San Diego Lifestyle Leaders

We honor the forward thinking businesses that turned the San Diego Lifestyle into an industry. Without them, we wouldn’t have the community we do today.


• San Diego SAL companies already account for $1.4 Billion in economic activity with much, much more in untapped potential

• SAL companies range from golf cart manufacturers to yoga brands to health and fitness apps to wetsuit manufacturers and everything in-between

• San Diego is perennially #1 in America in its percentage of 18 to 34 year olds

• San Diego ranks #2 among the top 25 leading cities in America in patents per 1000 of population

• The Sport and Active Lifestyle (SAL) industry already directly employs over 37,000 people in San Diego, with tens of thousands more working in adjacent industries

• The sum of the SAL companies' activities comprise what is widely known as the “San Diego Lifestyle"

Want to dive deeper into the stats? Visit the EDC dashboard for more exciting statistics about San Diego, that you probably didn't know!

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the attributes that make San Diego the natural home for the Sport and Active Lifestyle industry. Join a likeminded group that's invested in San Diego's rich entrepreneurial spirit and passion for truly living life to the fullest!

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

Welcome! Come on in...
A note from SDSI Executive Director, Bob Rief

Hey, Welcome to SDSI... San Diego Sport Innovators is the local business development group focused in on Sport, Active and Healthy Lifestyle companies. The sum of our members businesses are what’s commonly known as ‘the San Diego lifestyle.” Hike, bike, surf, kite, skate, fly, hit balls or catch them, swim, paddle, run, moto, desert, whatever, its why we live in San Diego and its why there is an SDSI.  If you run a company like this, or work in one, or want to work in one, or better yet, start one, San Diego is the place and we are here to help.

SDSI is a business development group that is focused on the SAL business, “Sport and Active Lifestyles.”  We are a membership organization comprised of Industry members and the Service providers that make the wheels go around. Our industry members range from very small sandal companies to very big companies like GoPro. Our service providers run the gamut as well, from small-business focused bookkeeping firms to multinational Law Firms, Banks and Investment Bankers. There are three classes of membership: Board of Directors, Advisory Board and General.  The fee structure is low. Each group meets no less than 4 times a year. Major events are attended by all.

And what do we do….?

We work non-stop on making San Diego the capital of the SAL Industry. Just as Boulder is the Capital of Outdoor, San Diego should be the Capital of the SAL industry. We are adjacent to the “new China” called Mexico, number 3 in car exports, number 1 in beer, and 5000 miles and 15 time zones closer than the “old China.”  To the east we have the mountains and deserts and all the fun things that come with them. To the west, the Pacific…what can I say? And to the north, Camp Pendleton and 8,000 Marines keeping the Orange and LA Counties up there, away from our peace and serenity!

San Diego is the perfect work ecosystem! Bring your business, bring your self, start a business…this is the place.

But that's not all. We provide Executive Networking, for instance, connecting an emerging company with sales momentum with a local Investment group to fund growth.  We do this actively every day. If we can help connect, that's what we do!

Our executive education programs have been very successful. In 2015 we met Jeff Kearl, the Founder of Skullcandy and Stance, Bob McKnight, the Founder of Quiksilver, Beaver Theodaskis, Founder of prAna, and the amazing Guy Kawasaki, Apple’s first marketer and Jeff Harbaugh, a very well-known consultant, journalist and skate iconoclast. The goal is to send everyone home just a bit smarter that they arrived. Seems to work!

Last but most importantly, we run the SDSI Springboard Program. This amazing program serves startups by providing a 20 week mentoring program that converts dreams to business plans. Our Mentors understand this special “space” called SAL and have played a role in helping many companies get started..61 in fact, and they have accessed a little over $47.5 million in capital! Perhaps the most notable Springboard metric: 89% of our graduating companies remain in business. That is truly amazing!

So the strength of SDSI is membership. If you are not a member, email, call, come in; the more of us, the better.  Join us in making San Diego the best place to live and work anywhere!



Header Photo: Aaron Checkwood