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The Jacobs Center’s Business Accelerator Program

Building networks that support early-stage entrepreneurs and accelerate existing neighborhood businesses through training and mentorships, connections to regional partnerships, job opportunities and increased access to financial resources.


The Jacobs Center’s Business Accelerator program (formerly CONNECT ALL @ the 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 w/ San Diego Venture Group, and the Jacobs Center, the Business Accelerator was founded to provide participants with mentors, free co-working space, and guidance on how to scale their businesses.

In addition to the business accelerator, we provide a free Business Resource Center, so that all entrepreneurs and small businesses can learn about local services and support to move their ideas and businesses forward. 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 the individual, corporate, foundation, and government communities.

At the Jacobs Center, we remain fiercely dedicated to economic development in and around Southeastern San Diego – building initiatives and networks that support early-stage entrepreneurs and existing neighborhood businesses. We want those who live here to work here. We’re prioritizing economic efforts to retain local businesses and support an inclusive, sustainable community.


Each Cohort in San Diego’s only business accelerator program focused on low-to-moderate income and diverse founders, begins their journey with a ribbon cutting welcome and wrapped up with Entrepreneur Pitch Day, presented by Union Bank, which awarded five business grants to the pitch competition’s winners. To learn more about these thriving San Diego businesses, visit the websites below.

Learn more about each participant by clicking on their images below.

8-summer-20237 - Fall 20226 - Spring 20225- Fall 20214 - Spring 20213 - Spring 20202 - Fall 20191- Spring 2019

Nechel Best

Rosa Maria Hernandez

Marisela Abasta

Melina Aguirre

Brenda Figueroa

Filipe Britto

Nicolas Del Guidice-Piña

Denice Whittaker

Daniel Ehrlich

Quincy Brown & Mansa Musa IV

Ebonique “Pynk” Briggs

Marissa Mitchell

Carmella Bailey


Rafael Platas

Industry Type:Technology

The Dojo Cafe

Carlos McCray, Tayari Shorter, Nancy Vallejo and Kristina Ler

The Dojo Cafe is a social enterprise: a for-profit business with a social mission. Its goal is to create a sustainable model and use its revenue streams to provide free community programs and events. These events take place at a coffee shop in the heart of City Heights.

Industry Type:Food & Beverage/ Social Impact


Maxine Chapman and Nicollette Remmel

Industry Type:Retail

Standard Spoon

Rachel Eva and Shawn Michael

Standard Spoon crafts premium cocktail tools with innovation, integrity and aesthetics at their core.

Industry Type:Retail

Smart Guider

Kelvin Crosby

Smart Guider™ builds low-technology to high-technology tools that make traveling the physical world easier for blind and deafblind individuals. Beginning with the low-technology navigation solution of a lighted blind cane to a full-robotic technology navigation solution that autonomously guides a blind person, Smart Guider™ is building the steppingstones to a more accessible world for all people.

Industry Type:Retail

Shukor Bella

Roza Adams

Shukor Bella’s goal is to assist customers on their journey to a healthier lifestyle of grooming. Shukor Bella offers handcrafted hair, skin & body products, with nature in mind.

Industry Type:Retail


Jamar Williams

PromoDrone is one of the world’s first drone-advertising platforms designed specifically for event marketing to attract and engage.

Industry Type:Technology


Linda St. Julian and Janine Boleda

Mapigator is a website that matches people with all types of disabilities to the businesses that can accommodate their specific needs and lifestyle preferences.

Industry Type:Technology

Nomad Donuts

Brad Keiller

Nomad Donuts Bakery & Cafe offers an ever evolving menu of donuts, bagels, pastries and coffee. He offers internationally inspired, from scratch bakery goods with a focus on quality and our community.

Industry Type:Food & Beverage


Xavier Rodriguez

Faveo provides a platform that allows individuals and businesses to manage unpredictability by augmenting their existing labor force with hourly to daily “Helpmates” who can come in within a few hours and do labor-intensive work.

Industry Type:Service

Butterfly Boutique & Day Spa

Imani Robinson

The salon offers various price points for quality beauty products and services based on customer’s needs. The salon also hosts a boutique for exclusive products and one-of-a-kind accessories.

Kelly Twichel

Access Trax is an innovative startup proud to introduce the only foldable portable pathway that empowers pedestrians with all abilities. Beach Trax provides access to wheelchair users, pedestrians, carts and strollers. It is the only portable, lightweight, foldable pathway for accessibility over uneven terrain.

