SJSU Opens New Small Business Development Center, Names Inaugural Director

by | Jan 11, 2022 | Research and Innovation

Silicon Valley’s bold business ideas now have a new home to make them become a reality. 

This month, San José State University opened the Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which focuses on supporting innovative and expanding Santa Clara County small businesses that are involved with the creation, development, or launch of products or services.

SJSU’s Silicon Valley SBDC will provide support, training, consulting, technical assistance and connection to resources for entrepreneurs at any stage of their journey from ideation to structure for acquisition or merger activities. This will include STEM- and IT-related companies as well as biotech and medical tech, computer hardware and software design, and companies that have ties to SJSU faculty, staff and students. Companies looking to expand to multiple locations or grow through innovative products and services will also be helped by the Silicon Valley SBDC.

“We are pleased to support our local community with services that will help build and sustain a vibrant business community and support the local economy through innovation,” said SJSU Vice President for Research and Innovation Mohamed Abousalem. 

“As the public education institution of Silicon Valley committed to social justice, we will bring critical business support services to all entrepreneurs from all backgrounds in our community through a strong network of diverse advisors. Hosting the SBDC is a strategic choice we made, so we increase and further expand San José State’s economic and social impact on our region.”

Leading the Silicon Valley SBDC is Michael Cohen, who joined SJSU earlier this month as the director. Cohen most recently served as CEO of Spectrum Small Business Services, LLC in Tempe, Arizona and brings years of experience working at similar business development centers across the country. Cohen will develop the SBDC’s outreach plan and oversee the delivery of services to small business and entrepreneurs.

“The Silicon Valley SBDC is perhaps the single most important center in the country because it resides in the heart of innovation country,” said Cohen.”We will be a high-level resource for companies in Santa Clara County that are ready to take the next step toward realizing their dreams of growth and profit.”

The primary office of the Silicon Valley SBDC is located at 210 N. 4th Street in San José. A grand opening of the space will take place in the spring. SJSU is also working with potential partners to create satellite offices throughout Santa Clara County. 

This will be the second SBDC in Santa Clara County, with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hosting the Access SBDC that focuses more on supporting neighborhood businesses like retail, real estate and food services. Entrepreneurs can apply for services through the Northern California SBDC network and then be matched with the SBDC that best suits their business and needs. 

Along with achieving Goal 4 — Connect and Contribute — of the university’s Transformation 2030 strategic plan, the powering of the Silicon Valley SBDC further signifies SJSU’s growing footprint in research and innovation. As the only public university in Silicon Valley, SJSU is uniquely positioned to engage with growing Santa Clara County businesses to enhance educational research, economic development opportunities and enterprise-level solutions.

The Silicon Valley SBDC is part of the Northern California (NorCal) SBDC program hosted by Humboldt State University. The NorCal SBDC programs are funded in part through a grant with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development as well as through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.