From finding good funding sources to searching for the best small business mentors, there’s no doubt that searching for inventor and entrepreneur resources in good old San Francisco (aka. Old Golden Mountain) can be such backbreaking work!
That’s why here at Bold Patents, we created this comprehensive guide. This way, all small businesses in San Francisco know exactly where to start before they protect and bring to market their visionary ideas!
So without further ado, here are the top 23 essential resources for entrepreneurs and inventors in San Francisco.
The University of San Francisco School of Management for Undergraduates is a three-time winner of the top 20 U.S. business schools. From public-service internships to volunteer outreach programs, all of its students actively participate in becoming better business people and people in general.
They are an AACSB-accredited institution, which is considered the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide.
As of 2019, the USF ranked #23 in Entrepreneurship, #27 in Marketing, and #35 in Finance according to U.S. News.
Phone #: (415) 422-2221
The College of Business at San Francisco State is a leading public business education institution in the San Francisco Bay Area.
It is an accredited AACSB International institution committed to sustainable business, diversity, social justice, and global partnerships.
As of now, it is ranked #16 by the Aspen Institute for its emphasis on, “integrating social and environmental stewardship into curricula and research”. It is also ranked #8 by the Princeton Review in the category, “Greatest Opportunity for Minority Students.”
Phone #: (415) 338-1276
Offices for Small Businesses
Directed by the Small Business Commission, the Office of Small Business (OSB) and its Small Business Assistance Center (SBAC) helps entrepreneurs and small businesses in San Francisco by offering one-to-one business assistance such as registration, permit and license assistance, and referral to business resources such as loans and technical assistance.
At this time, they are offering two programs: one called the Kiva Loan Program, which helps businesses find additional sources of funding, and one called the accessible business entrance program, which helps those with disabilities be able to continue on with their daily lives running a business.
Phone #: (415) 554-6134
The San Francisco Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a results-oriented program that gives businesses advice on how to best run a business in San Francisco. They also host free to low cost workshops in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese.
In addition, they help small businesses especially prepare the documents needed in order to get funding.
It is part of the Northern California SBDC network and is hosted by the City and County of San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. This way, every entrepreneur and business owner in the area has a chance to succeed.
- The San Francisco Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides free one-on-one consulting and business training to help entrepreneurs start and expand businesses in San Francisco.
- SBDC consultants are professionals with extensive experience in assisting business owners across a wide variety of industries and are able to assist with all aspects of a business’s management and growth.
- SBDC’s consulting services are available in English, Spanish and Chinese.
” — Jessica Qian Wan, Case Manager at SBDC
Phone #: (415) 937-7232
invent Right is a local San Francisco inventor group geared to helping inventors bring their innovative ideas to life. Since 1999, they’ve been teaching inventors one-on-one how to find the right companies that will want to license their ideas, how to protect their business ideas, and how to negotiate the best licensing deals possible.
Every Thursday, they host a series of classes that teaches inventors how to patent their ideas the right way, as well as how much should they spend exactly on filing their idea (or invention) for a patent before officially testing it out in the market.
Because inventRight is predominantly a teaching group, it does take any money on whatever products (or ideas) manage to sell well in the market. Instead, they let all of its participates keep whatever it is that they’ve made.
Phone #: 1-800-701-7993
The California Invention Center (CIC) is a non-profit organization created by former inventor Lawrence Udell in order to help inventors get their ideas to market safely and effectively. To do this, they teach inventors how to, “draw on new and existing technologies in order to address societal needs and economic opportunities” before they officially meet with a patent attorney.
Since August 1995, the CIC has been the only “Invention Center” in America co-sponsored by the government, industry, and academia.
They’ve even worked with several Fortune 500 companies on, “renewing new invention/products through the CIC Idea Evaluation Service (IES)” according to its website.
The Modern Inventors of SF are a group of tech inventors dedicated to helping other inventors bring their ideas to life as quickly and efficiently as possible.
It was founded on October 3rd, 2016. In addition to hosting meetings at Noisebridge, the Modern Inventors of SF utilize tools such as 3D printing, Arduino, makerspaces, and many others.
According to their Meetup page, the first half of each meeting is dedicated to discussing the Modern Inventors of SF’s latest inventions whereas the second half is geared to helping teams get together and come up with an idea for an invention that would solve a “specific problem.”
V LAB is a non-profit organization in San Francisco that connects entrepreneurs, founders, industry experts, and investors with ideas and technologies that have, “the potential to disrupt industries and create opportunities.”
Since 1990, V LAB is well-known for giving panel discussions on “examining industry-disrupting innovations from varying perspectives.”
These discussions have since then been very popular in the Silicon Valley region.
On the first Tuesday of every month, the group hosts a monthly pitch and planning meeting at 7:00 pm. This way, business people know exactly what to do before figuring out how much patents costs.
The Black Founders group is an entrepreneurial tech organization geared to helping black entrepreneurs get the support and success that they need to succeed in San Francisco’s competitive business environment.
To do this, they host a series of events such as the HBCU Hackathons, where students from historically black colleges and universities come together to practice their coding skills and work together with other teams to build mobile apps and web software.
