University of San Diego Coordinating with San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Business Development

San Diego County and the University of San Diego are partnering to create a small business development program in six San Diego neighborhoods in an effort to increase local entrepreneurship.

USD President James T. Harris III and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors announced the Innovate-Up program, which will give about $1.5 million in grants and resources to residents and entrepreneurs who are interested in launching businesses in underprivileged neighborhoods such as Chollas, City Heights, Encanto, Linda Vista, Rolando, and Redwood Village.

The funds and research will go towards helping entrepreneurs develop business ideas, form a business entity, and create a product or service. It will also provide legal support and marketing advice, as well as information on manufacturing and distribution.  

According to the County Supervisors, the Innovate-Up program will help make a lasting impact on the community and the economy, while at the same time helping cultivate local talent.

Innovate-Up will use a $300,000 San Diego County Community Enhancement Program grant and about $1.2 million in resources from USD to fund their program. The program is expected to lead to more financial knowledge for participants, promote the development of new businesses, and increase jobs and government contracts for small businesses.

Despite Innovate-Up being a new program, two entrepreneurs have already taken part in it. Andre Mattson from Chollas used the program to expand his idea of using strengthening bands as a replacement for a brace to help heal sports injuries. Innovate-Up enabled Mattson to get a patent and also taught him ways to improve the marketing of his product.

Ruth Young-Loaeza from City Heights created more sufficient bed sheets with multi-directional, stretchable edges that make it faster for them to be placed on a bed. After already being far into the patent process, she used Innovate-Up to help get her small business certified.