Industry Type:Service

Dana’s Divine Dishes

Geannie Hyacinthe

Tropical Vegan Cafe provide a vegan gourmet street food with a Caribbean flair. We provide convenient and fast meal delivery services, catering services for all budgets, and local event pop up services!

Industry Type:Food & Beverage

Prenursing Smarter

Kate Raiford

Prenursing Smarter provides online test prep for ATI TEAS®, a test required for students applying to nursing school.

Industry Type:Technology

Parabola Coffee

Victor Morales

Parabola Coffee Roasting Co. specializes in roasting Central American coffees and delivers to local San Diego neighborhoods via eco-friendly scooter.

Industry Type:Food & Beverage

Losa’s & Terry's Trucking

James Lutau

Industry Type:Transportation

Good Time Cocktail Co.

Alexis Piotrowski

Good Time Cocktail Co. creates and ships cocktail kits with garnishes and recipes to make the perfect cocktail.

Industry Type:Retail

Gifting Made

Evona Niewiadomska

Gifting Made specializes in premium client gifts and gifting strategies to take your most important relationships to the next level. Founder Evona Niewiadomska is passionate about giving away the secret to impactful gifting and creating gifts that clients will keep, use and enjoy for at the least the next decade!

Industry Type:Service


Andrea St. Julian

EnoDoc is a platform that allows lawyers to create citation-based documents such as legal briefs, motions and memoranda.

Industry Type:Technology


Jacques Stroud

Docfully facilitates primary care to underserved populations through the use of a digital tele-health platform and pop-up clinics.

Industry Type:Technology

Cook Casa

Anayo Nworjih

Cook Casa is a marketplace that pairs on-demand cooks with customers that want homemade meals prepared in their homes.

Industry Type:Technology

Blue Surf I.T.

Gitta Pazar

Blue Surf I.T. is a full service information technology consulting firm that specializing in expert on-site and remote support for small to medium sized businesses, non-profits and home users.

Industry Type:Service

Alpha Fiber

Arash Adami and Joseph Villapando

Alpha Fiber is the only real-time solution for detecting potential concussions in athletes – in the gym, field, or arena – utilizing computer vision and AI without requiring any sensors or special equipment on the athlete.

Industry Type:Technology

A-K Commercial & Construction Cleaning

Rashidah Abdul-Khaliq

A-K Commercial and Construction Cleaning provides professional and detailed final construction cleaning and janitorial services.

Industry Type:Service


Worthy Picks

Anahi Abe-Brower

Worthy Picks offers a collection of eco-friendly products to inspire a sustainable lifestyle and have a positive impact on the environment.

Industry Type:Eco-friendly Retail


Steven Moyo

Welfie is a community health platform that allows community leaders to care and connect with their members in a simple, fun and affordable way.

Industry Type:Health Technology

The STEAM Collaborative

Jasmine Sadler

he STEAM Collaborative, which focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM), works with youth program leaders to innovate STEAM education solutions, targeting girls and African American youth.

Industry Type:Education

San Diego International Birthing Project

Shelley Winn

San Diego International Birthing Project is a community-based organization that provides support and advocacy for obtaining prenatal care. The organization serves mothers, babies, fathers and their families.

Industry Type:Prenatal Care

Andrea “Dree” Berry

San Diego Black Professionals serves the community as a welcome wagon to Black people who recently relocated to San Diego. The social network connects Black professional culture to the San Diego lifestyle.

Industry Type:Social Network

Nakamura Partners

Padraig MacGabann

Nakamura builds solutions that save lives – from supporting processes that triage emergency requests and allocate limited resources in the most efficient way possible, to ensuring that life-saving medical supplies are there when needed.

Industry Type:Technology

Moon Garden Meditation

Angelica Orduno and Nancy Mendiola

Moon Garden is a meditation studio created for people who are looking to connect with their higher selves and reach overall wellness.

Industry Type:Wellness

Meri Consulting Services

Meri Birhane and Gebriela Birhane

As a 100% Black owned and woman led business, Meri Consulting Services provides proven sales, social media marketing and lead generation strategy to businesses. Moreover, Meri Consulting Services hosts speaking events through its community service arm, MCS Empowerment Coalition of Leaders of Color, as well as startup consulting services specifically geared towards founders who have been historically underfunded.

