Small is the New Big


In a recent blog post, The Future Looks PUNY, I outlined that many of the success stories amidst today’s retail malaise have centered on the ideas of Premium, Unique, New and Young (PUNY). These niche concepts fall under a broader, overarching theme: in the words of Seth Godin, “Small is the New Big.”

Across the retail landscape, from food to fashion, we see examples of PUNY. Small craft brewers, in their aggregate, are taking considerable share from the mass mega-brands. NPD published news recently on the growth of micro-restaurant chains and their impact to the future of the restaurant business.

In outerwear, we see that smaller brands are taking chunks of share from the larger established brands. Consumers are still buying fleece and puffer jackets; they just want a “unique” logo on the front.

We could even argue that some of Adidas’ recent U.S. success was due to the fact that Adidas was in many ways a “new” and “small” brand in the U.S. In 2015, at the low point of their history, Adidas had only 4 percent share of the footwear market; since then, Adidas has nearly tripled its share.

Read the rest of the post here

Are you doing your part to help Build, Start or Support Small Businesses? (SDSI Newsletter 8/31/17)


You know, in these uncertain times, when facts are conflated with opinion, not much is “for sure.”  But one thing is: small businesses drive the economy.  It’s particularly relevant when you look at our Sport and Athletic Lifestyle space. It’s true we have some relatively large businesses in the group like Vans or GoPro, but we also have ping pong companies, small golf brands, nutrition companies and many others. In fact, our Springboard program itself has accelerated or helped birth over 70 companies in our space, and created almost 500 new jobs. We are in the process of development of an industry census of sorts, but our 3 year old research pegs the local SAL economy at 37,000 jobs, over $2 Billion in revenue… and growing.  Our local cycling industry measured out at $547 Million annually; most all are small businesses with less than 30 employees.

Our friend Sully Sullivan points out that our space in the local economy is one of the few that connects with San Diegans every day…Mom’s buying soccer shoes, wet suits, athletic balls…you name it. So we count in the local economy.

You can help. Pass the word along about the amazing Springboard program. Its easy to do, just direct people to the website… it’s all there. If you would like to really lend your experience and time, we welcome experienced people into the Springboard mentoring program. There are not many things you can do in your business life that can bring the pleasure of helping a young entrepreneur succeed.  This year our Mentors will donate over 1600 hours to help others succeed. How awesome is that!



Airborne Advisory Board Meeting Recap


Wow! What an absolutely amazing meeting. To all who attended, THANKS! And to those who were tied up that afternoon with your businesses, be assured we respect your attentiveness to the mission, but OMG, you missed an event!  Seeing Ricky James flying up the 60 foot tunnel was amazing…for that matter watching 12 of our more intrepid members step up for 2 flights was amazing in and of itself. Our 2 lady flyers, Kaitlyn and Aubrey zoom around…they might be the over all best tube aviators at SDSI..naturals. Our own Nick managed to bore in for a low speed non injury crash, but what’s new, its not his first crash!  To be fair, somewhat fair, he zoomed to the top on his next flight and made it back to earth intact! Here are the links to all the fun: Airborne Photos, SDSI Photos, Airborne Video…send it on to friends. My 5 year old grandchild saw the video and asked my daughter “can Grandad really fly?’’ I hope she answered yes..what a claim!

Airborne SD is located across the street from Tailgate Park by Petco. Its is really a state of the art facility with meeting room, restaurant, showers, etc. Tristan Hampson, our host, has 8000 hours of tube flying; his competence made all of this possible. If you ever wanted to craft a team Building event for your business, I have 2 suggestions: Airborne SD, and Mesa Rim Climbing. In both cases the events themselves are something ALL millennial and younger generations are interested in…so just being there is more than ½ the battle. But seeing everyone be nervous, kinda close up ranks, see who would go first..those are moments that build trust and connections..then to fly or climb..priceless!  For onboarding newbies or just team building, nothing better!


"End of an Era?" SDSI Newsletter 7/27/17

Has 2017 marked the beginning of the rise of the small brand….or the end of the big brand? In the not too distant past the primary strength of the big brand was distribution. The bigger the better, after all you just poured product into the funnel, and bingo! it was available widely. By the way, this applies to many, many product categories. Its not something restricted to our world of consumer products.

