Innovation Beyond Borders – Regina Bernal at TEDxSanDiego 2016

There has been a lot of recent attention on borders and building walls.

But the border area separating San Diego and Baja California, also known as the CaliBaja Mega-Region, deserves attention for a very different reason.

According to Regina Bernal, the number of people now crossing the border on a weekly basis between San Diego and Tijuana is more than double the population of the city of Miami. The combined GDP of the Mega-Region amounts to more than $200 billion, which would place the area in the top 50 economies in the world.

Looking beyond border lines on a map, the connection extends far beyond geography and economics. Bernal sites longtime San Diego company Taylor Guitars’ decision – 20 year ago – to design a new product production facility in Tecate as a game changer. This move required cross-border collaboration and employees on both sides work together as one company – they even play softball on Fridays.

As Bernal explains, “Entrepreneurs such as Taylor Guitars start their lives as pioneers.” And in similar fashion, the University of San Diego decided to launch the first bi-national student pitch competition, Venture Vetting (V2), in 2013.

In three years, Bernal, who is the Entrepreneurship Manager at the University of San Diego, said that the number of companies from Baja California who participated in the V2 competition increased 10 fold.

“It is our vision that one day we will not have a separate bi-national track,” said Bernal. “Instead we will have entrepreneurs from San Diego and Baja California working together to build and scale successful companies … we continue to demonstrate that by coming together we become globally relevant.”

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