CONNECT will expand their 'Nearsourcing Roundtable' program to attract and retain local manufacturing businesses in San Diego. CONNECT's matchmaking sessions currently help San Diego entrepreneurs and designers identify and contract with local manufacturers along the supply chain, and prevent new businesses from looking overseas for production needs. Through this Commitment to Action, CONNECT will increase the number of their matchmaking sessions from, one every three months to four-five per month, producing at least fifty matches per year by 2015. In addition, CONNECT will implement the recommendations of the Innovation Institute's study and begin to convene the workshops by industry cluster (life sciences, defense, clean tech and medical devices) for more effective networking and matching. The expanded nearsourcing campaign will seek to align workforce training needs to the needs of growing firms, improve access to capital, promote innovation along supply chains, and facilitate networking within industry clusters.
The matchmaking sessions will help innovation companies find appropriate matches to the right outsourcing companies. CONNECT will help the company scope their need, develop an RFP, and identify potential partners. CONNECT will then organize a briefing on the RFP and allow San Diego manufacturers to pitch the innovation firm. CONNECT will help the innovation company ask the right questions, and do due diligence.
CONNECT will expand its efforts to educate local businesses about the benefits of nearsourcing by rolling out the 'Look Near First' education campaign. CONNECT also will market San Diego's production capacity to global businesses. Finally, CONNECT will continue to commission research to ensure the efforts maximize impact.
CONNECT's CGI Commitment will provide opportunities for women and veteran-owned businesses which are key government targets for production in the regional defense supply chain. CONNECT's Nearsourcing strategy includes inventoring these businesses with the help of The Connectory and to connecting them to the supply chain in order to assist teams in competing and winning contracts.
CONNECT will implement a number of enhanced near-sourcing programs over the next four years. Specifically, 1) CONNECT's Nearsourcing Steering Committee will develop a regional nearsourcing strategy between June 2012-September 2012. 2) CONNECT will convene cluster-based groups (life sciences, medical device, clean tech, defense, etc.) of local outsourcing companies and educators for feedback and input into the regional strategies in the fall of 2012. 3) CONNECT will run San Diego matchmaking programs to match local entrepreneurs with local suppliers with the goal of making five matches per month by 2015. 4) CONNECT will continue the development of local networks of supply chains and referral partners. 5) CONNECT will fundraise $50,000 to match a further Waitt Foundation grant of $50,000 for further study and more in-depth recommendations.; 6) CONNECT will present findings at national and regional conferences and forums in order to build awareness, support and action around the programs. 7) CONNECT will work through the San Diego Business Alliance of trade organizations to launch a community wide roll-out of the Look Near First campaign. 8) CONNECT will develop a campaign to be launched by 2015 to market San Diego's outsourcing capability to innovation related conventions that take place in San Diego such as SPIE, the ACS National Meeting, the Gold Coast.
CONNECT has a 26-year record of developing clusters, advocating for business-friendly policies, successfully fundraising, and building a community of collaboration among San Diego businesses. CONNECT runs a regional 'Nearsourcing Roundtable' designed to connect San Diego entrepreneurs looking to manufacture new products with San Diego-based suppliers. The 'Nearsourcing Roundtable' prevents businesses from unnecessarily off-shoring production and helps businesses harness the benefits of local production including reduced time to market, increased innovation, and reduced costs. The 'Nearsourcing Roundtable' program includes three components: 1) Regularly scheduled education workshops with entrepreneurs about how outsourcing production can help firms get to market with a much more innovative product, get to market faster and dramatically reduce cost and risk. The workshops also help companies understand the dangers of outsourcing production to another region or country - with IP risks, time zone issues, language and culture differences, and contractual challenges. 2) An interactive database, 'The Connectory' that allows entrepreneurs to access over 5,000 San Diego suppliers. 3) Matchmaking programs that facilitate introductions between an innovation company and local manufacturers and then walk innovation companies through the process of contracting to production. In the last year and a half, CONNECT has hosted 6 educational workshops and 6 matchmaking sessions. Each matchmaking session has resulted in at least one match between a contractor and supplier.
On February 22, 2012 the CONNECT Innovation Institute released a package of studies, 'Why - and Which - Manufacturing Matters: Innovation and Production in the United States' offering recommendations on specific actions that can ensure economic competitiveness, particularly at the regional level. The study's recommendations highlight the importance of implementing cluster-based strategies to promote innovation and efficient production. Cluster strategies suggest that an industry's capacity for production and innovation improves when relevant researchers, entrepreneurs and suppliers work in close proximity and can collaborate freely. The findings validated the benefits of CONNECT's 'Nearsourcing Roundtable' programs, confirming that local production can increase innovation and reduce costs. The benefits of local production are most effective, according to the study, when clusters are specialized by industry.
The Nearsourcing Initiative is seeking sponsors interested in supporting the program.
CONNECT is seeking partners to help implement other recommendations from the Innovation Institute's study, including developing new financing models. Additionally, CONNECT seeks grant funding for media awareness of the San Diego production clusters.
CONNECT can offer access to white papers on the CONNECT Innovation Institute policy recommendations; and attendance at forums on the recommendations and implementation strategies available both in San Diego and on the web. CONNECT also will offer access to The Connectory (licensing fee to the East County EDC required); and best practice information as it is developed.