But lately the larger brands have not been the motor for the economy. Instead of creating jobs, its actually reducing them. The retail clerk community is hard hit with over 80,000 jobs lost last year. The opposite side of the coin has the rise of small brands. Alibaba’s Jack Ma is predicting the rise of the small brand. He calls them the 30/30 Businesses: under 30 employees, led by a CEO under 30. That old distribution network…brick and mortar, warehouses, huge, bulky and inefficient supply chains are now viewed by many as simply mill stones, guaranteed to sink the weary swimmer. In its place lies the internet in all of its connectivity. Alibaba’s Ma sees that old hard scape distribution replaced by a platform that levels the global playing field, enabling an Alibaba vendor to deliver to a customer anywhere in the world within 72 hours…without owning a warehouse or a forklift!  By 2020!

It is indeed mind boggling, but I definitely buy into the concept that the young small businesses will be the driver of the future economy. That’s good news for SDSI, because we are a business development group focused for the most part on small businesses. Our Springboard program has helped jump start 70 companies..they have raised over $50 Million in capital and have an unbelievable 87% survival rate. Did you know there are over 34,000 people working in our space in San Diego? Most are employed by small healthy businesses. Yeah, baby, small is beautiful!



China in your Brand’s Future? Are you sure?

This week I had the opportunity to join Bryan Pate from ElliptiGo and represent SDSI at the Alibaba Gateway 17 Summit in Detroit.  As many members know we have had an ongoing conversation with Alibaba, but this was my first chance to attend a “how to sell in China” symposium centered on actually selling into the China market, as opposed to just talking about it. I jotted down a few items to call to your attention:

  • Alibaba is a market place, it is NOT Amazon. “baba” holds no inventory.
  • Alibaba is a platform, an extraordinary one, that provides all the services needed to import, sell and collect in China
  • Their market penetration is hard to believe:
  1. there are 350,000,000 (350 million) new middle class citizens in China: average income $11,000 to $38,000
  2. there are 500,000,000 Alibaba users (yes, ½ Billion)
  3. average transaction per user: 27
  4. 270,000 are daily users, averaging several hours per user
  5. there are 1.1 Million people delivering Alibaba packages daily
  6. Alibaba ranks 21 in the world economies… ahead for instance of the total GNP of Argentina. The ‘baba goal; be the 5th largest economy worldwide within 10 years. Dom’t think so? On the Alibaba “Singles Day this year they clocked $17.8 Billion US $ in 24 hours…bigger than our Cyber Monday by far.
  • China is transitioning from an export country to an import country…remember, their middle class exceeds the size of our total population
  • Forecast: I personally believe that we are on the advent of the rise of the SMALL business.  Let’s face it… big brands have had their run. The disruptive market forces, the arrival of the digital revolution and greying of management have made big global brands slow to react, dinosaurs with legacy retail networks in a digital world.  The entrepreneurial world is dominated by under 30 year old players.  Their focus is the future. They are the nimble businesses…and access to world markets make the small business equal to the big business, maybe better!  Let me go out on a limb: 3 years from now we will see world wide deliveries direct to consumer within 72 hours... no matter where the order is from, no matter where the inventory is housed!

Can China be in your brand future? It can, but its not going to be easy. We will have a general membership meeting about the “how to” very soon. But in the meantime, challenge yourself to think about the possibility of China. For all young entrepreneurs, take heart in knowing that a mega opportunity is coming to the world, sooner than expected!


To read the entire newsletter, please click HERE

Press Release: Applications Open for SDSI Springboard Business Accelerator Program

Applications Open for SDSI Springboard Business Accelerator Program
-SoCal’s only business accelerator dedicated to Sports and Active Lifestyle business-
Solana Beach, Calif. June 19, 2017 – San Diego Sport Innovators (SDSI), the non-profit business development organization for the Sports and Active Lifestyle (SAL) industry, is now accepting applications to its acclaimed business accelerator program, SDSI Springboard, sponsored by K2 Insurance Services.

SDSI Springboard is a 20-week intensive, mentor-led program that proves the power of collaboration, as successful executives and seasoned entrepreneurs - from companies like Callaway Golf, Road Runner Sports,, Competitor Group - give time and expertise to help growing companies reach success, right here in San Diego. 

“We are most proud of our successes,” says Bill Walton, SDSI Executive Chairman. “Over the years, 87% of our Springboard graduates are still in business, we have helped to build 70 different companies, those companies have raised more than $50 million in business-building capital and have create nearly 450 real jobs - jobs that are the bedrock foundation of our community.”

