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Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center helps people turn good ideas into thriving businesses 12.31.2020


Chef Yaqueline Martinez of Yaqueline y Su Sabor Cubano

Chef Yaqueline Martinez launched her own catering company after receiving business training, planning and support from the Richmond nonprofit.

Her business, Yaqueline y Su Sabor Cubano, was just a dream for the Cuban immigrant a decade ago, but it became a reality thanks in large part to small-business training and support from Richmond’s Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center. The organization not only helped her get started with a business plan, licensing and social media presence for catering large and small events, but also helped her pivot during the pandemic and continue to thrive by providing family meals and delivery services.

Entrepreneurship During Pandemic – Kellee Marlow & Sharon Miller  04.23.2020

Interview with Sharon Miller, Renaissance SEO

“If your dream is to start a small business or you already own a small business, this is an important episode for you. Kellee discusses with Sharon Miller, CEO of Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center on what it takes to succeed, including in today’s economic climate. Ms Miller shares the available support whether it is capital raising, networking, online training, etc. that you can access now.”

5 Organizations Supporting Small Businesses, 10.4.2020

“Starting a small business can be extremely daunting. Navigating the moving parts of marketing, manufacturing and accounting, just to name a few, can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, there are numerous organizations with myriad resources that provide expert advice and support to entrepreneurs of all levels…”

“Coming in at #1 is Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, which helps thousands of individuals in the Bay Area achieve personal, financial, and social transformation through the power of small business.”

A Bayview chef’s story of African American migration

By Nneka M. Okona, 10.31.19. Full Article 

Boug Cali

“Carter started her culinary career selling plates at her uncle’s church. Encouraged by success, she decided to go to culinary school to learn both the cooking techniques and the business aspects of the food world. She attended Le Cordon Bleu and in 2017, her Creole food business was born. She called it Boug Cali.” […]

“Since its inception, Carter has held pop-ups in other restaurant spaces and most recently became one of the inaugural food vendors at the Warriors’ new Chase Center. In early 2020, she will be one of the featured restaurants in La Cocina’s forthcoming Tenderloin food hall.” […]

“On her menu you’ll find an assortment of po’boys, gumbo and burritos, all with Creole touches, an intentional decision to pay homage to both her family’s roots throughout the South and her own upbringing in California.” […]

‘Kitchen Royalty spotlights 5 franchise chefs who rule

By Tom Kaiser, 08.21.19. Full Article 

The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen

Based in San Francisco, Heidi Gibson’s American Grilled Cheese Kitchen has grilled up a national following that’s boosted by her popular cookbook. […]

Being this cheesy isn’t easy. There’s little downtime when you’re a new mom, senior director of product management at GoDaddy, a recipe tester for America’s Test Kitchen, as well as a mentor in the small business community and a first-time franchisor with big dreams—but Gibson remains a happy juggler. […]

Further down the line, Gibson dreams of reaching 50 locations—just 47 more to go—as the inflection point where life gets easier as they move beyond bootstrapping into a place where franchise infrastructure begins to take the lead. In this fantastical future with busywork off her plate, Gibson wants to keep giving back to the “little ecosystem” of small business owners she frequents and maybe, just maybe, dust off that business plan for a biscuit-based concept she wrote years ago.. […]

‘Some rich guy saved us:’ SF butcher shop Avedano’s will remain open

By Janelle Bitker, 06.26.19. Full Article 

Avedano’s Meats

Amid a rash of food business closures, one San Francisco neighborhood butcher shop has been saved from the brink of demise by an out-of-the-blue, angel investor, but the owner says small-business survival shouldn’t have to rely on such miracles. […]

Last month, Avedano’s Holly Park Market announced it would permanently close June 30 because of stiff competition from tech companies, uncertainty from the sale of its building and challenges in staffing. […]

The small-business owner said she now has a silent partner who just wants her to continue supporting small farmers and butchering whole animals for the foreseeable future. […]

Churn Urban Creamery Plans Permanent Space for Garden-Fresh Flavors

By Caleb Pershan, 12.12.17. Full Article

Churn Urban Creamery

Rica Sunga-Kwan started her ice cream operation Churn Urban Creamery two years ago in the Outer Sunset, the neighborhood where she grew up. But after trekking her ice cream cart across the city for popups and deliveries to show off flavors made with ingredients from her garden, Sunga-Kwan has found a permanent space for Churn in the Portola District, an area appropriately known as San Francisco’s Garden District in honor of its rich agricultural history. […]