They also provide founders with access to advice, mentorship, and funding.
The Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center in San Francisco is a place geared to help thousands of entrepreneurs and inventors, “achieve personal, financial, and social transformation. ”
To do this, they help businesses plan, figure out where to get capital and resources and provide them with ongoing assistance.
According to its website, “Renaissance has helped open more businesses than any other non-profit in the Bay Area.” It also posts the best record for business longevity according to the Aspen Institute.
“One aspect that makes Renaissance unique is our longevity – we have been serving Bay Area entrepreneurs for over 30 years, and we’ve been building and refining our curriculum for classes that entire time. We also have multiple offices in San Francisco (SoMa and Bayview), Richmond, and East Palo Alto so we are able to provide services in multiple cities.We have a monthly networking event called Women Mean Business, and for March/Women’s History Month, we are hosting two of these events for the price of one! I have attached a flyer (don’t know if you’d need those) and the link to register for both events is here: https://conta.cc/2T0ARtt
. Other events can be found on our calendar (this is the easiest way to see what classes and workshops we’re offering)” — Erin Morris at Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center in San Francisco
Phone #: (415) 541-8580
Led by Andi Galpern, Cascade SF is a community of thousands of product and experience designers in Silicon Valley. They teach other tech designers everything there is to know about today’s technological world from artificial intelligence to product design and meet product leaders, engineers, and entrepreneurs.
From there, Cascade SF connects designers with job opportunities and help them find ways to utilize their skills outside of technological designing.
In the past, they have hosted classes and talks such as how to apply machine learning to everyday, non-technical problems.
“We are an experience design organization based out of the Bay Area. We teach designers how to create exceptional experiences for apps and websites. We also run a mentor program for designers to connect with leaders in the industry.” — Andi Galpern at Cascade SF
SCORE SF is a non-profit organization geared to mentoring entrepreneurs and other business people one-on-one in areas such as accounting, finance, marketing, management, and business plan preparation.
They offer face-to-face and online counseling at no cost from its offices in downtown San Francisco and selected Chambers of Commerce in San Mateo and Marin.
They also host a series of free to low-cost workshops geared to helping businesses get to where they should be. So far, they have helped restaurants, mobile developers, nonprofits, and many others get the support that they need in order to succeed. They’ve even helped government contractors get the help that they need.
Phone #: (415) 764-4964
SF IABC(San Francisco International Association of Business Communicators) is a thriving and diverse community of communications professionals and volunteers in the Bay Area geared to helping businesses succeed in today’s competitive economic environment.
In addition to offering networking, professional development and volunteer opportunities at events in San Francisco, they also offer ongoing education and certification resources available through IABC international.
Since 2003, they hosted a networking event called Networking 9, which aims to help business people, “explore new ideas, share real-world challenges, and build deeper IABC relationships.”
Girls in Tech is a non-profit group in San Francisco that focuses on nurturing women entering high-tech industries and building startups.
It offers a wide variety of program, including coding and entrepreneurship boot camps, hackathons, and networking/co-working events that are free or low-cost.
For instance, an HTML & CSS boot camp costs $20 fee in order to access the course content. Once a year, Girls in Tech participate in a code-a-thon called Hacking for Humanity.
Alchemist Accelerator is an accelerator that, ” focuses narrowly on enterprise-focused startups and works with less than half the number of companies in a year” according to Bizjournals.
It was founded by Stanford University lecturer Ravi Belani in 2012. In 2017, it was ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the best accelerators.
In addition to hosting a Demo-Day, the accelerator also provides businesses a small cash investment.
The San Francisco Accelerator is an accelerator that focuses on helping businesses with, “traction building, growth hacking, creating disruptive business models and formulating a strong vision for the company’s future” according to its website.
It was founded in 2014. Since then, it has been known as one of the best accelerators in the region.
Because of its record very high success and funding rates, the accelerator provides online programs to help startups all over the world become the best that they could possibly be.
InnoSpring is one of the first Chinese American incubators in the United States. It is funded exclusively by leading growth funds in China and in the United States.
Since 2012, it has helped companies such as Northern Light Venture and Legend Capital access top businesses resources related to planning, funding, and strategizing at a very early stage of their development.
According to Entrepreuer.com, InnoSpring is ranked as one of the top 10 Global Accelerators. Since then, they have headquarters in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Germany, Kunshan, Nantong, and Shanghai.
Otherwise referred to as the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, QB3 is a non-profit life science incubator geared to helping startups (especially university graduates) patent their ideas in the most efficient way possible. This way, they can create the jobs and products needed to help benefit those in and outside of the life science community.
It was founded in late 2000 by Governor Gray Davis.
Since then, it has spread to the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute, the Berkeley Home of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, and UCSF (University of San Francisco).
Phone: (415) 514-9790
From Blue Apron to Uber, First Round Capital has helped provide funding and other services to company founders the moment that they are built from scratch.
Instead of splitting angel, seed and pre-seed funding into separate categories, First Round Capital helps companies give them the financial support and mentorship that they need in order to succeed.