SDSI Springboard is open to SAL companies of all sizes who are facing significant milestones like: launching a new product, starting a new business, shifting their business model, preparing to raise capital or working through a significant growth phase.

“The SDSI Springboard program has given COR the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the industry,” said 2015 Graduate, Andy Gossett, Founder COR Surf. “Having the opportunity to learn from experts in marketing, finance and entrepreneurship has resulted in growth in COR's sales and given me the ability to pitch my company to investors with confidence.

Those interested can apply for free at through July 31. SDSI Membership is required upon acceptance into the program. To learn more about becoming a mentor, industry executives can contact Renne Catalano Gussman at

About SDSI  
SDSI is a nonprofit business development organization focused on the Sport and Active Lifestyle (SAL) industry. Working with Executive Chairman and NBA great Bill Walton, our 105-company membership represents the “San Diego Lifestyle” and includes leading sports and technology brands, nutrition and yoga, surf, skate, cycling, golf and retail, as well as some of San Diego’s bests service companies. We focus on relevant and actionable C-level content that benefits our member companies. SDSI’s award winning SDSI Springboard business accelerator program features a 20-week mentor-led curriculum whose 70 graduates have raised $51.4 million, have created 441 Jobs and have an 87% success record. For more information, visit 

Cycling SIG - Meeting 6/22

Cycling Industry,

As a follow up on our Cycling Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting held at Bill Walton’s house in February, we wanted to invite you to the next meeting focusing on actionable rider safety items – something we can all get behind.  This will be held at California Bicycles in La Jolla on Thursday, June 22nd at 6:00 PM and will feature Nathan Fletcher as a moderator and cycling advocate. 

Please RSVP to me and feel free to pass along to other industry peers who might be interested

One suggestion that came out of the last meeting was a request to share email addresses with other attendees – by default we will NOT share contact info, but if you would like to share it to better communicate with industry colleagues please let me know and I can send it to the RSVP’ed attendees after the event.

Thanks, we hope to see you there!

Attention SDSI Soccer Fans

As you are probably aware, this was a big week for San Diego soccer fans, business people and citizens (tax payers!) The SoccerCity initiative was certified by the City… the 112,000 signatures put it over the top. Mayor Faulconer (a friend to SDSI) and Councilman Sherman both endorsed the project.

It is not our place at SDSI to get involved in politics, but it seems to me, that this project deserves our attention simply because of the soccer components. I am all for anything that helps get kids off their mobile device and on to the field of play, especially in large numbers. I believe the SoccerCity proposal will help do that, so I am on board. It also has so much more, including river park space and access to the trolley.  And can be done without taxpayer subsidy, which we know the public should and does care about.
The Council has two choices: approve the proposal outright or place it on a ballot. Here’s the tricky part: in order for San Diego to actually be considered by the MLS for an expansion franchise, action will be required this year, before the MLS board votes. The SoccerCity folks want this to go to a special election in November of this year. There is plenty of push back on this by those who oppose the opportunity. Delay past the MLS deadline means the end of this effort, and that would be a shame. The people should have a chance to vote on this...when it matters! So, whether you endorse the project or not, we should all care about the rights of the voters and the over 112,000 people who signed the SoccerCity petition. 

So what can we all do to help?  Here goes: 

  • Get in contact with the Council and let them know how important the vote this year is and that you support it and the project.
  • If you can contact your councilmember (either the councilmember where you live or where your place of business is) with this message, it will be very important to the success of SoccerCity.
  • Calls, emails and letters are all good ways to communicate, and the more personalized the better.  Remember to include your name and address (anonymity isn't valued in a political world)
  • The email, phone and mailing address for all Councilmembers can be found here. If you need to know which district you're in, please go to this link and look for the "find my council district" button. 

