While we are proud to work toward larger changes that make San Diego a more inclusive place to work, live, and build, intentionally purchasing from or supporting Black-owned small businesses is something tangible everyone can do to make San Diego more equitable and sustainable.
To get your list started, here are 8 Black-owned San Diego small businesses, startups, restaurants, & groups you should know. There’s something for everyone:
We Tha Plug was launched in February 2019 as a meetup group to connect and empower Black, Latino, other minorities & underrepresented founders as well as Minority Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors in the Startup, Tech & Innovation space. One of their goals is to create an ecosystem that advocates tech and innovation entrepreneurship in Black & Latino communities across the United States and across the world by giving founders access to startup fundamental education, advice, mentorship, programming, and funding.
If you’re not hungry right now, you will be – just check out their Instagram. With a focus on plant-based breakfast and brunch in the East Village, Spoiled Vegans serves up all kinds of decadent waffles, breakfast sandwiches, and omelettes. They recently reopened for curbside pick-up, but have been selling out quickly – sometimes in less than 15 minutes. Find more information on their Instagram page – and be sure to set your alarm.
Oceanside-based MOTU Innovation is a leader in ship repair & engineering support services. The team provides a broad background in ship repair trade knowledge, as well as shipboard system design and engineering. Learn more.
Launched in North Park in 2014, owners Ron Suel and RaVae Smith serve up Southern classics like Southern style fried chicken, waffles, fried green tomatoes, grit fritters, and indulgent cakes. Its name an homage to the historical local streetcar system that once connected North Park to the rest of San Diego, StreetCar’s interior also features vintage photos and reclaimed wood. If you’re downtown, you can try sister restaurants SuckerFree, or Shotcaller Street Soul Food, which opened in late 2019.
Founded by Janice Brown, who was recognized as trial lawyer of the year by the Department of Justice & a California Black Lawyer of the Year, Brown Law Group is a leading Southern California litigation law firm specializing in all aspects of employment and business litigation. With major clients including Allstate Insurance Company, CenturyLink, Conduent, Liberty Mutual, NBC, Toyota, and United Parcel Service, the group has built a reputation as a small firm that attracts big clients. Brown Law Group attributes much of its success to the confidence of these major employers. Additionally, Brown Law Group has provided pro bono services to I Love A Clean San Diego (ILACSD) to further promote regional awareness of environmental issues.
El Cajon-based Café X is a worker-owned coffee shop and co-op based in San Diego that aims to enrich its member-owners, pass on communal wealth and knowledge, and provide welcoming space to organize and learn. Café X is part venue for delicious coffee and baked goods, part local art gallery, part event space – and all equitable and cooperative community relationship-building. The cafe hosts community events and local educational support for community members, run by those who are committed to equalizing knowledge.
In 2017, with children on the way and their health in mind, San Diego sisters Martiza, Sativa, and Kaya started making their own products with using plant-based ingredients, like activated charcoal, earth clays, essential oils, and herbs. From there, Dirt Don’t Hurt began. The company takes a natural approach to personal care and cleaning products, which are 100% vegan and cruelty free, and can be found at markets, boutiques, and grocery stores throughout Southern California.
Launched by Dr. Steven Moyo, Welfie is an app that makes health accessible and affordable. Dr. Moyo, who works at UC San Diego Health, wanted to do more to help people engage, connect, learn, and access preventative help. Due to COVID-19, he has pivoted the company to incorporate an all-encompassing COVID-19 reopening portal – which offers employers no-contact health screenings and an eCommerce store to order PPE.
This is just a sampling of San Diego’s many Black-owned businesses. To find more, we encourage you to visit:
- Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce
- Buy Black SD
- San Diego Magazine
- Travel Noire
- Locale Magazine
If you are a Black entrepreneur or business owner in San Diego and we can help connect you to resources, programs, or other assistance, please contact us here.
Other articles you might be interested in:
- Mark Cafferty: Recovery through an inclusive lens
- Reopening San Diego’s small businesses [free guides]
- Inclusive Growth, a timeline of EDC’s work