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Ten Businesses Join Fifth Connect Fall Cohort

Connect All @ the Jacobs Center, a local business accelerator program for low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs, has announced 10 new businesses have joined its fifth cohort for the fall of 2021. Applications are also now being accepted for the next cohort, which begins spring 2022.

The free, four-month structured program focuses on San Diego-based, early-stage startups that are aiming for sustainable growth.


The majority of the 10 businesses in this cohort are female-owned and provide products and services from interior design to hair care to professional development and more. This includes: A Caramel Affaire, Bomba Brown Wellness, Braid Street, elevatEd Classrooms, Interactive Play, Interior 432, Mya’s Catering Company, Shift Micromobility Compliance, SouthEast Fusion 619 and Village Kids Early Childhood Community.

Another Great Group

“Every cycle we have a great group of entrepreneurs that are a testament to grit, determination and innovation,” said Alex Waters, director of economic development at Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation. Founded in 1995, the non-profit helps partner with neighborhoods for community change.

“This is another great group of founders that are building businesses not just for themselves, but with an eye toward how their success will better the community,” he said. “I don’t think it’s an accident that people are looking to build businesses that create wealth beyond themselves and leave a lasting impact.”

Soely Sanchez is the founder of Braid Street, a provider of protective hair styling, and one of the participating small business owners.

“Being a part of cohort five with Connect All @ the Jacobs Center is setting my small business up with a strong foundation for me to ‘rinse and repeat’,” she said. “So many times during the early stages of forming my business, I was confused on which direction to go in or even how to implement certain ideas. The weekly financial advising and content webinars are priceless, and having an accountability group, in similar stages of our businesses, allows for transparent conversations facilitating vulnerable feedback, thus creating impactful change in our community.”

Range of Benefits

Connect All @ the Jacobs Center is a strategic partnership between the City of San Diego, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and Connect w/ San Diego Venture Group. Since launching in 2019, Connect All has jumpstarted 52 local businesses; over 35% of participating companies have increased their revenue and more than 10 new jobs have been created by businesses that have completed the accelerator program, according to the organization.

To Sanchez’ point, entrepreneurs who participate in the program can experience a range of benefits. This includes: one-on-one mentorship with experts from industries relevant to each startup’s needs; connecting with other cohort members through weekly accountability calls; competing in Union Bank Start-Up Pitch Competition for business grants and other prizes; weekly virtual workshops focused on business fundamentals, such as customer discovery and marketing; and support and access to resources after completing the program through Connect All @ the Jacobs Center alumni network.

“The City of San Diego is proud of the work that Connect All @ the Jacobs Center is doing,” said Todd Gloria, mayor of San Diego. “Programs like these are important in providing equitable opportunities to support the growth of all small business owners, especially during and post-pandemic.”

Diversity-Focused Accelerator

To qualify for the program, entrepreneurs must be low-to-moderate income and must be based within the City of San Diego. In San Diego for 2021, low-to-moderate income is considered a single adult, making $67,900 or less in a year or a family of four, with a total household income of $97,000 or less. No equity stake is required.

Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation


PRESIDENT/CEO: Reginald Jones

EMPLOYEES: Close to 40

BUSINESS: Non-profit that helps partner with neighborhoods for community change.

REVENUE: Reported $20M annually

WEBSITE: www.jacobscenter.org

NOTABLE: Majority of businesses in this cohort are female-owned

CONTACT: 619-527-6161


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