-Bob Rie
Executive Director, SDSI

Read the rest of the newsletter HERE


I used to play basketball…It was a long time ago…Some of the endlessly pleasurable elements of the game that I loved so much are self-expression, passion, commitment, sacrifice, discipline, teamwork, purpose, mission and goals…

The entire time-period of my life that I was able to play, I was fully convinced that this most perfect of games was the essence of life itself… And that if I was somehow unable to play, that my very reason for existence would disappear…

With the way things have played out in the real world---I couldn’t have been more wrong…

I grew up in a non-business environment…My dad was a social worker, adult educator and music teacher; my mom--- our town’s librarian…

The other guiding lights in my glorious childhood---they beamed for life, not silver…

As my physical capabilities have changed over the last 64 years, so have I…

Today, my life is all business, and it is remarkable how little has changed, other than I don’t end up in the hospital nearly as often…

I had no choice in this transition…My body stopped cashing the checks that my mind so freely wrote…

Fortunately, but inexplicably, I have found the same satisfaction and joy in the business of life as I had in the sport of my dreams---the dreams that became my religion…

A bit more than seven years ago, just as I was beginning the latest, hardest and most serious of the long hard climbs back up from yet another physical and emotional bottom (this time my spine failure and collapse) I knew I had to change my approach…

What I had been doing was clearly not working, or sustainable…

I sought a fresh start in the innovation economy that defines my perfectly wonderful hometown, San Diego…

That quickly led to Duane and Ted Roth, Connect, and to what has now become SD Sport Innovators---a non-profit business-accelerating organization whose purpose and mission is to bolster the sports and active lifestyle industry that we proudly claim as our own in San Diego…A lifestyle that many of us simply took for granted…It is who were are…    

I am the volunteer executive chairman of this group of business-veteran serial entrepreneurs whose lives have evolved to where their greatest joys and rewards now come from the successes of others…

Started before I arrived by Marco Thompson, nurtured by the now-passed Duane Roth, and sustained today by it’s members and like-minded philanthropic supporters, SDSI has come a long way---mimicking the game-plan forward towards a better tomorrow well established by our San Diego sister organizations: Connect, Bio-Com, Clean Tech San Diego, and Evo-Nexus…

And while those other economic clusters are doing great work in the life sciences, biotech, sustainability and technology sectors---we are the world of sports, health, lifestyle, consumer products, and cool…We are right where we want to be…

San Diego is the sports participation capital of the universe…Everybody who can live here does…And the rest of the world is constantly trying to get here…People come here to chase their dreams…Dreams of playing---outdoors, everyday, forever…

Shortly after getting to the paradise that is San Diego, they realize that they better get a job, so that they can stay---forever…

Athletes and entertainers are the ultimate entrepreneurs---they start from, and with nothing, except a dream, every day…

The freedom and independence that is such an allure to a competitor in full flight, quickly translates to the business world…

And all of these champions of the human spirit and physical achievement, eventually become the champions of tomorrows economy…

Today, San Diego boasts of more than 1200 sports-related businesses, generating a positive economic impact of $2.2 Billion annually throughout our region…

More than 32,000 local people work in our companies…

SDSI represents them all…Whether it is surfing, skating, golfing, cycling, sailing, tennis, running, rolling, swimming, stand-up-paddle-boarding, water-biking, wake-boarding, team sports or individual endeavors, equipment, products, gear, apparel, technology plays, business support, or whatever, including things that we don’t even know about---YET--this is our space… This is who we are, and like any true team, we are all in this together...

Sports, business and San Diego are all synonymous with the spirit of collaboration that always permeates success…

SDSI is led daily, like the rising sun, by the guiding radiance of our Executive Director Bob Rief, his staff of Renne Catalano Gussman and Nick Roth, Industry Chair John Sarkisian, and the network of roughly 100 member companies and 40 volunteer mentors who selflessly donate their time, talent and treasure to ensure that our San Diego remains the best of the best—well beyond the narrow confines of our own individual lives…  

Our job at SDSI, and far past the horizon, is to help---and do whatever it takes to solve the problems, find the money, overcome the obstacles and adversity, provide the much needed leadership and mentoring, and to be there to illuminate the path forward to those who are trying to get to where we’ve already been…

One of our SDSI signature programs is Springboard—the vehicle we use to catapult our rising stars on their own great leap forward…It is our heart and soul…

SDSI Springboard is a 20-week business accelerating training and mentoring program that helps creates sustainable and scalable businesses…It is based on a demanding but proven curriculum and professional guidance from people who have been there and done that…

We are most proud of our successes…Over the years, 87% of our Springboard companies are still in business…We have helped to start and build more than 70 different companies…We have helped those companies raise more than $50 Million in business-building capital…And we have helped create hundreds upon hundreds of real jobs…Jobs that are the bedrock foundation of our community…     

In another one of my lifetimes---as a basketball player—I was fortunate to be on some of the greatest teams is sports history…Teams whose legacies survive today, 50 years after I started on the grand stages of this planet…

The nicest thing that anyone ever said about what I did in that world, was that I helped my teammates play better ball…

I’m proud, honored, privileged, and humbled to be on my next great team and stage…

I’m the luckiest guy on earth…I get to volunteer for SDSI…

SDSI Newsletter April 27, 2017


SDSI is humbled to welcome five prominent members of San Diego’s Business community to its Board of Directors: Emilie Cotter (FleishmanHillard), Melissa DeVita (Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.), Michael Lawrence (Morgan Stanley Wealth Management), Eric Northbrook (Voit Real Estate Services) and Roger M. Spatz (Reef/Eagle Creek.)

