About Innovate-Up

Innovate Up (a program of The Brink SBDC) is a free, confidential, and integrated public-private partnership between the University of San Diego and The County of San Diego. The program was designed by USD’s President James T. Harris and County Board of Supervisor Nathan Fletcher to lift-up the communities of Chollas, City Heights, Encanto, Linda Vista, Rolando Park, and Redwood Village. Innovate-Up will give wings to ideas, helping small businesses soar, and assist communities to reach new heights.

More than a short-term business incubator or accelerator, Innovate Up relies on the SBDC’s long history of integrated support and its new innovation-based focus. Innovate Up takes a deep dive and stays with entrepreneurs and businesses for the long haul. All inclusive, infrastructure rich, one-on one consulting, mindfully crafted mentorship with industry leaders; we tackle all of the verticals for success: marketing, business development, operations, finance, product market fit, product development, customer fit, investor relations, distribution, manufacturing selection, legal support, and more…

Join Innovate Up to Start-Up or Scale-Up your Business!

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher

“We introduced Innovate Up through The Brink SBDC to support the creative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit of San Diegans. Innovative products and new technologies don’t just come from people living in Silicon Valley; I believe we have that same caliber of an entrepreneur living in Encanto, Chollas, City Heights, Rolando Park, Redwood Village, and Linda Vista. Innovate-up will cultivate our homegrown talent, and help them to make a lasting impact on their community.”

Neighborhoods Served

Innovate Up serves six historically underserved neighborhoods: Chollas, City Heights, Encanto, Linda Vista, Rolando Park, and Redwood Village. Through Innovate Up we want to provide opportunities for economic freedom. By concentrating our initiative in these six areas, we hope to help change the economic trends in these communities.

Our ideal participant is determined, ambitious, visionary, and collaborative. Anyone with a new product or business idea, or a business wanting to expand – we can help.

Innovate Up is Different

An integrated approach between The Brink SBDC, IRC, and PTAC; with the ongoing support from USD and the County of San Diego create a unique and holistic program for innovative entrepreneurs. We are the only San Diego, community placed, INNOVATION program that offers wrap around, customized support, and one-on-one consulting from idea formation through market success. More than a business accelerator or incubator, Innovate-Up is unlike other programs because:

  • A combined ~$1.7 million-dollar in County and University resources
  • Top ideas will have the opportunity to compete in the San Diego Angel Conference, hosted by USD. Last year, three start-ups were awarded $535,000 and other participated companies received $10.5 million in additional investments in the following three months
  • Product development (engineering through prototype) workshops
  • Marketing Collaborative (branding, logos, market research, growth strategies) workshops
  • Food and Beverage (storefront, packaging, FDA labels, distribution, contracts, licensing, permits) workshops
  • Public-Private Vendor Development (specialty certification, government bids, university bids, distribution, supplier opportunities, procurement contracts)
  • Legal Clinic (teams of lawyers into community – review documents, draft contracts, establish entities, credit repair)
  • One-on-one counseling and a customized approach for each business

How Innovate Up Works

Between now and June 30, 2020, on almost every Wednesday or Thursday, intensive small group meetings will be held in the targeted communities. Locations will include public schools, community non-profits, libraries, businesses and churches.

The Brink SBDC supported by faculty and staff at USD will provide instructors and consultants for most workshops. Each topic and workshop will be available monthly for community organizations in the target communities. It is not a requirement to attend the workshops in succession. Community-members may choose a workshop(s) that interest them but are encouraged to attend the entire series.

Intensive Small Group Meetings and one-on-one follow-up on:

  1. Start-up Business Basics – Ideation, formation, business plan, product development, patent and trademark assistance, market fit, product fit, and all things money.
  2. Business Scale-Up – Branding, marketing, alternate financing, crowd-sourcing, credit repair, building credit through innovative apps, seed money opportunities, San Diego Angel Conference, business plans, distribution, manufacturing guidance, growth strategies, and free office furniture.
  3. Small Business Certification – Obtain your veteran owned, women owned, minority owned business certification. Also, learn how to bid on government and university contracts to become a supplier or vendor.
  4. Innovation Bootcamp – Idea exploration, market and product fit, product design, engineering, and prototype, manufacturing assistance, and, patent and trademark support.

Small group meetings take place on Wednesdays and Thursdays at different community-based locations in the targeted neighborhoods. Times will vary based on location. One-on-one consulting will take place in community businesses.

No one size fits all. Entrepreneurs and businesses will select from a breadth of services, which can stand alone or build on each other.

To find a workshop in your community email info@innovate-up.com.

Community Partners

Community Collaborators

Providing Space and Outreach Assistance

Contact Us

E-mail: info@innovate-up.com

University of San Diego

5998 Alcala Park, MRH 149
San Diego, CA 92110


Copyright 2020


Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S Small Business Administration.