Industry Type:Professional Service

Meals in Motion

Jamell Sanders

Meals in Motion is a meal prep delivery service company. It provides restaurant style meals to the greater San Diego area.

Industry Type: Food & Beverage

Los Brothers

Marco Vera and Manuel Mendoza

Los Brothers provides an authentic Mexican experience through made-to-order food with a splash of Mexican wine from el Valle de Guadalupe.

Industry Type:Food & Beverage

Blue Robin Kitchen

Elizabeth Brost

Blue Robin Kitchen builds kitchen confidence by providing easier ways to nourish yourself. The company creates shelf-stable pie kits that allow customers to bake single-serving pies in their own kitchen by only adding one ingredient and requiring no special utensils or culinary skills.

Industry Type:Food & Beverage

Best Vibes Family Tribes

Stephanie Kessl

Best Vibes Family Tribes provides expert-led programming to help parents, peers  and communities learn, engage and grow.

Industry Type:Childcare/Education

Best Way Construction Services

Brian Ware

Best Way Construction Services is a construction management, project management and consulting firm for commercial and residential clients.  Projects range from building tenant and capital improvements, as well as public works projects. The company offers well-rounded construction knowledge  with an emphasis in electrical construction.

Industry Type:Construction

ALINE Design + Drafting

Paola Cruz

ALine Design + Drafting offers architectural design and interior design services for single family homes and small multi-family housing (including affordable housing) in San Diego County.

Industry Type:Architecture and Design

Zero to Necessary

Jayton Harps and Adonni Harps-Jones

Zero to Necessary creates and delivers homeschool do-it-yourself STEM projects for youth and teenagers.

Industry Type:Education

Tabby Manor

Natasha Nichols

Tabby Manor offers professional cat sitting services, specializing in care for senior cats and cats with medical and special needs.

Industry Type:Pet Care Services


Stuart Matthieu Wealth Management & Insurance Agency

Carol Stewart

Stuart Matthieu Wealth Management & Insurance Agency sells health, property and business insurance to individuals and small businesses.

Industry Type:Financial Management

Sonia’s Healthy Corner

Sonia Cervantes

Sonia’s Healthy Corner empowers individuals to take care of their health by adopting simple lifestyle changes, offering nutrition, health and fitness plans for healthier, happier lives.

Industry Type:Education - Health & Wellness

Hola Swim

Syncletica Maestas and Aida Soria

Hola Swim designs and manufactures women’s swimwear and accessories locally in San Diego.

Industry Type:Retail - Clothing

Hexagon Laser

Oscar Corral

Hexagon Laser designs and manufactures wood artwork and home decor using laser-engraving and laser-cutting techniques.

Industry Type:Consumer Goods

Girlie Garage

Talena Handley

Girlie Garage is a virtual auto repair consultant helping women become safer and more confident on the road.

Industry Type:Professional Services - Automotive

First Gen Scholars

Jonathan Burgos

First Gen Scholars helps high school seniors with the college application process and mentors college students until they receive their degree.

Industry Type:Nonprofit - Education

D.A. Servicing

Danielle Anderson

D.A. Servicing is a digital marketing and consulting agency that provides resources for entrepreneurs in the food service industry.

Industry Type:Professional Services - Marketing

Charbon Plus

Lucien Eloundou

Charbon Plus is an independent online store created to offer you the best African skincare products at an affordable price.

Industry Type:Consumer Good - Cosmetics

Challenge Island San Diego Coastal

Ritika Sehgal

Challenge Island San Diego Coastal provides STEAM virtual camps, field trips and enrichment classes for kids.

Industry Type:Education


Darnell Forde

BRENTFORDE Media provides live sound recording equipment for events and creates content creation for radio programs and podcasts.

Industry Type:Media Services

Baby Diary

Daniel Ibilola

Baby Diary is a platform that provides information-based solutions to parents from conception to young adulthood.

Industry Type:App - Health & Wellness

Village Kids Early Childhood Community

Michelle DeJohnette

Village Kids Early Childhood Community is a high-quality child care environment, grounded in principles of social justice and inclusion, focused on the child care needs of Southeast San Diego.

Industry Type:Professional Services - Childcare

SouthEast Fusion 619

Lamicka Cottingham

SouthEast Fusion 619 offers a dual service-based business that provides (Fusion-comfort food) catering, to-go meals, including homemade bbq sauce; as well as event planning and party decoration services.