Read the full newsletter HERE

Press Release: San Diego Sport Innovators Expands Board With Pillars From San Diego’s Business Community

Press Release: San Diego Sport Innovators Expands Board With Pillars From San Diego’s Business Community

Solana Beach, Calif., April 27, 2016 - San Diego Sport Innovators (SDSI), the nonprofit business development organization dedicated to fostering the growth of the Sport and Active Lifestyle (SAL) Industry, is pleased to announce the addition of five members to its Board of Directors: Emilie Cotter (FleishmanHillard), Melissa DeVita (Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.), Michael Lawrence (Morgan Stanley Wealth Management), Eric Northbrook (Voit Real Estate Services), and Roger M. Spatz (Reef/Eagle Creek).

Read More


“The times, they are changing.”  Maybe at no time ever in history has this been more true. The evolution of consumer buying patterns and the new found boundless technology found in our mobile devices has turned the world on its ear. From pizza to medicinal marijuana, it’s all there at a click and delivered in a click. But it's not just consumer buying that has been impacted, it's practically every aspect of our life. Do you use printed instructions or do you use YouTube?...gotta ‘nest’ at home?…is Siri finding what you need?…is Uber at your door?…Amazon Prime? OMG!

Change is impacting sport as well. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, nutrition, or living too close to San Onofre, but a fairly large percent of the kids in the U.S. aren’t physically elite…if you are 12 years old, male and 6’1”, you gotta shot at the NFL or maybe the NBA. If you are 12 years old, male or female and “right sized” for your age, physically elite sports are probably not in your future. Do not move from San Diego to Green Bay, no matter what your Dad thinks. And PS, your MOM absolutely hates the idea of contact sports…who wants their child to risk a head injury that could cripple for life?

Do not underestimate the real power of Moms! In my age group, driving with moderate levels of alcohol was “ok” as long as you did not have an accident or get caught by the police. As drinking escalated, more police did not counter the horrible trend...but MADD stopped the activity cold at the social level. When a majority of Moms decide something, well, I think that's what is gonna happen. NFL take note.

I realize this is a goofy lead in, but as a consequence of social trends, many of us see a great future for soccer. I am one of them and I believe the MLS/SoccerCity SD proposal as positive for the City and County of San Diego. Soccer is an aspirational GLOBAL sport for boys and girls. We have about 100 leagues and 3,000 teams in San Diego County alone. That’s arguably more to 50,000 local athletes touched by soccer each year. If San Diego is the home of healthy living I cannot think of a much better activity for our kids. Are there details? Of course. Are there good local San Diegans behind the effort? Yes. Is SoccerCity SD for profit? Yes. Is it 100% privately funded? Yes.

Good enough for me...good for the City and County…good enough for our kids…let’s make it happen!


See the full March SDSI Newsletter HERE

MLS in San Diego? Let No Good Deed Go Unpunished!

Of course we want an MLS franchise! In spite of the many objections on the project that Mike Stone’s group has proposed, we are:
A:  for all things that enhance healthy living in San Diego
B: for all high minded business opportunities in our sport space

Seems to me that about covers it.

Are there details? Yes, of course. For instance a group of San Diego’s community leaders have decided to try to do something really good for San Diego, all of San Diego, namely take our very ugly, no longer useful gigantic parking lot called Q Comm, and turn into high density housing, park land, space for S.D. State to add student housing and an athletic facility for a co share with an MLS team… to the benefit of all…except competing developers who don’t like the idea that another team of Community leaders and investors have taken the hardest step, the first one!

Oh, all this at the public cost of zero.

Of course there is push back. After all, San Diego is comprised on San Diegans. Everyone needs a voice…but with the voice comes the responsibility to provide constructive criticism so that we can actually make something happen. Tilting at windmills with statements like “we can do better” or “lets not rush to action” all fall into the “delay and pray” category.

