At the center of Downtown’s growing tech ecosystem

By Kris Michell | Downtown Partnership News

You have an idea that you want to turn into a company? Pitching to investors but with little success? Not sure what to do?

These are the questions that weigh on entrepreneurs trying to transform a preliminary concept into a successful business, and are the questions that can be answered when the resources and tools are nearby. That is where the Downtown San Diego Partnership is stepping up to make a difference.

Let’s grow and foster a startup community where knowledge can be easily shared, right here in downtown.

To strengthen Downtown’s growing tech ecosystem, the Partnership is partnering with UC San Diego Extension. Launched last summer, The Collaboratory for Downtown Innovation, or CDI, offers a variety of programs to help local entrepreneurs develop the networks critical for future growth. Classes are taught right here at the partnership’s offices.

In collaboration with UC San Diego Office of Innovation and Commercialization, CDI recently launched the first program of its kind — a free, six-week Entrepreneur Certificate Program. The program is focused on early-stage founders who have already decided to start their business and are now focused on execution but need further support to take the next step.

The Entrepreneur Certificate Program helps participants discover what they need to be successful by providing practical knowledge. This allows them to focus on critical business needs.

This is an exciting opportunity for early-stage entrepreneurs looking to take off.

Students have access to some of the biggest names in the startup space. The program is facilitated by Greg Horowitt, co-founder and managing director of T2 Venture Creation. Horowitt has spent more than 25 years working in startups and venture capital, and has been a founder, investor and board member in many leading organizations.

As the inaugural class comes to end, there are so many inspiring stories. Take Melissa, the wife of a disabled veteran, who started an online stationary business before her husband was injured.

After relaunching her website, she is now using the class to help regrow her customer base. Or Ryan, a retiring U.S. Navy officer looking to start his next chapter by starting a business.

Kris Michell, President and CEO of SDDP

There are many exciting things happening in the Downtown startup space, and the Downtown Partnership is proud of, and committed to, its work in this area.

The innovation economy is critical to Downtown’s continued growth and success, and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners to make Downtown a center of innovation.

 —Kris Michell is the president and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, a nonprofit, member-based organization that oversees the Clean & Safe program and serves as the leading advocate for the revitalization and economic health of Downtown. For questions or comments, email

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