San Diego Business Journal

San Diego business accelerator CONNECT is launching a diversity-focused startup incubator and accelerator program called CONNECT ALL.

San Diego Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos said he will house the new incubator in the downtown convention center and football stadium. That is, of course, if the project (Measure C) is approved by voters on the Nov. 8 ballot.

"I’m excited about the collaboration between the San Diego Chargers and the CONNECT ALL incubator for diversity-based CEOs and startup businesses,” Spanos said. “This perfectly embodies the spirit of why we selected downtown as our preferred site for a multi-use facility that is so much more than a stadium. And, we'll have tourists to thank for this opportunity to expand the innovation opportunities downtown."

The new CONNECT ALL initiative is to increase diversity among entrepreneurs, executives, and board directors, bridging the gap between underrepresented groups in tech and life science startups. To achieve that, CONNECT will conduct outreach and education to underrepresented groups, do recruitment of diverse entrepreneurs, and offer programming and mentorships as the startups grow.

“Our city is known for tourism, active lifestyles and its innovation economy,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer at a press conference announcing the collaboration. “So there’s nothing more San Diego than bringing together entertainment, sports and innovation at one location.”

The incubator is currently housed in CONNECT’s DeskHub office in Little Italy, where the project launched earlier this year and will remain if Measure C does not pass.

“CONNECT ALL…will continue to execute on its mission regardless of the outcome of Measure C,” said H. Puentes, director of CONNECT ALL, in an email.

The first CONNECT ALL startups include Spacetime, TechMeetsTrader, Steeltrader, and Say it, Save it.