Best Small Business Resources in the San Francisco Area

Small map with pin depicting San Francisco, CA

Starting a business is a life-changing experience. California has dozens of great resources to help entrepreneurs get started. Our team researched and vetted organizations in the San Francisco area and compiled our list of recommended resources in this article.

You can also read our guide to starting a business in California.

Resources Available in your Area

San Francisco Economic Development Alliance

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Financial

Offers Free Service

Description

The SFEDA offers many services to entrepreneurs starting small businesses, including educational and mentoring programs. This alliance offers numerous workshops, seminars, and other events lead by local professionals and experienced entrepreneurs. Mentoring is available on specific topics such as loan advice or small business skills, and there is a dedicated program for minorities of color. Their financial planning services can help you receive unbiased advice on how to secure funding and what routes are best for your situation. A real estate program can help entrepreneurs secure workspace in a complex market.


AngelPad

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Fundraising
  • Networking

Description

AngelPad is an accelerator program that prides itself on being highly selective—less than 1% of applicants are accepted. For those who do get accepted, they can expect a hands-on program where the AngelPad team will impart all of the knowledge they’ll need to start a successful business. Ranked #1 U.S. Accelerator by MIT, Brown University and the University of Richmond, AngelPad might be a good option for San Francisco entrepreneurs.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

135 Main St., Suite 850
San Francisco, CA 94105


La Cocina

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Business Planning
  • Coworking
  • Product Development

Description

La Cocina is a private incubation center for disadvantaged entrepreneurs who want to launch a culinary venture. The organization is focused on low-income, women, and minority entrepreneurs who may otherwise have difficulty acquiring the assistance needed to start a business. For entrepreneurs still refining their idea, La Cocina offers a commercial kitchen with affordable rental rates. A more intensive incubation service is available to entrepreneurs who demonstrate that they are ready to launch a business (i.e. they have a team in place, the necessary experience, and a concrete plan to move forward).

Restrictions

Incubation is only for low-income entrepreneurs who are business ready. You must attend an orientation and office hours events prior to applying.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

2948 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94110
415-824-2729
apply@lacocinasf.org


Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Coworking
  • Sales & Marketing

Offers Free Service

Description

The Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center was launched in 1985 as a way to provide business planning classes to very low to moderate income individuals. Today, REC offers business planning, co-working space, a women’s business center, and provides scholarships to participants so that low income participants can enroll in classes.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

275 5th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
415-541-8580
info@rencenter.org


Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center WBC

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Fundraising
  • Networking

Description

Women's Business Centers are nationwide programs established by the SBA to assist women in starting small businesses. Some of these centers are combined with other local organizations and use that relationship to offer even more services. Each Women's Business Center has counselors who can provide mentorship and assistance with business planning. Women’s Business Centers also provide a network of other businesses, and some have loan programs available

Restrictions

The Women's Business Centers are, as the name implies, meant for women primarily.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Renaissance Bayview, India Basin Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94124
415-348-6217
faure@rencenter.org


San Francisco SBDC

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Financial

Offers Free Service

Description

The greatest strength of the SBDC is their free, confidential, 1-on-1 business mentoring for anyone who seeks it. Sometimes in order to be considered for mentoring from one of their professional business advisors, you may have to attend a class/workshop or at least present your business plan. SBDC's are located all throughout the state and you should use the SBDC closest to your location if possible, but you can often transfer to a different location if they do not fit your needs.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

1 Dr. Carton B. Goodlett Place, Suite 110
San Francisco, CA 94102


San Francisco SCORE

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Networking

Offers Free Service

Description

SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executives) is a leading, nation-wide organization that has assisted millions of entrepreneurs over its 50+ years of operation. SCORE is a resource partner of the SBA that offers access to a network of experienced business leaders who donate time to mentor entrepreneurs and small business owners. They also host free or inexpensive workshops online and at 300 local chapters around the United States. Mentoring can be conducted either in person or remotely and is always free and confidential, no matter how often you take advantage of this service.


SF LGBT Center

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring

Description

SF LGBT Center works with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender residents in San Francisco to empower them. SF LGBT has two programs available for entrepreneurs and small businesses, counseling and mentorship. The organization also provides a number of online small business workshops.

Restrictions

Serves the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in San Francisco.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

1800 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
415-865-5555
info@sfcenter.org