2020 Women's Venture Summit
A networking panel during the 2020 Women’s Venture Summit. Courtesy of the organizers

The annual Women’s Venture Summit, a nationwide effort focused on helping women-led startups, will be held Sept. 17-18 with seven finalists competing for a $10,000 investment plus $35,000 in business services.

Pree Walia of Preemadonna, the maker of Nailbot, an intelligent at-home manicure in San Diego, is one of the final seven competing in this national competition.

UC San Diego Extension, UC San Diego Rady School of Management, and UC San Diego Office of Innovation and Commercialization are among the sponsors for this national fast pitch competition.

According to a spokeswoman, Stella Labs, Stella Angels and Ad Astra Ventures, co-hosts for the event, intentionally included overlooked regions like the Midwest, which received very low amount of funding in 2020.

The virtual event will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 17-18 with an in-person viewing option to be held at The Well – Community for Women in La Mesa.

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And speaking of awards…Commercial internet service provider Cox Business will hold its 14th annual Top Tech Awards, which recognize entrepreneurs in San Diego trying to bring cutting-edge technologies to market, on Sept. 16. The event will be a virtual this year.

Interested viewers can catch the ceremonies by registering to view the event.

Chris Petersen, chief technology officer, Scientist.com will served as the judging chair of awards ceremony.

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More help for small business. A spokeswoman for high end tequila maker Volcán de Mi Tierra, sponsor of National Tequila Day held in late July, has spent the summer connecting with San Diego small business owners.

Volcán, a unit of Moët Hennessy, provided up to $10,000 in resources to three local owners to help grow their businesses after a difficult year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The spokeswoman said recipients of the “give-back” program were Alexandra Perez of Simón Limón; Kaya, Sativa, and Maritza Murray of Dirt Don’t Hurt; and Pablo and Jen Smith of Soul Grind Skate Shop.

The tequila label says it has established relationships with more than two dozen small business owners in San Diego this summer.

On Sept. 16, Mexican Independence Day, Volcán will hold a private party to celebrate Mexico’s history and culture with the unveiling of Paola “Panca” Villasenor’s latest mural. The mural, which will be accessible to the public via Niagara Avenue, “will serve to spotlight Mexico’s ties to San Diego — its people, artisans and entrepreneurs,” according to a press release.

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The just-opened Synergy Centre co-working space in Southeastern San Diego recently invited Councilmember Monica Montgomery along with other officials and community leaders to discuss expansion of the center to benefit the southeastern portion of the city.

The space is owned and operated by Bay Vista Corp., which has two locations in Escondido.

Bay Vista CEO Cheryl Lee told the gathering that she hopes the site will provide a collaborative environment for new businesses and help revitalize commerce in what is now an underserved area.

She added that she hopes the center will become the long-needed business and technology hub that will help uplift business in the community. 

The center provides rentals of office space, conference rooms and workspace for individuals, entrepreneurs and business owners.

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The owner of Pacific Beach’spopular Coffee Cycle says he is expanding into coffee roasting as he approaches his fourth year in business.

Chris O’Brien also changing the name of the business to Coffee Cycle Roasting.

O’Brien said the pandemic created a new playing field for businesses like Coffee Cycle.  

“Our cafe became a community safe haven through the toughest parts of the past year and a half, as it provided a sense of normalcy in a very not-normal time,” he said. “But we haven’t been immune to all of the negative impacts either.”

O’Brien spent seven years at Bird Rock before opening his own business on the back of his bicycle in 2017.

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Oceanside Harbor Days, considered this city’s longest running social event, will be held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept 18-19. The list of festivities includes music, food, arts, and crafts displays, not to mention a car show, kids costume party and adult beer garden.

Genentech, Tri-City Medical Center and The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians are presenting the event, which has been organized by the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce.

Organizers will provide free shuttles to the event. Buses will ferry attendees within the harbor and offer pick-ups and drop-offs at the Oceanside Transit Center.

If you’re interested in showcasing your business there, click here.

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New Village Arts, one of the North County’s cultural gathering spots, has launched a $2.5 million fundraising effort to renovate the theater, which is located in Carlsbad Village.

Thanks to support from the Conrad Prebys Foundation and the Sahm Family Foundation, the campaign has raised $2 million, with just $500,000 remaining to meet its goal, according to a spokeswoman. 

The renovation features exterior upgrades plus an expanded lobby and new box office. The work will increase audience capacity, too. The renovation is expected to be completed by next summer.

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ALDI, which claims to be the “value leader” among U.S. grocery stores for the past 10 years, is opening a store in Ramona on Sept. 16The opening is part of the retailer’s aggressive expansion plan to open 100 new stores nationwide this year.

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Finally….Soapy Joe’s, San Diego’s popular car wash, is opening its 15th location in Mission Valley on Friars Road this week.

The event is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 15 at 10383 Friars Road.

Free car washes will be available during the event, and motorists will have the opportunity to sign up for discounts on future washes.

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based independent journalist who specializes in writing about business and the economy. If you have news tips you’d like to share, send them to tom.york@gmail.com.