Industry Type:Food & Beverage

Shift Micromobility Compliance

Fransico Peralta

Shift Micromobility Compliance provides an affordable option to remove abandoned electric scooters from your property or business.

Industry Type:Professional Services - Transportation

Mya’s Catering Company

Amaya Ford

Mya’s Catering Company is a classic bakery that makes homemade desserts with a touch of love. We use the freshest, highest-quality ingredients for our cookies, cupcakes, cakes, and pies.

Industry Type:Food & Beverage

Interiors 432

Demi Adeniran

Interiors 432 is an interior design company crafting one-of-a-kind living environments with the artful use of color thoughtfully woven in.

Industry Type:Professional Services - Interior Design

Interactive Play

Melanie van de Water and Elyse Locatelli

Interactive Play sells product developed by IKC (International Kids Concepts) based in The Netherlands, that provides kid play areas in commercial spaces. A play corner results in higher revenues, more visitors, customers, retention visits, and a more memorable experience.

Industry Type:Consumer Goods

elevatEd Classrooms

Jaclyn Sarnese

elevatEd Classrooms provides educational consulting and professional development services to K-12 schools, districts, and other youth-serving organizations. Our professional development services empower educators to create happier classrooms that thrive by grounding in practical models and elevating existing strengths.

Industry Type:Professional Services - Consulting

Braid Street

Soely Sanchez

Braid Street LLC provides protective hairstyle services, such as box braids and twists, hair care courses, and styling products for the Afro-mixed population in San Diego. We use hairstyling to intentionally facilitate conversations on mental wellness and personal development, as we are passionate about serving marginalized communities in a safe place where people feel welcomed.

Industry Type:Personal Services - Hair Care

Bomba Brown Wellness

Angelica Tolentino

Bomba Brown Wellness provides educational and artistic experiences that help BIPOC caregivers, service workers, teachers, artists and educators rest, cultivate joy, and get free.

Industry Type:Education

A Caramel Affaire

Kimberly King

A Caramel Affaire is a boutique company headquartered in San Diego, California featuring artisan caramel sauce. We offer four delectably smooth sauce flavors. We want you to be hooked so that your caramel dreams are like no other.

Industry Type:Food & Beverage

The Underground Supermarket

Kyle Mitchell

The Underground Supermarket is a specialty market featuring African-American made products sold in areas that lack this shopping privilege.

My Vibrant Notary

Anita Lopez

My Vibrant Notary provides notary and estate planning services that helps families during times of intergenerational transition. MVN specializes in protecting family assets and avoiding medical debt due long-term care costs.

Industry Type:Professional Services


Jason Cabildo, Cristina Romanillos

Savorite is an on-demand marketplace for local restaurants to offer empty tables to diners at a discount.

Industry Type:Tech – Marketplace


Christine Olory

RoomChazer makes off-campus housing easy for students by creating an unmatched online browsing experience when looking for roommates and a room for rent.

Industry Type:Marketplace

People Onward

Khong Xiong

People Onward is an HR company that offers consulting, professional training, speaking opportunities, and recruiting services to large and small companies to connect top talent to the best employers.

NG Apothecary

Nayeli Gutierrez

NG Apothecary is a holistic health and herbal company that provides herbal extracts, tinctures, glycerites, elixirs, oils, salves and candles to online consumers.


Pedro Rivas

Leggi Cast is a smart ballot voting system that gives users all the relevant information they need to make informed decisions about candidates and proposed ballot initiatives.

God's Gifts Extensions

Tiara Green

Gods Gifts provides healthy hair care products and provides custom handmade wigs for patients experiencing hair loss due to cancer at low to no cost.

Education Technologies

Monal Parmar

Educational Vision Technologies (EVT) specializes in automated video editing and online course creation using artificial intelligence to make online learning efficient, accessible and engaging.

Industry Type:Education Technologies

Detail Smart

Angel Zepeda

Detail Smart provides automotive auto detailing services for customers in and around San Diego and Los Angeles.

Industry Type:Professional Services – Car Care

DDHW Consulting and Business Services

Derynet Williams

DDHW Business services and consulting provides book keeping and business consulting services to small business owners that don’t have the time or knowhow to manage day to day operations.

Industry Type:Professional Services – HR/Accounting

BuenPaso Media

Edwin Cruz

BuenPaso Media is a digital media organization that produces and edits video content for film, television, social media, demos, advertisements and more.