Churn makes about 10 base flavors, many of them — like rosemary olive oil, lemon thyme, and fresh mint chip stracciatella — with ingredients from Sunga-Kwan’s garden plot, Beach Cottage Urban Farm, in the Outer Sunset.[…]

10 Cute Slip-On Travel Sneakers for the Traveler on the Go

By Suzi Siegel, 6.4.19. Full Article

BENDY by Ashbury Skies

Somewhere along the line, women, in their infinite wisdom, decided it was OK for them to wear sneakers with everything, including dresses. As travelers, we are delighted to leave our kicks on instead of having to kick them off, no matter what outfit we’re wearing. […]

The eco-friendly Bendy is part-sneaker, part-flat, fully-perfect! The cushioned footbed is the same as those found in high-performance running shoes. Clearly, you need these to wander sprawling Cairo for days on end without your feet even so much as uttering one complaint.. […]

Beauty Without Waste

By Brooking Gatewood, 5.19.  Full Article & Podcast

Samudra Skin & Sea

What if we didn’t need plastic bottles and toxic ingredients to take care of our hair and skin? This is the premise behind Samudra Skin & Sea, a wild seaweed skincare brand that also cares for the ocean. In this episode we talk with Shilpi Chhotray, an advocate turned entrepreneur who has built Samudra into a thriving, regenerative small business. […]

Shilpi is a friendly force of nature, and in this episode she shares about the pleasures and challenges of running a values-driven business, about how she leverages the Samudra brand to minimize harm from consumer products and raise awareness on bigger global issues like ocean and plastic pollution, and how she balances it all with her day job. […]

SF’s oldest black-owned bar was almost sold, then the community saved it.

By Justin Phillips , 5.3.19. Full Article

Sam Jordan’s Bar

Ruth Jordan imagined walking away from the business would be easy. Most of her adult life had been spent operating San Francisco’s oldest black-owned bar, Sam Jordan’s in the Bayview. But lately, with sales seeming to slow down, the work felt like it was coming to an end. […]

“We’re at this critical point where we have to be more proactive in helping these black-owned businesses by actually going to them,” said Marcus Tartt of the Bayview’s Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center. He has worked with the Jordan family in the past and was surprised to see the property for sale. […]

Jordan said there are still decisions to be made concerning the bar’s future and how to keep it alive moving forward, but for now, she’s content with taking it off the market. “I now see all of these people who support me, support the bar,” she said. “I thought I was finished, I really did. I guess I’m not.” […]

2019 James Beard awards go to El Pípila, Bar Agricole and Benu

By Justin Phillips , 5.6.19. Full Article

El Pípila – Guanajuatan Cuisine

El Pípila, a family-owned operation led by chef-owner Guadalupe Guerrero and her daughters, Brenda and Alejandra, received an award for Outstanding Restaurant Design. […]

El Pípila’s win is a change of pace considering the last two San Francisco restaurants to top the category were Michelin-starred fine-dining establishments […]

San Francisco’s dazzling Mexican restaurant El Pípila and the popular cocktail bastion Bar Agricole were among the stars of Monday’s James Beard Foundation awards ceremony in Chicago, an event the culinary world likens to the Oscars. […]

How Socola built a successful chocolate company in modern San Francisco.

By Leena Trivedi-Grenier , 5.3.19. Full Article

Socola Chocolatier

You’d never know that Lieu was 19 when she started Socola Chocolatier in 2001 with her younger sister, Susan. At the time, she had no idea how to turn a profit or even how to make truffles. She did, however, love chocolate. […]

She also took a business planning course at Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center in San Francisco, where she learned that wholesale alone wasn’t feasible. She wasn’t selling enough volume, and the demos and samples were a lot of effort. It was her sister’s idea to try corporate sales, putting company logos on chocolates, which sell at a higher volume. Around Valentine’s Day, they finished a 3,500 box order for Samsung. […]

“Renaissance made me realize that I needed to have production and retail sales out of the same space so I only had to pay one rent,” Lieu says. “Plus, I enjoy interacting with customers, so I knew I wanted the kitchen space to be open.” […]

