Connect All @ the Jacobs Center, a new business accelerator in the Diamond neighborhoods, welcomed 13 startups for its first cohort. The program was formed last year as a partnership between Connect and the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, in an effort to support new businesses in a historically underserved neighborhood.
Startups will have access to nearly 4,300 square feet of co-working space at the Jacobs Center, as well as a free, six-month program that includes mentoring, help with business management and building relationships with investors.
This year’s cohort includes:
- Access Trax: A startup building foldable pathways that can provide access to wheelchair users, pedestrians, strollers and carts across uneven terrain, such as sandy beaches. Owner: Kelly Twichel
- Butterfly Boutique and Day Spa: A salon that offers various prices for its services based on a customer’s needs. Owner: Imani Robinson
- Faveo: A startup that connects businesses to nearby individuals that can help with moving and other labor-intensive jobs. Owner: Xavier Rodriguez
- Hyp3r: a startup that connects companies to freelance developers, graphic designers and digital marketers. Owners: Rafael Platas and Ricardo Chan
- Nomad Donuts Bakery and Café: A gourmet donut shop with globally-inspired recipes located in North Park. Owner: Brad Keller
- The Dojo Café: A café at Fair 44 International Market that plans to use its revenue to support free community programs and events. Owners: Tayari Shorter, Carlos McCray, Peter Ellew, Kristina Lerbuasin and Nancy Vallejo
- Mapigator: A website and mobile app that matches people with all types of disabilities to businesses that can accommodate their specific needs and preferences. Owners: Linda St. Angelo Burritt, Janine Boleda
- Promodrone: A startup that uses drones to deliver banner promotions, photo and video advertising, live streaming and impression data capture. Owner: Jamar Williams
- Shukor Bella: A company that offers hair and skin care products that use Kibbeh butter. Owner: Rosa Adam
- Smart Guider: A startup developing a cane for the blind and visually impaired that uses autonomous navigation technology. Owner: Kelvin Crosby
- Standard Spoon: A company that crafts premium cocktail tools, such as mixing spoons, shakers and muddlers. Owners: Rachel Eva and Shawn Michael
- Surf Durt: A company that manufactures and sells reef-safe sunscreen. Owners: Maxine Chapman and Nicolette Remmel
- Vincii: An online platform to facilitate in-person learning experiences. Owners: Sean Uriate, Viet Mai
Connect All is funded in part through a $2.5 million grant from the City of San Diego, including $1 million in the program’s first year and up to $500,000 in the subsequent three years. As part of the grant, the accelerator is required to create about 100 well-paying jobs for residents in low-to-moderate income areas. All of this year’s participating startups said they were committed to hiring low-to-moderate income residents in San Diego.
“Creating more opportunities for San Diegans to succeed is what this business accelerator is all about,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said in a news release. “The fact that we’re launching this in a historically underserved neighborhood will be a game-changer for the community. It will provide unprecedented access to free resources and support that will help entrepreneurs transform their ideas into thriving businesses.”
The Jacobs Center provided nearly 4,300 square feet of co-working space, which was furnished by bkm OfficeWorks. MUFG Union Bank also contributed to the project with a three-year grant.
Startups that are not participating in this summer’s cohort will still have access to a business resource center at the Jacobs Center.
“No matter where you are in starting or growing your business, Connect All @ the Jacobs Center is there to support you,” Jacobs Center CEO Reginald Jones said in a news release. “We are dedicated to this community, to this city and to all the people who are constantly innovating to make it even better.”