SDSI - Accel - Square.png

Grab the handle bars and get ready to ride.  This 20 week accelerator program is for existing businesses who are serious about growth and scale.  Whether you're preparing to raise funding, attract strategic partners or optimize your business plan, this program's comprehensive, yet flexible curriculum will give you the tools to succeed. 

Each SDSI Accelerator company is paired with a team of mentors, tailored to their business needs.  By the end of the 20 week program you can expect to have a 2 refined business plan pitch decks - a 15 minute pitch and a 5 minute quick pitch - a compelling elevator pitch and experience presenting them all in front of professionals.

**Applications are currently closed**

We accept applications for the Accelerator program twice a year. The next application window will open early 2020. Sign up below to join the SDSI newsletter and be the first to know when we begin accepting applications for our next cohort.

Sign up for the SDSI Newsletter to be notified when we begin accepting applications for our next cohort. In the meantime, scroll down for information on who should apply and how the program works.

Application deadlines, Intake panel and Milestone panel dates. Class 15 will begin early 2020.


The SDSI Accelerator is sponsored by the Qualcomm Foundation to support the rising number of female founders and technology related or enabled businesses in the Sport, Active Lifestyle, Health and Wellness space.

SDSI Mentoring was an amazing experience for us...this was by far the most hands-on and rewarding experience personally. We got incredibly deep and useful insights from qualified mentors that contributed to a strong growth strategy that will help us scale the business for years to come.
— Scott Tilton, CEO, hookit, 2016 SDSI Accelerator Program Graduate

Who Should Apply?

Acceptance into the SDSI Accelerator program is determined by a multi-step process consisting of application, pre-screening and in person presentation.  Final acceptance is decided collectively by the SDSI mentor group. The ideal candidate for the Accelerator program fits the following criteria, however, the applications for each cohort are measured against each other with the top strongest companies gaining final acceptance. The criteria below are a guideline, not a checklist.

  • Existing business with $100,000 - 2M in revenue

  • Product or service is launched and in-market

  • Substantial product/service validation from the target market (significant testimonials, demonstrated sales, large user or follower base)

  • Business model viability

  • Demonstrated commitment by the Entrepreneur

  • Entrepreneur Coachability

  • Relevance to sports active lifestyle and healthy living

  • Availability of mentors with relevant expertise

How Does it Work?

Companies who are accepted are paired with a mentoring team which includes; a Business Advisor, Finance Mentor and Marketing Mentor.  Entrepreneurs establish their goals for the program with their mentor team at the start of the 20 weeks, then the entrepreneur and their mentor team work together weekly towards achieving those goals. Every six weeks the cohort comes together, mentors and entrepreneurs alike, for a milestone panel where the companies present the latest iteration of their business plan to a group of 15 - 30 SDSI mentors for feedback. Mentoring occurs in stages, starting with the development of the 15-minute presentation and then creating a 5-minute Quick Pitch and :30 second Elevator Pitch.  Each milestone panel includes QnA and feedback from SDSI mentors, including those outside of the designated mentor team.

Though every company works with the same business plan decks, the pace and focus of study is determined by each mentoring team and is tailored to the needs of the specific entrepreneur or company. Common goals addressed in this program are preparing for investment, planning for strategic growth, developing sales strategies and teams, developing launch plans or new markets and much more. We have a deep and varied pool of mentors, including specific domain experts that can be added to a team to contribute to a specific need or goal.

SDSI Accelerator Program's Four Milestones

1. Intake Panel (15 Minute Presentation #1) – Confirms acceptance into the SDSI Accelerator Program. Preliminarily accepted applicants present their 15-Minute business business plan to potential mentors, followed by 10 minutes of Q&A focused on evaluating coachability, business model viability and market opportunity.

If accepted, a mentoring team for each company will be formed including: a Business Advisor who will lead the mentoring team, a marketing domain expert, a finance domain expert and a legal advisor. Additional domain experts can be assigned as needed.

2. 15 Minute Presentation #2 – After working with their mentor team, SDSI Accelerator participants present their refined 15-Minute business presentation to the mentor group. The Presentation is scored by all in attendance, as well as followed by live Q&A and feedback.  Feedback and scoring is curated and returned to each business team to continue refinement of the business plan. 

3. 15 Minute Presentation #3 – At this milestone, it's expected that the 15-Minute business presentation is in its final form and is presented to the mentor group to determine if the company is ready to move on to working on the 5 Minute Quick Pitch.  The format follows milestone #2 with live QnA and feedback, as well as scoring. At this panel, you’ll also present the first draft of your Elevator pitch.

4. Quick Pitch / Elevator Pitch Panel – At this final milestone of the program it is expected that the entrepreneur can articulate all aspects of their business clearly and can present an intriguing 5-Minute business presentation that will entice listeners to want to hear more.  With the same format as Milestones #2 and #3, Q&A will be focused on articulation, passion, clarity and demonstrated knowledge of all aspects of the business.

What Does it Cost?

SDSI's Accelerator Program is not an incubator.  We do not guarantee funding, take a percentage of your company or provide office space.  The Accelerator program is pure, business mentorship that is driven by our our mentors desire to give back and support growing companies.  This access to some of San Diego's best minds in SAL is offered free to accepted companies as part of joining SDSI at the general membership level.  SDSI membership is $2,000 and is good for one year from the Intake panel date.  That's right, after the 20 week program is over, you can still take advantage of the power of SDSI.

Just a few benefits of membership include:

• Access to nearly 50+ C-level executives on the SDSI Advisory Board
• Marketing and exposure to SDSI members and SAL industry at large
• Business introductions that lead to new partnerships and/or accelerate your growth
• Programs and events providing education, elite level networking
• Access to new technology and talent
• Advocacy on behalf of the industry

A few more details...

Clarification on funding
The SDSI Accelerator is not a funding program and does not guarantee funding. It is a mentoring program that prepares companies to be better positioned for success.

Disclosure and Confidentiality
The SDSI Accelerator process is about your business, not your technology. We will not ask you to disclose any proprietary information about your technology or invention; however NO ONE INVOLVED IN SDSI– EITHER IN THE PREPARATION PHASE OR AT THE PANEL PRESENTATIONS – WILL SIGN A NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT. The SDSI team and volunteers have agreed to maintain the highest standards of integrity with regard to your business activities.

Program Contact
Dana Rowley

Become an SDSI Insider and receive a monthly update on all things SDSI: SAL companies, news, events, job openings, Springboard deadlines and more.