Just so our readers can get to know you a little better, can you please give us a little background on who you are and what your role is at SDSI?
My name is Renne Catalano Gussman and I am the Director of Business Development and Membership Services. I have the greatest job in the world because I get to work with our community of Sport Active Lifestyle and Healthy Living business owners, executives, and entrepreneurs to help them reach their goals and their businesses thrive.
Can you please tell us more about SDSI? What does the organization do?
SDSI is a nonprofit focused on making San Diego the capital of the Sports, Active Lifestyle and Healthy Living (SAL) community. We have created a business community of entrepreneurs, founders, community and business leaders to support the growth of the SAL industry. The consequence of our community is the San Diego Lifestyle we all live and love. Our community is comprised of 125 member companies and nearly 100 volunteer Mentors. We work with companies of all sizes including young companies that are just getting started, to larger companies like Sun Bum, Taylor Made, Reef, Sony, Padres and everything in between. We talk a lot about the power of community and SDSI exists to harness the collective knowledge and resources to the benefit of our members and the industry. More specifically, we offer programs and services that facilitate knowledge sharing, executive learning, cross vertical collaboration, and business mentoring.
What else would you like people to know about SDSI?
Our people are what makes SDSI so amazing. We are a community of individuals that all care deeply about San Diego, our Active Lifestyle and supporting one another in reaching goals. it’s an eclectic group – that is for sure – that it is overflowing with deep industry experience, knowledge, and the willingness to share those experiences to help others make a few less mistakes. Our mentoring programs are possible due to the dedication of nearly 100 executive level mentors that donate thousands of consulting hours each year… Incredible! And all this happens within the realm of Sports, Active Lifestyle and Healthy living… it doesn’t get much better than that!
Who do you know at Primary Funding? How did that relationship come about?
Daniel Lozier is an amazing human and educator. I met Daniel years ago, I don’t recall exactly how we crossed paths, but he asked me to join his monthly surfing networking group and we have been in touch ever since. Daniel is always looking to bring people together to support one another. Perhaps that is what ultimately attracted Daniel to joining the SDSI Community. Daniel and Primary Funding have been members of SDSI for years. Daniel is a very trusted resource to our membership and an exceptional educator to entrepreneurs who are trying to understand all the options to grow and fund their businesses.
If someone wants to learn more about SDSI, what should they do?
People can always contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org! There are lots of ways to learn about what’s going on at SDSI and our community. Sign up for our Monthly Newsletter, listen to our Podcast Views from the Bus where our Executive Director Bob Rief interviews industry legends and execs including the founders of prAna, Liquid Force, Sanuk and more. Our website is a great place to learn more about our leadership, our members, our mentoring programs and how to get involved.
Any parting thoughts or information you’d like to share?
We are currently accepting applications for our Accelerator business mentoring program. So, if you have or know of an established company that is looking to scale, you can learn more here. There is still time to apply! Our Accelerator program has really powerful metrics: our nearly 100 graduates have raised $86.8M in capital, 80% are still in business and have created 600 jobs! Have I mentioned how incredibly dedicated and experienced our mentors are? We also offer mentoring programs for companies in pre-revenue stage and larger established companies that are looking for specific and confidential mentoring to work through a pivot, opportunity or challenge. Learn more about all our mentoring programs here.