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


01 / 
Who is ESO Ventures and why have I never heard of them before?

You haven’t heard of us, because we’re new.  But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been around.  ESOV was started because D6 and Merritt College recognized they needed to jump start an economic renaissance along the Eastmont Corridor of East Oakland.  Our initial team of Entrepreneurs has come together to build a business incubator to both help train and fund a new generation of entrepreneurs with a commitment to “Building Where You Are”.  Check us out, and you’ll see that many of us we’re born in East Oakland, currently live there, and are committed to ensuring you don’t have to struggle alone to make your dreams of business ownership and community wealth come alive.​

02 / 

Is seed funding for my business a guarantee if I am accepted into the cohort?

No, we are committed to offering every applicant a next step, which may be access to resources, a mentor, and a community.  Everyone who completes the cohort will receive a $500 stipend.  In the future we hope to develop our impact investment fund, but for the moment we will make warm handoffs to the appropriate funders in our network.

03 / 

If I get into the cohort, what will that look like?

You will be invited to a kickoff meeting to meet your fellow entrepreneurs, the ESOV team, and  the stakeholders who are supporting your journey.  You will then be connected to a Community Manager who will invite you to participate in a combination of weekly check-ins and individual business coaching to assess and strengthen your business, develop the resiliency of your entrepreneurial mindset, and prepare you for success and scale.  Our programs will have a relational focus, and we look to get to know you as a person and as a business owner.  Training may be provided by established entrepreneurship education providers, but our team of partners will take an active role in coaching those entrepreneurs that show the most promise and commitment to developing a viable business in East Oakland aligned with our core values.

04 /

How long is the cohort? Will I be able to have continued support through the mentorship I gain while participating, even beyond the specific time?

We are looking to recruit cohorts of 25 entrepreneurs per quarter, but once you participate in the ESO Incubator you are part of the family.  You will be on our distribution list for workshops and resources, and can continue to participate in our community.  Those businesses selected for further investment will have customized support tailored to the stage of your business development.  The incubator is 10 weeks long, but we look forward to building and growing with you for many years to come.

05 /
What exactly is a business incubator?

Our definition of a business incubator is a combination of CASES: Capital, Advisors, Support, Education, Services.  Our focus is helping early stage entrepreneurs launch profitable businesses.

06 /

What if I’m not sure about participation? How can I get more information?

You can always submit an application with no requirement to participate if selected.  For individual questions you can reach out to  Unfortunately we are not able to host individual interviews prior to applying, but we will host a few community meetings to introduce the opportunity and upon request we can connect you with an ESO Entrepreneur to share their experience.

07 /
Can I participate in the cohort if all I have is an idea for my business?

Yes, we are interested in entrepreneurs at every stage of business from concept to growth.

Get Your Business Funded

Calling all East Oakland Entrepreneurs:

We want to invest in YOU.

By helping you build a successful business, you can be a part of redeveloping MacArthur Boulevard, and giving your neighbors a place to shop locally.

Cohort Participants Get:


$500 Stipend


A laptop & one year of internet access


1:1 and group mentorship


Learn business fundamentals


Access to seed money for your business

***We will not use your ideas, disclose, or sell them to any third party source.***