In this episode, Sarah Tenisi speaks with Maritza Diaz, founder of ITJuana, which enables companies in California to create technology centers of excellence in Tijuana. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and sits on the Forbes Technology Council.
Listen in as Maritza unpacks her initiative to build the Biomed tech valley in Tijuana and why more discussions need to be had on the cross-border economy. She contends that the area covering San Diego and Tijuana makes for a “something way better Silicon Valley” due to its being a prominent hub for the life sciences.
Maritza also explains how she aims to generate the next wave of engineers and thereby solve the problem of access to talent in software engineering, not to mention pave the way for greater diversity in the industry.
Finally, she discusses how developing this market ultimately results in a huge win-win situation for both the U.S. and Mexico, giving both nations an even greater competitive advantage on the world stage.
Maritza concludes that: “We do have the talent. We just need to leverage it.”
What You’ll Learn in This Episode:
● [01:45] Why Tijuana is the ideal tech center
● [03:56] San Diego and Tijuana as a “way better Silicon Valley”
● [08:22] Telling the Federal Reserve that Silicon Valley shouldn’t be in San Francisco
● [11:07] The difference between perception and reality
● [14:37] Solving the problem of access to talent in software engineering
● [22:19] Developing the “next wave of engineers” via bootcamps
● [30:16] Unintentionally weaving diversity into the software industry
● [32:54] How companies can tap into this market
● [37:20] Breaking perceptions through this initiative
● “Tijuana is only 25 minutes south of Downtown San Diego; hence, it’s located in the same time zone. We can find amazing quality software engineers. It’s sort of a no-brainer: Why wouldn’t more companies go there to enable their digital capabilities?”
● “For every two jobs that Tijuana generates, it represents one job created in San Diego.”
● “Hire the person, not the skill.”
● “My passion—the reason why I do this—is because I do want to generate these jobs of the future for people like me who probably otherwise wouldn’t have that opportunity. And the way to do it is by bringing the companies to establish them here in Mexico.”