Southwestern Community College


Chula Vista, CA


Build to Scale Program

Venture Challenge


Project Name

Village to Venture


Award Amount

Federal Share

Local Match


$1.5 million

$1.5 million

Southwestern Community College, together with the University of San Diego and the Connect Foundation, will implement Village to Venture — an initiative that aims to increase the number of technology, life science, or technologically-leveraged entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds in San Diego. The project would design and coordinate programmatic efforts among ecosystem partners to inclusively support those entrepreneurs in accessing San Diego’s robust innovation community. In addition, Village to Venture will create connections by introducing entrepreneurs to potential vendors, customers, advisors, and investors. The industries and product areas that will be prioritized include consumer products, health care/biotechnology, clean technology, hardware and software.

The program will focus on:

  • Leveraging the social capital within the region’s innovation ecosystem to serve as the “friends and family” to underrepresented founders
  • Utilizing current technology platforms available to consumer-based companies to maximize sales and fully achieve revenue and capital potential
  • Nurturing relationships with institutional investors (VCs, angel, seed, fund managers) that support diverse innovation ecosystems and providing introductions to companies for transformative investment
  • Ensuring “inclusion at the start” with supportive technical support and resources
  • Building on local and state efforts that support early-stage entrepreneurs and continuing to help those entrepreneurs solidify traction and move toward growth and job creation

Without deliberate intervention, the innovation system as it is designed will not automatically generate equitable access to resources nor equitable outcomes. Village to Venture will coordinate access to a broad community of advisors, educational events, technical assistance, investors and resources to foster greater inclusion within San Diego’s thriving innovation ecosystem.