Inspiring Business Success, and More, for Bayview Women

By AP, 12.14.18. Full Article

Royal Tee’s Custom Designs and Events

Theresa Wallace discovered her passion for making beautiful things after she was diagnosed with Lupus and had to learn how to live with the pain and suffering of that illness and related ailments. When she met Ericka Scott, Program Coordinator of the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center’s Bayview Women program, Theresa learned that her passion could actually become a business: Royal Tee’s Custom Designs and Events. […]

Designed to serve women where they are, Bayview Women is connecting local residents who can benefit from the opportunity to learn how to start or grow a small business to one another, as well as to the resources they need to generate more income for themselves and their families. Ericka Scott, who Center Director Marcus Tartt has dubbed “The Connector,” is the inspiration behind the program. “This is about more than business planning,” he says. “It’s a peer support group as well, and Ericka really connects with folks.” […]

Share the Spirit: Richmond center boosts budding businesses

Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center helps people launch their own business
By Erin Baldassari, 12.13.18. Full Article

Raven & Rose Hair Salon

[Rebecca & Noel Shabazian] had been comfortable working together at a hair salon in Berkeley and weren’t looking to become owners themselves. That is, until an industry conference in Long Beach changed their minds. It was the first time they saw their own potential, she said.[…]

[T]hey turned to the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center in Richmond, a nonprofit organization with offices around the Bay Area that helps women, people of color, low-income and formerly incarcerated residents own and operate their own businesses. The center doesn’t turn anyone away, but offers low-cost classes and scholarships, said Bret Sweet, the director of the organization’s center in Richmond. […]

Rebecca Shabazian took the first leap: an introductory course at the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center. It was a four-week class, once a week covering business basics, she said. But, it was enough to get the ball rolling. […]

She and her husband [then] enrolled in the next course, this one a bit longer and more focused on retail businesses, she said. The teacher helped them write a business plan, assess the competition, figure out finances and quantify costs. […]

Black Bakers Rising to top in East Bay

African American-owned businesses proliferate, offer entree to food world.
By Justin Phillips, 12.9.18. Full Article

Gregory’s Gourmet Desserts | Crumble & Whisk

The booming businesses are indicative of the rise – and proliferation – of black-owned bakeries in the East Bay. Collectively, they represent a quiet truth about a few-mile swatch east of San Francisco: It is a hotbed for talented black bakers. […]

In recent years [a] new generation of black-owned bakeries has sprouted up: PieTisserie, Gregory’s Gourmet Desserts, and Crumble and Whisk, among others, all of which are scattered across the East Bay in various forms.

Oakland gets a new Filipino hot spot

Openings, closings and more news from the restaurant world
By Justin Philips, 11.25.18. Full Article

FOB Kitchen

Janice Dulce’s wife, Brandi, had to convince her they needed to set a grand opening date for FOB Kitchen, the duo’s new restaurant in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood.[…]

After talking it over, last week they decided to have a grand opening event on Nov. 16 [and officially opened the week of Nov. 25].[…]

FOB Kitchen has been a popular Bay Area pop-up for years, its longest residency being at Gashead Tavern in the Mission. The menu at the FOB Kitchen brick-and-mortar includes the pork lumpia and pork adobo from the pop-up, but now the dishes are served in a larger format, more meant for family-style sharing.

Cali Gold, a 2017 Chronicle Bar Star, created the restaurant’s cocktail menu, which includes a “Juhu Beach Club” option made with Indian rum, chai, lemon, ginger and cardamom.

The Bay Area Gets Its First Shake Shack

And it will have its very own burger, the Golden State Double.
by Nina Friend, 11.15.18. Full Article

McVicker Pickles

The Bay Area’s first-ever Shake Shack, located in the Stanford Shopping Center, is aiming to be open before the end of the year (the official date has yet to be announced), and the menu will feature exclusive items. […]

The Palo Alto lineup will include a burger dubbed “The Golden State Double,” made with two Richards Grassfed Beef patties, white cheddar cheese, and McVicker Pickles bread and butter pickles all sandwiched between a Tartine Bakery sweet potato bun.

The Woman Behind the Coolest Surf Club in Northern California

by Jo Piazza, 11.10.18. Full Article

Traveler Surf Club

Julie Cox, a professional surfer and former director of the California Surf Museum, launched Traveler in 2017 out of necessity. Even though surfers from around the world have long flocked to the breaks at Linda Mar state beach in Pacifica, the amenities are seriously lacking. Aside from the world’s most scenic Taco Bell and a couple of shops, there was no where for surfers to hang, get dry, get warm and chat.

