SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — In an effort to support local entrepreneurs and small businesses, San Jose State University (SJSU) has opened a new center to bring business ideas to life. 

Last month, SJSU opened the Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center (SBDC), to help support expand Santa Clara County small businesses that are involved with the “creation, development, or launch of products or services.”

According to the university, the development center will provide support, training, consulting, technical assistance, and connection to resources for entrepreneurs at any stage of their journey: from idea to structure for acquisition or merger activities. 

This includes STEM and IT-related companies including biotech, medical tech, computer hardware, and software design, companies that have ties to SJSU. 

Companies looking to expand to multiple locations or grow through innovative products and services can also take advantage of what the center offers.  

“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 center’s director. 

According to SJSU, Cohen 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 help develop SBDC’s outreach plan and oversee the delivery of services to small businesses 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.”

SJSU’s Silicon Valley SBDC is the second in the county, with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hosting the Access SBDC, which 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. 

SJSU’s Silicon Valley SBDC is part of the Northern California (NorCal) SBDC program hosted by Humboldt State University. 

The NorCal SBDC programs are funded through a grant with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development and the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

The primary office of the Silicon Valley SBDC is located at 210 N. 4th Street — with a grand opening to take place in the spring. 

SJSU said it’s also working with potential partners to create satellite offices throughout Santa Clara County.