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Home About Us Mission and History

Mission and History

The mission of RenaissanceEntrepreneurshipCenter 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 the promotion of financial self-sufficiency.

1985: 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.

1990: Renaissance launched the first nonprofit small business incubator in Northern California, housing five businesses.

1995: 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.

1997: Renaissance purchased our own building at 275 Fifth Street, San Francisco and expanded our Incubator to 14 emerging businesses and one commercial tenant.
2001: 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.
2005: Expanded our SoMa incubator to serve 24 emerging and established small businesses, and introduced advanced training classes, workshops and consulting services.

2006: Introduced industry-specific training for clients in the Fashion and Construction sectors.

2007: 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.

2008: 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.

2010: Introduced Out of the Box, California’s first entrepreneurship program for formerly incarcerated people.

2011: Launched an offsite entrepreneurship training program in Redwood City and Secure Future$/Futuro$ Securos, a financial education and savings program.

2012: Opened our fourth Center, Renaissance Marin, in San Rafael, introduced an offsite entrepreneurship training program in Daly City and launched Out of the Box in the San Francisco County Men’s Jail.

2013: In partnership with the US SBA, Renaissance Marin became the Marin County Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

2014: Opened a new site in Richmond, CA, and will launch a Small Business Incubator at Renaissance Mid-Peninsula. Renaissance is also expanding our services for lower income women, as we will be providing the programs and services previously offered by Women’s Initiative due its closure.