Business Accelerator Will Support Southeast San Diego
The accelerator aims to create more business opportunities in San Diego’s underserved communities.
“It truly will dig down into the root of our community,” said City Council Member Monica Montgomery. “If you look at the numbers, often District 4 communities carry twice the unemployment rate of the entire region, and this will help in areas like that.”
The entrepreneurial cohort at the Connect ALL accelerator is made up entirely of minority and low-income entrepreneurs like Kelvin Crosby. Kelvin is blind. He said he created the Smart Guider cane using autonomous technology, found in self-driving cars, to give independence to others like him.
“Losing my vision has been a journey,” said Crosby. “As I continue to lose more, the more independence I lose. I want to be able to gain that independence back.”
The Smart Guider is Crosby’s answer. It combines the latest technology in lidar sensors, ultrasonic sensors, GPS tracking and more.
Crosby’s company is one of 13 selected for the accelerator, which provides access to mentorship, workspace, and investment opportunities. Entrepreneurs get these services at no cost, thanks to funding from the city.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said this type of investment has been a long time coming.
“We know how to compete. We know how to start businesses,” said Faulconer. “It’s about time that we take this opportunity to communities that traditionally did not have access to these type of services.”
The city has committed $2.5 million to the initiative over the next four years.