mission & history

About Renaissance

Looking forward to our next 30 years of impacting Bay Area communities, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center is poised to help thousands of individuals achieve personal, financial, and social transformation through the power of small business. A success story of our own for the past three decades, Renaissance has helped open more businesses than any other non-profit in the Bay Area, and according to the Aspen Institute, posts the best record for business longevity. From inception to business planning, access to capital and resources, and ongoing assistance that growing businesses require, Renaissance fuels community vitality by empowering under-served individuals to start businesses that bring jobs, character, and sustainable economic health to the local economy.


Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center transforms lives and communities through entrepreneurship. Our mission is to empower and increase the entrepreneurial capacities of socially and economically diverse women and men, and thereby strengthen our communities through the creation of sustainable new businesses, new jobs, and financial self-sufficiency.




Renaissance launched with Business Planning classes to help very low-to-moderate income women and men start and grow their own small businesses. The organization grew steadily and added Introduction to Business and Advanced Business classes.


Renaissance launched the first nonprofit small business incubator in Northern California, housing five businesses.


Renaissance added our Financing Resource Center to provide technical assistance and loan packaging services to help entrepreneurs who were otherwise unable to access traditional sources of capital.


Renaissance purchased our own building at 275 Fifth Street, San Francisco and expanded our Incubator to 14 emerging businesses and one commercial tenant.


Opened our second Center, Renaissance Bayview, to serve extremely low-to-moderate income emerging and established entrepreneurs in the Bayview-Hunters Point community of San Francisco.


Expanded our SoMa incubator to serve 24 emerging and established small businesses, and introduced advanced training classes, workshops and consulting services.


Introduced industry-specific training for clients in the Fashion and Construction sectors.


Merged with Start Up, an East Palo Alto-based microenterprise organization, creating our third Center, Renaissance Mid-Peninsula, expanding our services to San Mateo County and adding Spanish-language programming.


Introduced offsite entrepreneurship training in Richmond CA, and launched a Mentorship/Protégé program to help Bayview Hunters Point entrepreneurs in the Construction sector secure public and private contracts in their own communities.


Introduced Out of the Box, California’s first entrepreneurship program for formerly incarcerated people.


Launched an offsite entrepreneurship training program in Redwood City and Secure Future$/Futuro$ Securos, a financial education and savings program.


Renaissance introduced an offsite entrepreneurship training program in Daly City and launched Out of the Box in the San Francisco County Men’s Jail.

In partnership with Marin Community Foundation (MCF), Renaissance opened a local entrepreneurship center in San Rafael, providing robust business training and support services, as well as a small business incubator and a food incubator with a commercial kitchen. The Center became Marin County Small Business Development Center (SBDC) host in 2013. Marin SBDC continues to provide one-on-one consulting to local business owners.


Opened a new site in Richmond, CA, and launched a Small Business Incubator at Renaissance Mid-Peninsula. Renaissance expanded our services for lower income women and provided the programs and services previously offered by Women’s Initiative due its closure.


Launched our programs in San Jose.