Small Business Initiatives

San Jose Pop-Up Project

The San Jose Pop-Up Project launched over the holidays, creating temporary retail spaces in the Hammer Theater in downtown San Jose. The project—led by innovative retailers—added excitement to San Jose’s vibrant downtown.

The initiative is a partnership between the San Jose Office of Economic Development, the San Jose Downtown Association (SJDA) and SJMade.

“The project’s success has helped catalyze the next wave of retail in Downtown,” said Lee Wilcox, San Jose’s downtown manager.


Small Business Ignite

Small Business Ignite connects Industry experts with small business owners in San Jose to provide training, mentoring, and networking support to assist small businesses to grow and thrive.

Small Business Ignite is a partnership between the City of San Jose’s Office of Economic Development, the Silicon Valley Talent Partnership, and industry partners such as Ernst & Young, SP2 Community Bar and Grill, and the Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Small Business Ignite is a key component of the City of San Jose’s recently launched small business strategy that focuses on immigrant-owned small businesses. Specifically, Small Business Ignite will develop mentor-mentee support for Spanish- and Vietnamese-speaking small business owners.

Presentations from previous workshops on social media, business planning and marketing are available on the Small Business Ignite page and the BusinessOwnerSpace website.

Join the Facebook group.


Storefronts Initiative

The SJ Storefronts Initiative is a $250,000 grant program to lease vacant spaces by providing up to $16,000 to small businesses to offset the cost of City permits, fees and taxes.

The goal is to strengthen the economic vitality of Downtown San Jose and the City’s Neighborhood Business Districts by increasing ground floor activity and providing needed goods and services to the downtown community.
The City of San Jose’s Office of Economic Development invites proposals from applicants in the following categories:

  • Individuals: entrepreneurs or sole proprietors
  • Small business owners
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Landlords or property owners working with prospective businesses/tenants; and
  • Contractors working with businesses and/or property owners