By Alex Waters (also featured in Black & Magazine)
11 Startups. Five-minute pitches. Three grant prizes. One judging panel. And the audience (watching from their screens).
The cohort of local startup companies, ranging from cocktail kits to online nursing test prep to concussion-monitoring technology, will compete in the virtual CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center’s Union Bank Startup Pitch Competition for grant prizes of $7,500 for first place, $5,000 for second place and $2,500 for third place.
In addition to the Union Bank cash grants awarded by the judges, CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center cohort members will have a chance to compete for the “Audience Choice Award.”
These entrepreneurs have recorded five-minute pitch videos to convince a distinguished panel of judges why they should receive a business grant, explaining their business plan and what they’ve learned while in the CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center business accelerator program. The judge panel includes:
- Oralia Alvarez, Director of Business Development, Founders First Capital Partners, LLC
- Fred Grier, Reporter, San Diego Business Journal
- Gil Kennedy, Vice President, Branch Manager, Union Bank
- Chida Rebecca, Entrepreneur & Publisher, Black & Magazine
- Paul Robinson, Founder & CEO, Ensunet Technology Group and Board Member, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation
From June 28 through July 8, the public can participate by “liking” their favorite pitch video on CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center’s YouTube channel, bit.ly/CAJCYouTube. The winner will receive the distinction of “Audience Choice” awardee and a prize basket, including an iPad.
Since the program’s inception, 25 local startups from various industries including technology, education, food, retail, health and beauty, have completed the six-month program, which seamlessly transitioned to a virtual program starting in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This accelerator program is helping young entrepreneurs turn their dreams into reality by giving them the tools to build a successful business,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “The diversity of ideas and participants supported by CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center’s program will help grow our local economy by allowing those businesses to get off to a fast start and put more San Diegans back to work.”
CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center is a strategic public-private partnership between the City of San Diego, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and CONNECT w/ San Diego Venture Group. The business accelerator program and Business Resource Center opened in May 2019 in a renovated 4,300-square-foot space at the Joe and Vi Jacobs Center in Southeastern San Diego.
All are invited to access free support through the Business Resource Center. Contact Selena Ellis-Vizcarra at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This program is funded in whole or 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, and private funding from partners, such as MUFG Union Bank N.A. and bkm OfficeWorks.
For more information on the Union Bank Startup Pitch Competition, CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center business accelerator program or Business Resource Center visit connectallsd.org or @connectallsd on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.