client outcomes

At Renaissance, we’re committed to empowering our entrepreneurs to achieve their goals.  We track our impact in partnership with the Aspen Institute and the U.S. Microenterprise Census and annually participate in EntrepreneurTracker, a national survey conducted by the Aspen Institute’s FIELD program.  Our outcomes show the incredible impact we have on our clients and their businesses. 

Our Impact

 Who came to Renaissance in the pre-launch stage launched their businesses

Of businesses employ 2.8 individuals, including the business owners themselves

Average increase in household income

Average annual revenues

Our Clients

We are very proud that the majority of our clients identify as members of underrepresented groups, especially in the business world. 


People of color

Low-to-moderate income individuals


Clients Success Stories

Lina Mills

Lina worked in the catering business for 25 years, before going on disability leave for three months due to a back injury. While out on leave, her clients kept calling to ask where she was going next and when they could hire her again.

She came to Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center in 2014 to learn how to start and grow her own business. With the support of Renaissance and her family and friends, she founded Creative Ideas Catering in 2016, a full service catering company with fresh flavors and healthy ingredients. Since then, her business has expanded rapidly and she continues to come to Renaissance for assistance.

In November 2018, with the assistance from the Renaissance Financing Resource Center, Lina received a loan for $975,000 to purchase a commercial space for her business. She has retained 10 jobs through her business, and was honored for her hard work at Renaissance’s annual Small Business Big Impact event, as Entrepreneur of the Year. Lina   is currently enrolled in Renaissance’s class, Comenzar un Negocio con Confianza, with plans to expand into a café space.


Kavitha Raghavan

Kavitha, a native of Chennai, India, joined the Business Planning Class in the spring of 2013 to explore her idea of pairing her love of wine with classic Indian street food from her hometown.

She thrived in the class, and won the “Best Business Plan” award at the graduation ceremony at the end of the class. Indian Paradox began as a small venture and after much preparation, including partnering with the right chef to execute her vision, acquiring seed funding, and finding the perfect location, Indian Paradox opened in 2016. The restaurant/wine bar received immediate media attention from places like SF Eater, KQED and SF Weekly, and is highly ranked on Yelp.

Since her opening, Kavitha has continued to receive services from Renaissance and has volunteered to help other Renaissance emerging business owners. She was also nominated by Renaissance to receive a grant through the San Francisco Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund, which she was awarded in August of 2019. This grant will allow her to expand her outdoor seating and allow more customers to enjoy Kavitha’s pairings!


Wendy Lieu

Wendy, owner of Socola Chocolatier, first starting making chocolates with her sister as a teenager. After college, Wendy worked in marketing while continuing to run Socola (which means “chocolate” in Vietnamese, where her family is from) in her free time. She finally decided to quit her job and go full time with the business, starting by attending pastry school.

Once she mastered the chocolate-making element of her business, she was ready to move on to running the business itself. She first came to Renaissance for assistance in 2012, and joined our Business Planning Class. She started working out of a commercial kitchen and selling her chocolates wholesale, including making large corporate sales.

The next step was opening the café and chocolate shop, which Wendy accomplished in 2014. Her shop, located in SoMa, offers a wide variety of chocolates and truffles, all made by Wendy and her team. The flavors she uses are unique and many are inspired by her Vietnamese heritage, including Sriracha, black sesame, guava and more.