They also host the First Round Angel Track, which is, “a community and masterclass for exceptional emerging angels” wanting to build their skills as early-stage investors.
i/o Ventures is a seed funding group in San Francisco that works closely with founders to help them launch their products, share their work with others, and provide revenue growth and fundraising for them.
Each member has either recently or is currently running a technology company. This way, they’re able to work with other companies with making sure that they get the start that they need in order to succeed.
For those interested in getting additional support, i/o Ventures offers a three-month program with three months optional for those who want to continue utilizing their space and service.
As one of the very few seed funding groups in the area to support foreign founders, The Refiners dedicates its time and money each and every day to helping businesses get to where they need to be.
To do this, they give members investment capital, comfortable co-working spaces and mentor support from top Silicon Valley executives, entrepreneurs, investors, and other notable tech business leaders.
Image Source: Top 17 San Francisco Co-Working Spaces
From Canopy to Mindspace, investors and entrepreneurs can choose from a multitude of shared coworking spaces.
For more information, please read our article, Top 17 San Francisco Co-working Spaces.
In the article, we provide an in-depth explanation of all the different types of co-working spaces available in San Francisco!
For those looking for a variety of business resources that they can borrow for free, the San Francisco Public Library offers everything that an entrepreneur might need on how to plan, finance, organize, operate and market a small business.
These resources can found in The Small Business Center of the library and are provided by grants from the Fuhrman Fund.
In 2018, this library won the Library Journal’s “Library of the Year” award.
San Francisco Patent Attorneys
Located near Silicon Valley, the Bay Area is considered one of the hottest places for innovation and creativity.
As such, we understand the difficulties of growing your ideas and business in such a competitive market like San Francisco’s.
That is why we exist; to help our clients through the legal processes of intellectual property.
About Bold Patents:
Known for serving the bold and the brave nationwide, Bold Patents has been helping its clients get the patents that they need in order to make their business ideas (and inventions) a reality.
Because they focus only on patents, they are able to find the lawyer(s) that best fit a certain company’s needs.
If you would like to know more about what a patent is and what the steps for finding the patent that’s right for your invention, then check out this article on what is a patent.
There you have it, everyone! A list of all the different resources available to inventors and entrepreneurs that exist in the Bay Area.
- University of San Francisco School of Management – A three-time winner of the top 20 U.S. business schools
- San Francisco State University College of Business – A leading public business education institution in the San Francisco Bay Area
- Offices for Small Businesses
- Office of Small Businesses in San Francisco – An organization that offers one-to-one business assistance such as registration, permit and license assistance, and referral to business resources such as loans and technical assistance
- San Francisco Small Business Development Center – A results-oriented program that hosts free to low cost workshops in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese
- Inventor Groups
- inventRight – A business teaching group that allows students to keep whatever earnings they made from their products
- California Invention Center – The only “Invention Center” in America co-sponsored by the government, industry, and academia since August 1995
- Modern Inventors of SF – A group of tech inventors who often meet at Noisebridge
- Entrepreneur Groups
- V LAB – A non-profit business organization in San Francisco well-known for its panel discussions on “examining industry-disrupting innovations from varying perspectives”
- Black Founders – Anentrepreneuriall tech organization geared to helping black entrepreneurs get the support and success that they need
- Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center – A networking group that, “has helped open more businesses than any other non-profit in the Bay Area”
- Cascade SF – A community of tech designers that teachers other tech designers everything there is to know about today’s technological world from artificial intelligence to product design skills
- SCORE San Francisco – A non-profit organization that offers face-to-face and online counseling at no cost from its offices in downtown San Francisco and selected Chambers of Commerce in San Mateo and Mari
- SF IABC – A thriving community of communications professionals and volunteers that offers ongoing education and certification resources available through the IABC international
- Girls in Tech – A non-profit group in San Francisco that focuses on nurturing women entering high-tech industries and building startups
- Alchemist Accelerator – An accelerator that, ” focuses narrowly on enterprise-focused startups and works with less than half the number of companies in a year”
- The San Francisco Accelerator – An accelerator that focuses on helping businesses with, “traction building, growth hacking, creating disruptive business models and formulating a strong vision for the company’s future”
- InnoSpring – One of the first Chinese American incubators in the United States
- QB3 – A non-profit life science incubator geared to helping startups (especially university graduates) get their ideas to market in the most efficient way possible
- Seed Funding
- First Round Capital – A group that combines angel, seed and pre-seed funding altogether
- i/o Ventures – A seed funding group in San Francisco that works closely with founders to help them launch their businesses while running their own
- The Refiners – A San Francisco-based sector-agnostic / generalist seed fund program and accelerator that focuses mainly on helping foreign business owners succeed
- Shared Co-Working Spaces
- 17 Co-working spaces in San Francisco – Please read the article, Top 17 San Francisco Coworking Spaces
- Library / Libraries
- The San Francisco Public Library – An award-winning library that offers a multitude of free business resources
- Patent Attorneys / Lawyers
- Bold Patents – Your future go-to place for protecting your invention for years to come
In the meantime, tell us, what other resources would you recommend to your fellow entrepreneurs and inventors in San Francisco? Please let us know in the comments below!