Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and CONNECT Group Celebrate Partnership & New Directions

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SAN DIEGO (Sept. 1, 2022) – Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation (Jacobs Center) and Connect celebrate their partnership, legacy, and new strategic directions.


Jacobs Center and CONNECT proudly acknowledge and celebrate their legacy program, CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center (CAJC), the region’s first low-to-moderate income and diversity-focused business accelerator funded in part with Community Development Block (CDBG) Program funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to the City of San Diego through 2022. The joint venture has served over 974 businesses, attracted over $1.8 million dollars in investments (debt & equity), and retained/created over 400 businesses – with growth year after year.


Since its inception in 2019, the business accelerator and no-cost resource center have provided mentors, free co-working space, and guidance to founders on how to scale their businesses. The Business Resource Center (BRC) links entrepreneurs to local services to move their businesses forward and serves as a gateway to the accelerator program. To date over 60 local startups from various industries, including technology, education, professional services, food, retail, health and beauty, have completed the four-month program culminating in a Startup Pitch Competition sponsored by Union Bank.


The two organizations have made an enduring impact on the region by uplifting San Diego-based startup businesses and tackling some of the historic inequities and barriers facing underrepresented communities.


Going forward, the Jacobs Center’s Business Accelerator program (fka CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center) will continue to align with its business resource center located in the Joe & Vi Jacobs Community Center, a three-story, 78,000-sq. ft. business and nonprofit hub in Southeastern San Diego.  Featuring resources both on-site and online – including the attention of a philanthropic venture community, public services, events, and workshops per year – most important free resources every entrepreneur needs to launch and grow their business.


“At the Jacobs Center, we remain fiercely dedicated to economic development in Southeastern

San Diego – building initiatives and networks that support early-stage entrepreneurs and existing neighborhood businesses,” says Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation Director of Economic Development Alex Waters. “We want those who live here to work here. We’re prioritizing economic efforts to retain local businesses and support an inclusive, sustainable community.”


Given the funded grant runs through 2022, new directions and strategic initiatives spark new paths for both organizations to continue to grow and serve the San Diego community as their missions and values dictate.


Connect is an innovation instigator established to cultivate San Diego’s life science and tech communities. San Diego has a genuine opportunity to build a more robust, diverse, and inclusive innovation region for generations to come. For Connect, a re-imagined Connect All will house a broader strategic inclusion approach throughout all of the organizations work. “We know that if we want our community to be more reflective of our region’s rich diversity — we need to be intentional about it,” said Connect CEO, Mike Krenn.

Connect has a 35+ year track record of helping entrepreneurs scale. Recently, Connect has helped more than 50 companies in the past five years raise more than $650M in just Series A funding – the most difficult round of money to raise and critical for growth stage. Through Connect’s community partnerships with iHub and other key partners we will continue to connect the dots for underserved entrepreneurs around: Capital, Talent, and Ecosystem Navigation.


Connect is set to launch their inaugural XEO program in mid-September. A program focused on supporting diverse mid-level employees in tech and life sciences to develop a cross-disciplinary, design-based approach to their work and professional network in order to move into positions of upper-level management and leadership within their organizations.


This program will create generational change by improving professional upward mobility and by providing participants with a lifelong network that supports their growth as XEO alumni. The graduates of this program will forever have a peer network and a group of advisors around them to help navigate future life and career changes and choices. In time, we know alumni will be CEOs, CFOs, CMOs, and CTOs. To learn more about XEO, visit: https://connect.org/xeo/.




About Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovations’ Business Accelerator Program

Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation (Jacobs Center) is the region’s first low to moderate-income and diversity-focused business accelerator program, guiding startups that want to grow rapidly with all the support they need to be successful. A partnership between the City of San Diego, Connect, and the Jacobs Center, the program provides participants with mentors, weekly workshops, and guidance on how to scale their businesses. Jacobs Center also offers a free Business Resource Center where entrepreneurs can connect and learn about local services and support programs to help move their ideas and businesses forward.


The Business Accelerator (fka CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center) is a strategic partnership between the City of San Diego, Connect and the Jacobs Center through 2022. The program is funded in whole or in part with Community Development Block Grant program funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to the City of San Diego; as well as donations from individual, corporate, government, and foundation partners.


To learn more or get involved, visit jacobscenter.org. Follow Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


About Connect

A trusted partner for more than 35 years, we propel our region’s entrepreneurs as they create and scale their companies – from first-time founders to seasoned executives. We operate across diverse industry verticals with a mindset driven by inclusive sociaI good – making a positive impact across the entirety of the mega­region. In elevating entrepreneurial mastery ­such as providing access to capital, mentoring and partnering opportunities – we bring together our region’s culture and spirit to ignite our region’s world-class innovation economy.


To learn more or get involved, visit https://www.connect.org/
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