International with WorldTrans Services, Inc., who provided an overview of the role of freight forwarders, negotiating freight rates, and typical export documentation needed when shipping internationally. Allen Vigil, Director of Business Development for Grupo Logistics, followed up with an overview of export packaging and labeling requirements, as well as other considerations including potential hazards and selecting the right type of carrier based on the products being shipped. The workshop program concluded with a presentation by Yvonne Delacruz, Trade Supervisor & ACE Ambassador with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) San Diego Field Office, who talked about how the CBP’s operations personnel and systems help to facilitate trade.

Remaining workshops in the series will cover topics including:

During the last session in the series, participants will have the opportunity to discuss their export plan with a panel of trade professionals. Additionally, those who attend at least three of the sessions will be given a certificate of participation. For additional information on the Export University workshop series, go to www.sandiegocitd.org/exportu.

Small Businesses Presented with a Wealth of Information on Export Compliance by Top Notch Panel

The San Diego CITD, in collaboration with the Port of Los AngelesPort of San DiegoU.S. Small Business Administration San Diego District OfficeU.S. Commercial ServiceSan Diego & Imperial District Export Council, and the World Trade Center San Diego, hosted the 3rd workshop in a series of workshops called, Export University, geared toward helping companies optimize their export potential and grow globally. This session of the series was held on May 17th at the Mission Valley Campus of Point Loma Nazarene University and provided an overview of the legal, contractual, and regulatory aspects of trade.

After brief welcome remarks by San Diego CITD Director, Victor Castillo, and Norman Arikawa, Assistant Director of Trade Development with the Port of Los Angeles, the workshop began with a presentation by Susan Kohn Ross, a partner at law firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, who provided an in-depth look at various legal and compliance issues that can come up when exporting and how businesses can protect themselves. Margrette Francisco, Global Trade Compliance Counsel with The Marvin Group, a specialized manufacturer serving the aerospace and defense markets, followed up with an overview of export controls, the various government agencies that regulate exports, classification of products, and licensing requirements. Another important area that exporters should be aware of are the global tax implications of doing business between the U.S. and a foreign country. Jo-Renee Hunter, attorney and CPA with Hunter Gauldon & Wilson, presented on the tax considerations when exporting and how to reduce the possibility that foreign earned income is double taxed. The workshop program concluded with a review of a sample international distribution agreement and how to avoid common errors when using this type of agreement with overseas distributors by David P. Goodwin of Troutman Sanders LLP. Cynthia Harris, Economic Development Specialist with the San Diego District Office of the SBA, provided closing remarks and an overview of SBA resources and services before the workshop was adjourned.

Remaining workshops in the series will cover topics including:

During the last session in the series, participants will have the opportunity to discuss their export plan with a panel of trade professionals. Additionally, those who attend at least three of the sessions will be given a certificate of participation. For additional information on the Export University workshop series, go to www.sandiegocitd.org/exportu.

SBA San Diego District Office Announces 2017 Small Business Award Winners

As part of National Small Business Week, the San Diego District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will be recognizing 16 award winning small businesses and small business champions at its annual Awards Luncheon. The event, which will be held on May 4th from 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM at the San Diego Marriott, will recognize these award winners for their contributions to the American economy. Candidates for awards in a variety of categories are nominated by trade associations, chambers of commerce, lenders, and business assistance organizations. This year, the San Diego CITD nominated two clients for awards. San Diego CITD client, Neyenesch Printers, won for the category of Family-Owned Small Business of the Year for the San Diego District,  and CITD client, Rough Draft Brewing, won for the category of Small Business Exporter of the Year for Region IX, which includes Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, and Nevada.

For additional information on the Awards Luncheon and a full list of award winners in the SBA’s San Diego District, click here.

San Diego CITD Participates in MEXPORT 2017 Trade Show

MEXPORT is the Southern California/Baja California region’s premier industrial trade show promoting sourcing opportunities with major manufacturing facilities in Baja California. Organized by the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce for the last 28 years, MEXPORT typically draws more than 180 exhibitors spanning everything from industrial equipment companies to freight forwarders and customs brokers from both sides of the border.

The trade show was kicked off with an inauguration ceremony and opening remarks from Alejandra Mier y Teran, Executive Director of the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce and additional special guests including Mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer, and SBA San Diego District Deputy Director, Jill Andrews, among others.

In addition to exhibiting at MEXPORT 2017 with partners including the San Diego District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce San Diego Export Assistance Center, and Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation, the San Diego CITD helped to coordinate B2B meetings between suppliers and buyers from two large companies in the region.