“It was partly out of a need to get warm after surfing in the cold waters of the Pacific ocean,” Cox said. “Buying a home steps from the beach was not in the cards, so we started to brainstorm on how to create a ‘shareable beach shack’ experience that could work for other city surfers.  The idea for a place to clean up, grab a hot shower and get on to the next activity while connecting with others  was the seed for Traveler Surf Club.”[…]

Best of the Bay 2018: Food & Drink Winners

Your picks for Best Burrito, Best Sushi, Best Breakfast, Best Happy Hour, Best Bartender, and more
by Staff, 10.30.18. Full Article

Brenda’s Soul Food

Voted Best Soul Food in the Bay Area 2018

652 Polk, SF



Black Jet Baking Co

Voted Best Bakery in the Bay Area 2018

833 Cortland, SF


Electric Scooters Are Back In SF

Skip And Scoot Are Ready For Primetime
by Megan Rose Dickey, 10.13.18. Full Article



Given the number of scooters Scoot is allowed to deploy, the company chose a relatively concentrated area in which to deploy them, Keating told me. Another consideration for location deployment came down to the number of hills in the area since “it’s not really a San Francisco hill-climbing machine,” as well as ensuring it’s serving an area that’s traditionally under served. And that’s how it landed on the Bayview, where Scoot hosted a media event on Friday.

“Part of the reason we’re here is that we teamed up with this group called the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center,” Keating said. Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, which has been around for 33 years, helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.

“The thought is we want to hire from the communities that we operate in,” Keating said. “And so we wanted to basically make some connections down here and let folks here know that if they want to work on electric vehicles and be part of that kind of green economy that we’re hiring.”

Warriors Sign On Local Food Vendors For New Chase Center

Soul food, Filipino fare, and dumplings will all appear when it opens in 2019
by Ellen Fort, 10.10.18. Full Article

Sarap Shop

A Filipino-American food truck serving comfort food with thoughtful, healthy options. Much of Sarap Shop‘s menu is vegan, with options like tofu sisig alongside more traditional pork belly adobo.



Yvonne’s Southern Sweets

Another sweet Bayview vendor, Yvonne Hines with Yvonne’s Southern Sweets makes southern sweets like pecan brittle, old school butter cookies, miniature lemon pies, and sweet potato and pecan pies.



BOUG Creole Deli

Known for her craby cake po’boys and Lousiana-inspired dishes at her Bayview restaurant, Boug Creole Deli, chef Tiffany Carter is bringing her style of soul food to the big time.




Entrepreneurial Risks Reap Rewards For Gig Economy Women

by AP, 10.9.18. Full Article



Reina knew that she had great party-organizing skills but had never taken the leap to turn her hobby into a career.

“A friend from the neighborhood where I grew up (in Bayview) told me about a Women’s Entrepreneurship program starting up at the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, and that with my talent it would be a great idea for me to come check it out,” Reina explains.

She enrolled in the classes in hopes of making her dream a reality. Now, two years later, Reina is founder and CEO of PartyHapps.

Inside Oakland’s Mid-Century Dinner Party-Inspired Bardo Lounge & Supper Club

The [bar] menu emphasizes spirit-forward cocktails using house-made tinctures and syrups as well as foraged garnishes, all served from eclectic — often gold-embellished — vintage glassware. […]

[The chefs] devoured cookbooks from the 1950s and 1960s, acknowledging that most of the dishes don’t immediately excite but finding inspiration in how home cooks were beginning to embrace the idea of global cuisine.

Paula Tejeda: ¡Desde Chile Lindo con amor!

by AP [Translated from Spanish], 9.26.18. Full Article


Chile Lindo

[Paula Tejeda], founder of the Chile Lindo project, [is] preparing for one of her most ambitious productions: the first edition of “Chilean Cinema in San Francisco”[…].

It all started [when she opened her] empanadaria in San Francisco in 1995. Paula is from a Chilean family, born in New York and raised between both countries, and grew up with a wide knowledge of both cultures.[…]

As the store acquired fame in the cosmopolitan city, Paula shaped the other edge of her enterprise, promoting concerts, generating networks through her newsletter, promoting cycles and conferences linked to Chilean creativity.

