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Program aims to help African American entrepreneurs

Posted at 5:21 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 20:21:10-04

SAN DIEGO — Eric Rias says he can transform someone's life in as little as twelve weeks - through proper exercise, the right diet, and good mental health.

“My goal is mindset and heart first,” he says.

Rias started a business called Big Mood, where he even does podcasts.

One of his big challenges, however, is spreading the word.

“I'm not good at most things,” Rias says. "I have my small expertise and I need people smarter than me and better than me. I don't want more people who think like me."

Rias says he's made some real connections this year - possibly none more important than Michael Cox.

Cox is a businessman himself, who recently started Black SD Magazine. It's an online publication that highlights African American-owned businesses throughout the San Diego region.

“I just wanted you to be able to see all these beautiful faces of people doing everything from cooking - there's vegan chefs, there's jewelry makers, there's clothing designers,” Cox said.

As part of the magazine launch, Cox created what's called “Catalyst Black.” It’s a three month, free entrepreneurship program to help African-American entrepreneurs grow their own companies.

It started this month with three students - and will repeat each quarter.

“I want them to be at their best when it comes to business,” Cox said. “A lot of people miss out on deals. They miss out on financial growth, because they're trying to figure it out."

Participants learn to come up with business plans, revenue projections, and to be confident enough to stand behind the prices they charge for their services.

Cox said he plans to reopen applications for the next session in September. In the future, he also would like to expand the program to beyond three participants per quarter.