Entrepreneurial + Business Resources

Cultivating the Central Coast growth ecosystem

The Central Coast’s thriving innovation ecosystem encompasses an energetic start-up scene, incubator and accelerator programs, small business support services and the talent and resources of top-ranked universities.

Launching + Scaling

people working at the HotHouse incubatorThe Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship’s HotHouse launches community and student ventures from a network of spaces across San Luis Obispo County. To date, the HotHouse has launched 120+ companies creating 1000+ jobs and raising $250M+ of capital. Programs include:

  • 2-year incubator program, with verticals in agtech, aerospace, cleantech and medtech
  • Accelerator, pitch competitions + hackathons
  • Community coworking


Winners of New Venture competition holding large checksUC Santa Barbara’s New Venture Program provides hands-on instruction and mentorship in launching start-ups. Now in its 23rd year, the Annual New Venture Competition provides an 8-month entrepreneurial experience where students work with mentors in multi-disciplinary teams to take their business ideas from concept to reality.

UC Santa Barbara is also home to the Wilcox New Venture Incubator, also known as “The Garage,” and the eight-week G2 Summer Launchpad program.



Santa Barbara City College’s Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation offers a range of support including business consulting, entrepreneurship events, and Enterprise Launch.

Students can also work toward an A.A. degree, certificate or Skill Competency Award with an emphasis in entrepreneurship while leveraging the educational accessibility of SBCC.

Supporting small business

Small Business Development Centers provide high-quality, individualized business advising and technical assistance


In Santa Barbara County, SBDC services are provided through the Economic Development Collaborative, with satellite centers at Santa Barbara City College’s Schott and Wake campuses. The EDC is also working with the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce to expand services in northern Santa Barbara County.

The Cal Poly CIE SBDC provides business assistance at the HotHouse in San Luis Obispo, the Sandbox in Paso Robles, and the Launch Pad in Grover Beach. The CIE also hosts the annual AngelCon pitch competition, providing a chance for startups to win $100,000+ in equity-backed funding.


Other Resources


  • Women’s Economic Ventures provides business training, loans, consulting and coaching to help women achieve financial independence.
  • Mission Community Services is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners to become self-sustaining, with a focus on serving women, low-income individuals, minority-owned businesses and rural, underserved communities.
  • Score Santa Barbara offers up local mentors to help small businesses in every stage, providing guidance on business analysis, marketing, finance, sales, and business development.
  • Score San Luis Obispo provides free and confidential one-on-one business counseling by phone, email, and in-person in SLO County and the Santa Maria Valley.
  • Chambers of Commerce work to enhance business and community well-being in the region’s various cities and communities.
Area Chambers of Commerce