Industry Type:Digital Media


Marcus Burton

Aphase is a custom clothing media networking brand that specializes in designing and printing clothing products for businesses.

Industry Type:Apparel

Harmony Grove Village

Olivia Quintanilla

Harmony Grove Village is a unique community center retreat space focused on intergenerational public ethnic studies, arts and humanities programming.

Industry Type:Education

Life House Design & Construction

Carrin Johnson (CJ)

Life House Design & Construction is a “one-stop” shop for design services and renovations.

Industry:Construction & Design

Love Wedding Chapel

Dawn Hendon

Love Wedding Chapel officiates weddings and rents and sells wedding attire and accessories.

Industry Type:Professional Services – Wedding

Meraki Allure

Mo Cissé & Javan Reyes

Meraki Allure creates quality clothing and accessories using a sustainable approach.

Industry Type:Fashion/Apparel

Movement Matters Collective

Latoya McKelvin

Movement Matters Collective offers tailored movement experiences in pilates, dance and yoga for all ages and skill levels.

Industry Type:Fitness


Blanca Osorio

Purrfashion provides handmade cat harnesses made from upcycled clothes or fabric scraps that would otherwise end up in landfills.

Industry Type:Pet Products

Proa Athletics

Chris Guerrero

Proa Athletics is located in Sorrento Valley and provides health, fitness and performance services.

Industry Type:Fitness

The Hamlett

Shacole Hamlett

The Hamlett is a community centric coffee and apothecary shop for community events, workshops and enriching experiences.

Industry Type:Food/Beverage

Viet Mai and Sean Uriarte

Vincii is an online platform that facilitates in-person learning experiences. While Vincii can be used by everyone, the company is dedicated to designing an innovative education model that is attractive to and meets the needs of “Opportunity Learners” – those who desire personal and professional growth, but may be disconnected from the traditional education system.

Nechel Best

As I Say media uses the power of voice to grab attention, by scripting media for people, big and small companies, producing radio-worthy audio, video ads, emotive messages and brandbuilding

Industry Type:Professional Services - Marketinglin

Rosa Maria Hernandez

The Vida Effect empowers organizations to shift power dynamics to create balance and equity in communities.

Industry Type:Professional Services - Consulting

Marisela Abasta

The Life Empowerment Academy offers courses in self therapy for women who are suffering from anxiety & depression.

Industry Type:Health & Wellness

Melina Aguirre

The Office Brows & Beauty (Studio 22) provides beauty services and one-on-one certifications

Industry Type:Professional Services - Beauty

Brenda Figueroa

Sparkess Agency is a digital marketing agency specializing in personalized social media management services. We create engaging content and strategies to help businesses succeed in the digital world by aligning with their goals, values, and target audience.

Industry Type:Professional Services - Marketing

Filipe Britto

Sauvara is a software, services, and consulting company that specializes in development of business solutions.

Industry Type:Technology - Software

Nicolas Del Guidice-Piña

ROMOLO & REMO’s Roman-style artisanal tomato sauces bring diverse and multicultural experiences together through unique and balanced flavor sets.

Industry Type:Food & Beverage

Denice Whittaker

Beauty’s Conscience is a beauty & retail clothing store with skincare, makeup, hair care, fragrance products handbags and travel luggage.

Industry Type:Retail

Daniel Ehrlich

Juggle Media is a one-stop-shop for all your marketing needs. Our goal is to create unique and compelling content for you that will drive relevant traffic to you.

Industry Type:Professional Services - Marketing

Quincy Brown & Mansa Musa IV

Imhotep Automotive is setting out to disrupt the auto industry by mass producing Hydrogen Fuel Cell electric vehicles in
an effort to expedite the transition from fossil fuel to sustainable energy alternatives.

Industry Type:Automotive Manufacturing

Ebonique “Pynk” Briggs

Hair Asylum helps customers to maintain healthy hair by providing quality styling and education on hair maintenance.

Industry Type:Professional Services - Haircare

Marissa Mitchell

Feel Good is leading a powerful wellness movement with clean media and merchandise designed to help you create and sustain the healthiest and happiest version of your life.

Industry Type:Health & Wellness

Carmella Bailey

Administrative to Clinical, BHA recruits talent for a wide range of behavioral health personnel needs.

Industry Type:Professional Services