The 21 Best Fried Chicken Dishes in San Francisco

Where to find everyone’s favorite comfort food
by Ellen Fort, Daisy Barringer, & Stefanie Tuder , 8.7.18. Full Article

3. Brenda’s Meat & Three

Unlike most closely guarded fried chicken recipes, you can actually get your hands on the secret recipe at Brenda’s French Soul Food. While the crispy chicken is always served with the famous cream biscuit and collard greens, sister spot Brenda’s Meat & Three sets itself apart with a choice of three glorious sides. Whichever location you choose, you’ll be getting legit Southern buttermilk fried chicken that tastes exactly like what you’re imagining right now.


12. Rusty’s Southern

Sweat tea brined fried chicken is always a good choice at chef Rusty Olson’s clean, cozy, dependable Southern joint. Don’t bother telling the folks waiting in line for the (really great!) brunch at Brenda’s down the block a ways — just head over to Rusty’s Southern and get a chicken biscuit brunch for yourself.



19. Little Skillet

If there’s something wrong about eating fried chicken and waffles on a loading dock in an alleyway, then you don’t want to be right. Just follow the smell of sweet waffles to the small window at Little Skillet where there’s bound to be a line of fried chicken fanatics waiting to get their fix.


20. Frisco Fried

The motto of this Bayview Hunter’s Point soul food joint is “fried with pride” and once you bite into their mouthwatering fried chicken, you’ll taste that it’s true. Every piece at Frisco Fried is fried to order, so if you’re in a rush, call ahead. Get ’em by the piece (up to 20 pieces) or make it a dinner pack with sides and muffins.



21. Auntie April’s Chicken & Waffles

Open every day of the week, Auntie April’s is dedicated to serving up some of SF’s best fried chicken. The chicken and waffles is a signature move, offering choice of original, cinnamon or buckwheat waffles, and chicken (leg, thigh, wing, breast). Also available sans waffle, and in sandwich form, don’t forget to snag a side.


25 Ways to Chase Your Perfect Bay Area Summer

by Tony Bravo & Laura Compton, 7.17.18. Full Article

Traveler Surf and Swim Club

[T]he 1½-year-old club/surf shop founded by couple Rel Lavizzo-Mourey and Julie Cox, markets itself as a kind of base camp for out-of-town day visitors looking for a place to shower and clean up post-beach, and then linger to enjoy the funky, low-key atmosphere of the club’s enclosed patio. […]

Located in a strip mall just a five-minute walk from Linda Mar Beach, Traveler’s California coastal boho decor is a little Big Sur in the ’70s with a dash of cool Mexican folk art. Among the items for sale in the shop are Oaxacan painted skulls, handcrafted dream catchers, locally produced surf and beach items, and men’s and women’s apparel from Uroko, Of Earth and Salt as well as Lavizzo-Mourey’s clothing label Silver Lining Bespoke.

Wooden Table Baking: Argentinian Treats Made from Scratch with Love

by Marlow Schindler, 4.4.18. Full Article

Wooden Table Baking Co.

Wooden Table Baking Co. is an Oakland-based, certified LGBT Business Enterprise (LTGBTBE) bakery, dedicated to crafting the finest Argentinian treats. They make alfajores, conitosand bonbons from scratch with high quality, all-natural ingredients. […]

Wooden Table Baking sought counseling from two of the Bay Area’s Women’s Business Centers along the way. Andreas [Ozzuna, Owner and Head Baker] took classes at Women’s Initiative, and her wife Citabria Ozzuna, Director of Marketing, later took classes at Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center. […]

At Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, Citabria took the Business Planning class where she wrote a comprehensive business plan. Paul Terry, a counselor and teacher at Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, was a particularly supportive mentor.

Artist opens shop in SF’s Mission with designs on helping other artists

Full Article


Jenny Lemons

Art is something Lennick knows something about. A native of Minnesota, she moved to San Francisco nine years ago to obtain her master’s degree in painting from the historic San Francisco Art Institute. She’s been working as an independent artist ever since, and now, thanks to her stars aligning just right, Lennick has opened Jenny Lemons, a shop and art-making space along the (also historic) 24th Street corridor. […]

[Jennie] worked with the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center to lock down a $50,000 business loan from a nonprofit that gives qualified small-business owners low-interest loans to open businesses in emerging neighborhoods. She negotiated with a contractor to revamp the space, brighten it up, redo the floors and rewire the electricity. And three weeks ago, Jennie Lennick, a.k.a. Jenny Lemons, taped a sign that read “OPEN” to her front door.