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SDSI: A Year in Review

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  • Bob Rief, Executive Director, SDSI

SDSI’ers, Happy Holidays!  2016…an amazing experience for me, considering I started in the ski business in 1968.

Those “I am gonna retire at 50, no 60, no 70” thoughts have truly been delusional. Here I am, still working, happily on behalf of others! I must say it's easy when Nick, Renne and I have the chance to work with inspirational people like Bill Walton and John Sarkisian. We are all learning to follow in their path by giving freely without expectation!

It was a really good year here. Membership has risen to 103 companies, attendance at the events have been excellent, but more importantly our membership has prospered with their businesses. 

Our Service Providers have been front and center in terms of helping many of our industry companies get it done. We often start these conversations, connecting people, only to learn about the outcomes much later! We believe the best description of SDSI remains “business development organization.”

Our general membership meetings have gained a significant increase in attendance. Our Founders Skill Set series has been very topical and relevant: valuation, real estate, techniques for funding, KickStarter, Amazon workshop…fantastic! In reality, these topics are interesting to a wide variety of members, new and old. Now we all know what "convertible debt" is!

OUR SPONSORS

Springboard continues its amazing trajectory. The combo of mentors and aspiring entrepreneurs this cycle has produced a very significant class. Check out the metrics: 61 graduated companies, $47.5M in funds raised, 390 jobs created and 89% are still in business! Class 9 applications open Jan 2...if you know any emerging companies who can benefit, let them (and us) know.

In 2017 we will sharpen our focus on business related issues. On a high level, we will continue to bring “Founder’s Stories” to the membership.

This year we owe big thanks to prAna’s Beaver, Tony from Liquid Force, Bob Mcknight from Quiksilver, Chris Cramer from Karl Strauss, and Denise Lee Yohn about What Great Brands Do. It takes courage to share successes and failures, but there is no better learning opportunity. If you have not failed in your business life, you are not trying hard enough…but there is no need to repeat what others have experienced!

One BIG initiative is continuing to define our business category. We made up SAL (Sport and Active Lifestyle) Industry…many Companies in the space don’t know they are included in the definition! In reality, our businesses are part of the LOHAS movement: Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability, perhaps known better locally as the San Diego Lifestyle!

We hope to see the categories of membership expand significantly: remember SAL includes healthy living, nutrition, all elements of healthy activities, bird watching to ping pong. Help us spread the welcome to any companies you know that are in the “greater space.”

OUR SPONSORS

In 2017 we will hold Advisory Board meetings in several of the real and very different economic drivers in our space, and see their businesses from a different perspective. We got stated with an amazing visit to Taylor Guitars’ Tecate operation. 

We will get a behind the scenes look at marine science at SeaWorld, see the amazing world of “flying” at San Diego’s Airborne, visit the ultimate millennial sport of Climbing at Mesa Rim, kick the ball around at Surf Cup, talk to the fantastic Peter Ripa about The Farmers Insurance Open and what it takes to make that event go. Our heavily attended Amazon Clinic will get a curtain call with Amazon 2.0.

But SDSI is not about us, it’s about you. Best wishes for 2017. Let us know how we can help you and your business succeed. www.sdsportinnovators.org

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