Thriving communities require thriving businesses, and we are encouraging you to build where you are! 


You're Oakland's Future

By starting a business you are putting yourself on the path to wealth creation, and through creating good jobs and quality services for the community where you live, your business will create a more connected and vibrant East Oakland. 


ESO will be hosting a new cohort in 2021, with the next cohort launch beginning on February 1, 2021.  Applications to participate in this cohort must be submitted by Friday, January 22, 2021 at 5pm. 

01 /

Get Invited

A panel will review the applications and choose members to join the cohort based on our selection criteria. Announcements will be shared via email two weeks before the start of the cohort.

02 /

Complete Cohort

This is where steel sharpens steel. You will come out of the 10-week program with motivation, a network, resources and strategy to effectively start or scale your business.

03 /

Build Business

The rubber meets the road and you can now apply what you've gained to create sustainable local businesses with growth potential. Stay connected to our network for access to shared services, business coaching, resource sharing, and funding opportunities.

04 /

Give Back

Pay it forward by mentoring new ESO entrepreneurs and hiring interns and talent from the ESO network.  Winning together is how we change the game.

If you want to be a part of a program that invests in the school to business pipeline click here to begin the application.


How You Can Apply

Whether your business is already generating income, or just something you've been thinking about, we want to hear about it.  We are currently recruiting for ESO Venture's future cohorts. Please read the steps below and fill out the application to apply.

01 /

Click on the link below to submit your interest

Including basic information about you and your business (whether it is a concept, startup or existing business).

02 /

Get selected for classroom or investment track

Classroom: Focus on key startup initiatives to launch your business with a solid foundation.

Investment: Participate in a more customized business incubator to grow your business to the next level with a focus on strategy and capitalization

03 /

Accept your participation

Make a commitment to the classroom or investment track and earn a $500 Stipend to start your journey.

Apply to Winter 2021 ESO Incubator by January 22, 2021 at 5pm.


 Merritt College’s Digital Marketing Certificate of Achievement provides upgraded skills for those already running a business or employed with a business where they oversee many functions and prepares other student for entry-level jobs with marketing titles that require skills in strategy, copywriting, social media management, email marketing, search engine optimization, digital advertising, data analytics, project management.


This 3 course certification is offered free of charge (refundable deposit required) to any ESO entrepreneurs who are graduates of the business incubator or are currently enrolled in the program.  

What /

  • Chromebook availability

  • Facebook co-branded partnership certificate

  • Utilize Pathstream content to provide dynamic OEI (online equity initiative) compliant experience

  • Stackable certificate, mirrored and non-credit, degree transferable

Who /

  • Small Business Owners

  • Career Changers

  • Emerging Marketers

  • Upskillers

When / January, 2021- July, 2021

  • BUS 76 (Course 1): Introduction to Digital Marketing (8-weeks beginning Jan 25 - deposit returned after completion) 

  • BUS 83 (Course 2): Introduction to Advertising (8-weeks beginning March 25)

  • BUS 74 (Course 3): E-commerce /Entrepreneurship (8-weeks - June TBD)

Next Steps

Entrepreneurship course starts on January 25, 2021!

Course Details

Course Number / Bus 76



Dates:  January 25, 2021 – March 22, 2021


Units: 3

Class: 3 hours lecture (GR or P/NP)

Acceptable for credit: CSU



Introduction to principles of international e-commerce and entrepreneurship: Emphasis on developing a business plan for conducting online commerce; market analysis; product access; payment methods; promotion; and back-end technology requirements for creating an e-commerce site. Self-paced online class with office hours, lectures and assignments due. 

Course Number / Bus 83

Introduction to Digital Marketing 

Dates: April 2021 – May 2021


Units: 3
Class:  3 hours lecture (GR or P/NP)
Acceptable for credit: CSU


Self-paced online class with lectures and assignments due.  

Course Number / Bus 74


Introduction to Advertising


Dates: June 2021 



Units: 3


Class:  3 hours lecture (GR or P/NP)

Acceptable for credit: CSU

Survey of advertising in business: Marketing research, techniques in copywriting and art, advertising media, advertising agencies and campaigns, and current developments. Self-paced online class with lectures and assignments due.  

Apply to ESO's Merritt College Digital Marketing Certificate 

Intro to Business course starts on January 25, 2021!

Please send me updates and more information about ESO Ventures