SAN DIEGO – Forward Slope, Inc. is honored to announce it has been selected to take part in MetroConnect, the flagship international sales accelerator program run by the World Trade Center San Diego (WTC) that helps San Diego companies jumpstart and scale their global growth. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and WTC San Diego made the announcement Friday, June 19th.
“FSI is excited to have been selected for the 2020 MetroConnect Program and to be able to utilize the resources provided by the World Trade Center San Diego to help us achieve our international sales goals,” said FSI President and CEO Carlos A. Persichetti.
Now in its fifth year, MetroConnect continues to cultivate a pipeline of export-ready firms in San Diego by equipping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the necessary resources to grow their international sales. Program participants receive a $5,000 grant, a one-year subscription to premium translation software (courtesy of program sponsor SYSTRAN), discounts on international travel, executive workshops on export-related topics, and access to a global mentor and service provider network. In the program’s four-year history, the 65 graduate companies collectively generated a net increase of $85 million in international sales. These companies also hired 269 San Diego employees during their tenure in the program.
“We applaud FSI for taking the next step in going global,” said Nikia Clarke, executive director of World Trade Center San Diego. “Amidst a global shutdown caused by COVID-19, ongoing trade negotiations with key trading partners, and rapid changes to global supply chains, it is more important now than ever to give local SMEs an edge in the global marketplace by equipping them with valuable resources."
The MetroConnect program is highly competitive, with just 15 San Diego companies selected based on a variety of criteria, including interest in new markets, interest in targeted metro markets, assessed impact of funds, current international traction and more. Applicants were assessed by a panel of judges, including representatives from Qualcomm Ventures, Connect, Biocom, the U.S. Commercial Service, CMTC, Viasat, Mitsubishi Electric, Procopio, San Diego State University, Tech San Diego, UC San Diego, San Diego Regional EDC, WTC San Diego and last year's grand prize champion Eddy Pump Corporation.
FSI joins a cohort of 14 other companies representing a unique cross-section of San Diego’s industries, from genomics to manufacturing to craft brewing – each with plans to take San Diego innovation global.
The companies in this cohort will also have the opportunity to participate in the program’s final competition, the MetroConnect Grand Prize PitchFest, which will grant an additional $25,000 to help one company further advance its international efforts.
MetroConnect is co-underwritten by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Procopio, with additional support provided by American Airlines, British Airways, City of San Diego, Japan Airlines, Japan External Trade Organization, Mitsubishi Electric, Qualcomm, RSM, San Diego and Imperial SBDC Network, SYSTRAN, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Taylor Guitars, United Kingdom Government Office, YCP Solidance and more.
You can watch the announcement video with Mayor Kevin Faulconer here.