I guess “praying” is a strategy but not a very effective business strategy. Look, we are a world class city. A small minded, self serving, PR catastrophe of epic dimensions, our NFL owner, elected to leave town. This hurts me, but honestly the NFL is really on the slide. Mothers are opposed to football... who wants their child to be exposed to brain injuries in a physically elite, brutal sport?  The antidote to football …”football,” known as soccer here. Soccer is an aspirational sport, safer by far, embraced by boy and girl athletes at every level. Its GLOBAL, its big here, and we need it as a badge of our dedication to our life style.

But it cannot succeed in a vacuum. The MLS franchise in Carson has low support because it is in the middle of an industrial area... no hotels, no restaurants or bars, no reason to be there.

The opposite is true in Seattle and Portland…those franchises are robust and healthy because they are where the action is.  I can easily see Mission Valley and the Q-site easily becoming a hub of life and with it all the benefits of a growing and active community.

There is a time frame and some constraints. We are moving along a time frame imposed by the MLS expansion calendar. Its easy to imagine that the timeline is imposed by the developers…”if we hurry up and rush this through, we can put one over on San Diego”…really?

So my belief is that's it time for our community elected officials to step up and throw their support behind the total effort to bring MLS San Diego. Lets make the deadline, get the signatures, get started, and enhance the effort as we move forward. “Pray and Delay” will just put QComm into the perpetual motion machine, where no one wins, in fact all San Diegans lose!

What's up in the SDSI 'hood?

Too much! The pulse of our business cycle seems to be associated with the school calendar. Summers are nice and low key. Fall is much busier… Spring…craazzy!

Last week we had one of our four annual Leadership Dinners at the Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa. This one, sponsored by long time SDSI supporter Procopio, featured David Wells, Yankee perfect game pitcher. What an extraordinary night. David related some MLB memories and shared the amazing story of growing up a “gym rat” in OB. As you can imagine there were plenty of questions related to playing in the Majors, throwing one of only 21 perfect games, playing for Sparky Anderson (his favorite) and Joe Torre (his least favorite). I think it would be fair to say all were transfixed, including guests Mayor Faulconer, Bill Walton, Peter Ripa from the Farmers Insurance Open and other assorted San Diego VIP’s. We all went home with an autographed ball…under my pillow at home! These Leadership events are a rare chance for SDSI to bring forward our value to the Business Community. Many thanks to Procopio for making this happen.

OK, trivia “bar winner” question from David Wells: What is the only high school in America to produce two Perfect Game Pitchers? …Point Loma High! Please send 10% of all trivia bet wins to us asap!

MLS coming to town?...There’s too much to detail here, so let me be lazy and add a link with the latest on these efforts. But there’s no doubt about our position: 100% FOR. Let’s be honest… head injuries in football are a huge concern for all players. The NFL is working on solutions but there is no way back for those who have suffered traumatic head injuries, unfortunately. But from a U.S. societal point of view, I believe it’s fair to say that more and more parents prefer their children find an alternative sport, and in most places, that is Soccer. It’s not perfect either. Headers remain a challenge, but in general it is safer and far more inclusive - little boys and girls to adults. Having a MLS franchise will be a bellwether for youth soccer here in the county and a great rallying point. Hopefully SDSU will soon see the value and get emotionally on board. It’s been a while since a group of San Diegans have stepped up and made a proposal so fantastically good for San Diego. Two SDSI members, Surf Cup and soccerloco are very active and enthused…us too!

Omni Channel CEO Conference…SDSI members wrestle with the conundrum of modern business every day. The advent of social media and wireless communication has shifted the epicenter of purchasing from the hands of the industry into the hands of the consumer. Balancing selling efforts and protecting branding across all channels is a tall order. SDSI, through Red Door Interactive, Quiverr and Wells Fargo Capital Finance, is presenting a forum next week featuring L2 Digital Partners and guest speaker David Kahan, CEO of Birkenstock. The topic…Omni Channel Strategy of course. This event is “sold out” but I will make a decent report for the next newsletter.

View the whole SDSI Newsletter for Feb 23, 2017 HERE

"2017," can that be true???

