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Bi-national map to promote business opportunities

US: Promoters of economic growth along the California-Mexico border have unveiled a bi-national, online map to bring investments and jobs to the region. Researchers from the Visualisation Centre at San Diego State University (SDSU) developed the asset map for the Cali-Baja Bi-National Mega Region. The asset map shows business opportunities without borders, such as areas in the region with the most powerful wind supply, for potential wind farms.

The map, which is displayed at calibaja.net, shows “we are stronger together than we are just by ourselves,” said Christina Luhn, director of the Mega-Region Initiative for the EDC. “This puts us on the map in a different way.”

Still in its infant stages, the map currently shows data on four industry sectors considered strategic for the region’s future growth: clean tech, applied biotech, advanced manufacturing and logistics. The aim is to include agribusiness in the near future.

With the asset map, “we’re able to communicate in a very precise fashion our capabilities,” said David Mayagoitia, president of the Tijuana Economic Development Corporation, which is participating in the mapping effort. “It establishes what our assets are in a very professional, systemic way.”

“Mexico can never be competitive if it’s unknown where all the businesses are,” said Eric Frost, director of the Visualization Center, who has been advising the project. “This is trying to put them all together and make these connections.”

The mapping effort had cost USD 48,000 so far, Luhn said. Funding had come from both sides of the border, including Tijuana’s municipal government, the Ensenada Economic Development Commission, the Imperial County Workforce Development Board and individual supporters of the Mega-Region initiative in San Diego, she said.

The map’s potential was vast, said Luhn, who hoped it could ultimately include characteristics such as the region’s cultural and educational offerings, information about nonprofit groups and trade flows.

“We want to use it beyond the obvious business piece of that,” she said. “We want universities to figure out a way to collaborate, to bring the region together.”

Source: UT San Diego