Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center is a nonprofit small business development organization dedicated to helping women and men who traditionally lack access to resources and information to achieve financial self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship. Renaissance provides training, support services, resources, and networks for business owners at every stage of business development, from idea feasibility through start-up, growth, and expansion.
Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center clients reflect the diversity of the Bay Area; 72% are women; 75% are people of color, 90% are low-to-moderate income, and nearly one in eight have disabilities.
Each year Renaissance helps more than 1,500 low-moderate income Bay Area women and men launch and grow over 400 businesses that generate approximately $28 million in revenue.
Renaissance is proud to report that according to MicroTest, an external evaluation service conducted by the Aspen Institute’s Fund for Innovation, Education, Learning and Dissemination (FIELD) program, which assessed clients one year after receiving services:
- 96% of graduates who entered Renaissance with an existing business remain in business.
- 40% of businesses launched or grown by Renaissance graduates employ two or more individuals, in addition to the business owner.
- 58% of clients who came to Renaissance in the pre-launch stage are now operating a business.
- The median gross revenue of our clients who are in business full-time is $60,000.
Renaissance provides the following services through its four locations in South of Market and Bayview Hunters Point in San Francisco, East Palo Alto in the mid-Peninsula, and, as of June 2012, San Rafael in Marin:
Classes and Workshops – Renaissance is well known for its in-depth and comprehensive Small Business Training Program, which provides access to essential business-building tools and information. Practical, hands-on, introductory, business planning and advanced classes taught by Renaissance trained small business owners provide invaluable business information, guidance and support to entrepreneurial women and men throughout the Bay Area, they are often referred to as a “mini-MBA” because of the depth and breadth of our award-winning curriculum and critical support networks clients that form. Classes range in length from four weeks to 14 weeks and include individual consultation, business plan reviews, support groups, performance panels, and post-class facilitated support groups.
Skill Building and Topic Specific Workshops are offered in one-two, three hour sessions and support entrepreneurs in strengthening their skills and knowledge in such areas as marketing, finance, management, goal setting, taxes, hiring employees, contract negotiations, and much more.
Financing Resource Center (FRC) – Renaissance’s FRC provides financial education and access to capital to help small business owners become better managers of their business finances and understand their growth opportunities. The FRC assists individuals, who otherwise could not, access capital necessary for business start-up and growth, by providing loan packaging, connections to banks, non-profit loan funds, and private sources, post loan support, micro-grants and an Individual Development Account (IDA) program. Each year the FRC secures an average of 24 small business loans and lines of credit totaling over $1 million, and operates over 80 IDA accounts.
Individual Consulting – Individual Consulting offers business owners one-on-one tailored advice and professional expertise needed to achieve their goals and respond to the changing demands of their businesses.
Business Incubation – Renaissance provides on-site and virtual business incubation to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Renaissance’s on-site Business Incubator is located in its SoMa Office (275 Fifth Street). It provides business support services, management assistance, and low-cost office space including utilities, shared meeting rooms, office equipment, reception and janitorial services. The Incubator houses a wide range of businesses, from clothing designers to web developers, bookkeepers, and training and attendant placement firms. The Incubator serves 30 businesses owned by 32 entrepreneurs at both the start up and more advanced stages. Our Virtual Incubation Program (VIP) is offered at all three locations and serves business owners who do not need physical office space, yet can benefit from the business support services and affiliation the Incubator provides.
Women’s Business Center – A partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Women’s Business Center (WBC) offers specialized services to the fastest growing sector of small business, women entrepreneurs. Services include training, consulting, industry-specific programs, and business coaching.
Industry Specific Training – Contractor Program - Renaissance offers targeted training, technology resources and customized technical assistance to help local construction industry entrepreneurs (general contractors, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, etc) secure local contract opportunities and build their internal capacities.
Lease Strengthening and Business Attraction – Lease Strengthening and Business Attraction services are offered in Bayview Renaissance to help new and existing tenants and land lords to create firm and fair multi-year leases and bring community serving businesses to the Third corridor.
Technology Training and Access to Technology – Renaissance provides technology training including classes in excel, quickbooks, web design, on-line marketing, as well as access to technology at its small business technology lab located at Renaissance Bayview.