Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: San Jose, CA

San Jose

San Jose may share the bay area with San Francisco, but it ranks second place in Dell’s Top Cities for Women Entrepreneurs and ranked sixth in the nation for entrepreneurial growth!

San Jose, CA, known as the “Capital of Silicon Valley,” is the state’s third-most populous city and the 10th-most populous in the United States. In 2018, Business.org named San Jose the fourth-best city for entrepreneurs, while WalletHub’s 2017 list of the best large cities to start a small business ranked it 70th, with rankings of 13 and 23 in the “Business Environment” and “Access to Resources” categories. The Bay Area, including San Francisco and San Jose, ranked second in Dell’s 2017 Women Entrepreneur Cities Index, and Expert Market ranked San Jose as the sixth-best city for minority entrepreneurs. Finally, the Kauffman Index listed the San Jose metropolitan area sixth in the nation in entrepreneurial growth.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up San Jose’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

Organizes workshops, networking events, and educational programs to help support the community of Chinese entrepreneurs and innovators in Silicon Valley.

A large networking group dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs and connecting with one another as well as valuable resources.

A non-profit group of entrepreneurs helping one another succeed in the design, development, and marketing of electric vehicles.

Entrepreneurs Dojo is a large startup group that hosts a wide variety of events to help support entrepreneurs in and around the Silicon Valley area.

With over 30,000 members, Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs & Startups is one of the largest networking groups for entrepreneurs in the area.

An entrepreneurial group that aims to helps its members develop important communication, leadership, and entrepreneurship.

This Café is a networking platform with the primary goal of connecting entrepreneurs to people and resources that can help them find success.

A community in Silicon Valley designed to help educate and support entrepreneurs creating applications.

Women Leaders and Entrepreneurs is a networking group designed to help women connect with one another and find success.


Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

Facebook’s annual two-day Developer Conference, in which innovators discuss the biggest and most important trends in the worlds of technology and entrepreneurship.

An annual two-day conference in San Jose that celebrates hardware innovation and educates its attendees on the latest trends and technologies.

Silicon Valley Forum hosts a number of entrepreneurial events around the region, including the annual Women in Tech festival, Seeds of Our Future event, and Visionary Awards ceremony.

Organized by The Indus Entrepreneurs’ Silicon Valley branch, TiE Inflect is one of the world’s biggest entrepreneurial conferences.

The Women in Technology Summit is an annual conference celebrating and educating for women in technology in the Silicon Valley area and the world.


Startup Competitions:

SCU hosts an annual Business Pitch Competition in which student teams pitch their business plans and compete for the $10,000 grand prize.

San Jose State University hosts a campus-wide competition in which all students and alumni can compete for cash prizes.

In an attempt to lessen the gender parity problem in Silicon Valley entrepreneurship, Parazim hosts regular Zimvest pitch competitions for female entrepreneurs.


Co-working Spaces:

In addition to an accelerator program, Founders Floor hosts co-working space with flexible membership options and access to resources to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

Intersection Space is a co-working space that places emphasis on creating a playful but professional atmosphere to support its members.

In addition to offering 15,000 square feet of co-working space, Mindrome hosts weekly events and aims to connect its members with valuable resources.

With 19 locations around Silicon Valley, Pacific Workplaces offers traditional co-working space as well as office space and meeting rooms for rent.

Spaces’ San Jose location offers over 29,000 square feet of co-working space, dedicated desks, private offices, and meeting rooms.

Though most of WeWork’s 16 locations in the Bay Area are in San Francisco, there are several in and around San Jose.


Maker spaces:

BioCurious aims to be a community biology lab and a training center for biotechnology, with an emphasis on safety.

A wide-ranging space that includes a large workshop, a traditional maker space, an electronics lab, an event room, several meeting spaces, and more

Down the road from San Jose in Livermore, CA, Robot Garden is a robotics-focused maker space that offers a wide variety of other equipment and hosts regular workshops and events.



ActionSpot provides co-working space as well as support to startups, especially those in the areas of data science, artificial intelligence, deep learning, virtual reality, and data security.

IDEAS is a student-led incubator program at San Jose State University that provides students with support and access to valuable resources.

San Jose BioCube provides life science, nanotech, and cleantech startups with resources like office space, access to lab facilities, and business support.



Boost runs two accelerator programs every year in which they provide capital, mentorship, and other resources to startups in the blockchain, virtual reality, or making science fiction a reality.

Located in Palo Alto, Founder Friendly Labs offers an accelerator program to early-stage software technology startups in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Located in Redwood City, Imagine K12 is a part of the Y Combinator that specifically accelerates education technology startups.

Manos Accelerator is an accelerator program with an emphasis on providing mentorship and hands-on education to promising Latino-led startups.

With 22 locations across the world but headquartered in Silicon Valley, Plug and Play Accelerator have a number of different verticals to work with a wide variety of companies.

The business development arm of leading Korean wireless operator SK Telecom, SKTA Innopartners is an accelerator program for technology startups in a variety of industries.

UpWest Labs invests in promising early-stage tech startups in Israel looking to break into the American market.



SJSU hosts the Silicon Valley Center for Entrepreneurship, which supports entrepreneurs and the startup ecosystem in the university and community as a whole.

SCU’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship aims to provide support and resources to entrepreneurial-minded students in and out of the classroom.

Just down the road in Palo Alto, Stanford University offers students a number of resources and classes to help them.

“The Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic at Santa Clara Law services the active local startup community by delivering quality legal services to entrepreneurs through the use of second-and third-year law students.” – from website.

“Silicon Valley SCORE offers free business mentoring, a wide range of educational programs, and numerous templates and tools to help you start or grow a business or nonprofit. ” – from website.

“Our goal is to promote innovation and stimulate the economy by connecting entrepreneurs to government resources, supporting students and teachers through our STEM education programs, gathering feedback from regional stakeholders, and recruiting diverse talent from the region. Browse the content below to learn more about what the Silicon Valley USPTO can do for you.” – from website.


Angel Groups/VCs:

DFJ partners with promising early- and growth-stage technology companies across a variety of sectors.

Fenox is a venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley that invests in promising startups around the world in a wide variety of industries.

Life Science Angels is an angel investment group and small venture capital firm that invests in promising healthcare startups.

Headquartered in Silicon Valley but with global reach, NEA is a venture capital firm that invests in technology and healthcare startups.

Sequoia is a venture capital firm that partners with early-stage startups as well as established companies looking to grow.

Tandem is a venture capital firm that invests in seed-stage startups with ties to the Bay Area that are disrupting their markets with technology.


Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

Joint Venture’s monthly newsletter covering major entrepreneurial and business events and news in the Silicon Valley area.

Mercury News, which covers events in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area, offers several newsletters, including three about business news.

Offers several newsletters covering business news in San Jose as well as the entire Silicon Valley area.

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in San Jose not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

Tampa, FloridaGreensboro, North Carolina, Austin, Texas

Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at FundingSage where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.