Well, it seems like lots of crazy things are happening, so why not? There is no alternative fact: 2017 is here!! Hard to believe but this is the beginning of SDSI’s 9th year of supporting entrepreneurship in the Sport and Active Lifestyle (SAL) space. In fact, SDSI used to be ASI, Action Sport Innovators, but it was too limiting, hence SD Sport Innovators and our SAL acronym. And of course, with the expansion of our name, came the growth to include what are basically companies active in the "San Diego Lifestyle". We have grown in membership to nearly 100 companies. So, Happy New Year!


Ever try to start a business? I think there is universal agreement among Founders that starting one business is about the hardest thing an individual can attempt. SDSI’ Springboard program has helped jump-start 61 companies…think of what that number means in terms of dreams, jobs and the benefit to San Diego. Think of it in terms of mentorship hours given freely…over 7,000 hours since 2009…approximately 3.5 working years of free guidance, advice and encouragement! It’s an amazing number, all courtesy of a group of amazing San Diegans who give so willingly of their time and expertise. Let’s start 2017 with a BIG Thank You to them, our Springboard Mentors!

The SDSI Springboard Class 9 Application period is now open. We will have approximately 10 slots available. Typically, we receive at least twice as many applicants. If you have a company that can benefit from the SDSI Springboard curriculum, by all means contact Renne and get the process going now.

Our 2017 calendar of events is extensive. Special thanks to K2 Insurance Services for the title sponsorship of Springboard 2017, to Voit Real Estate Services for sponsorship of the Founder’s Skill Set Series and Procopio for their continuing support of our Community Leadership Dinners.

Read the rest of this month's newsletter HERE

San Diego Sport/Cycling Showcase Spotlights Local Brands in Expo and Fashion Show with Local Professional Cycling Teams

SAN DIEGO — January 15, 2017 — The San Diego Sport Innovators (SDSI) and Padres Pedal the Cause have teamed up to spotlight the breadth and diversity of the local bicycling industry by hosting the second annual San Diego Sport/Cycling Showcase on Saturday, February 4th at 350 10th Avenue, San Diego.

San Diego cycling and sport brands participating in the Showcase include an exclusive group of brands and partners: 2XU sportswear, SAGE Titanium Bicycles, Lumos Helmets, San Diego Mountain Biking Association, Cuba Bike Travel, Belgian Waffle Ride 2017, GQ-6 nutrition, Assos clothier, SDSI, Padres Pedal the Cause, to name a few. The highlight of the Showcase will be a Fashion Show featuring the newest men’s race clothing by team Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, and women’s styles worn by Skyflash Racing.

Announcements will be made about the 2017 Amgen Tour of California, as well.

This is the second time the sport community has come together for a cycling brand showcase, or localized Interbike, into the local culture in support of the active living/healthy lifestyles. This event will introduce the top cyclist riding for Team Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis and Skyflash, both based in San Diego County; their team clothing, gear, bicycles, sponsors, and provide interviews. “I am excited to support all local companies that support cycling here in San Diego - our home base for 18+ years of competition. Being a part of the 2nd annual San Diego Sport/Cycling Showcase is a first for the Jelly Belly P/B Maxxis cycling team and which we plan to participate in for many years to come,” Danny Van Haute, team manager

“We are excited to host this event for the second year reaching worldwide audiences, online viewers, sports fans and followers of professional cycling. And providing an experience for sport and active lifestyle communities that is unique to San Diego spotlighting the economic impact local professional teams, sport industry manufacturers and causes make on every day lives,” said organizer Ed Clancy, chairman of the Amgen Tour of California San Diego Organizing Committee.

About SDSI

SD Sport Innovators (SDSI) is a non-profit, business accelerator that connects and drives the growth of Southern California's vibrant sports economy by offering elite level networking, and innovative programs and services for start-ups, mature companies and service providers. For more information, visit

About Padres Pedal the Cause

Padres Pedal the Cause is an annual cycling fundraising event with the mission of creating a world without cancer.

The San Diego Padres and Pedal the Cause have joined forces! The two organizations, which first partnered in 2015 and raised $1.3 million for cancer research centers here in San Diego, have partnered to make an even larger impact and pave the way for a cure. For more information, visit

About Amgen Tour of California — San Diego

2017 San Diego Tour of California Local Organizing Committee (SDTOCLOC) is the lead organizer for unify vast interests from the San Diego cycling culture to promote active living locally while integrating itself within the largest professional cycling race in north america – a designated world tour.

The SDTOCLOC includes a vast coalition of San Diego County business owners, stakeholders, politicians, developers, organizational and community leaders to promote our region as the premier host for world class events. For more information, visit