Berkeley’s Entrepreneurial Community

Startup Work Space from Berkeley SkyDeck
Berkeley SkyDeck currently has a majority of its companies on the top floor of the building on Shattuck, all in an open and collaborative space. [From: https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/UC-Berkeley-startup-accelerator-gets-a-boost-from-13156216.php ]
Did you know Cal is has one of the largest entrepreneurial communities in college campuses around the world? Located just minutes away from San Francisco and the South Bay, hundreds of individuals from Berkeley have created critical, groundbreaking ideas, technologies, and companies.

The energy of the entrepreneurs at Berkeley is really powerful. My journey in deciding this was what I wanted to do was this energy and drive that people I’ve met that want to be the modern inventeur. They are excited about their creations. They love to learn. They are humble. They push boundaries. They drive for positive change. Whether it be AI driven health applications or self-cleaning plates, everyone has unique ideas and approaches to new fields that they have been studying in their time at Berkeley. Seeing those close to me find passion by collaborating with other innovators in their and other fields, I too was inspired to follow the same path.

There are an abundance of resources for entrepreneurs on campus. From all the way in Jacobs Hall on Northside to Li Ka Shing to the West, from the Sutardja Center for Engineering and Technology next to the Stadium to the House on Bowditch Street, there are countless of mentors, labs, spaces, and materials available to any student on campus! Because of the unique yet symbiotic nature of Berkeley’s Letters and Sciences College, it becomes so much easier to find the connections between a diverse array of fields. In my time at Berkeley so far, I’ve seen that entrepreneurship isn’t something you can do alone. You need people with expertise in computer science, marketing, data science, graphic design… you name it! There are so many endless possibilities and problems that can be addressed with the help of diverse individuals from our school.

A lot of organizations on campus are doing amazing things to move forward the entrepreneurship front of Berkeley. There is Women Entrepreneurs @ Berkeley, which I am a part of, where we immerse individuals that are female identifying in various aspects of entrepreneurship. From learning, consulting, and later creating their own startups throughout a year-long process. Other entrepreneurship organizations include Berkeley Entrepreneurs Association (BEA) and Sigma Eta Pi, an entrepreneurship professional fraternity. Currently working with BEA in stEP, a 10 week program to help people develop their start up ideas, I have also been able to learn and grow throughout this semester and immerse myself in this welcoming and exciting culture.

Outside of just student organizations, there are also many resources available for students. A key player in this community is Berkeley SkyDeck. SkyDeck is an incubator and accelerator program that invests in startups from all over the world. Director of SkyDeck Caroline Winnett has plans to expand the floor space from just the two they currently have in the building to the entire complex! She says although applications for ideas fo companies are only accepted once a year, Berkeley students are always welcome to come talk to her and get a space to develop their ideas on the floor. There are hundreds of companies that are linked to Berkeley, and you can access these through BearX.co, a platform dedicated to connecting entrepreneurial golden bears! While working with CatalistX, the company behind this platform and a Berkeley based startup, I’ve seen the span of how far our community reaches, and how deeply rooted the community is.

Whether you’re interested in learning about starting your own business or changing the world, Berkeley’s entrepreneurs can help. While at Berkeley, you can study the things you love and also apply and see the real impacts that any major or field can have in the world through the creative solutions to our world’s problems. What you read today is just the tip of the iceberg that Cal’s entrepreneurial community has to offer. While I have seen so many resources, there’s still more to discover! So don’t be afraid to dive into this fast-paced, dynamic world, no matter your experience level or background. You won’t regret it!

Jiyoo Jeong

Author: Jiyoo Jeong

Hello! My name is Jiyoo and I am a second year at Cal studying Business, Statistics, and Computer Science. Other than burying myself in problem sets and projects, you might find me writing and drawing while snuggled in bed and watching Netflix or probing through thrift stores. I also enjoy my days when I get to go to SF to volunteer to help increase digital and art literacy and get to spend time on the weekends running a female entrepreneurs accelerator with Berkeley Skydeck! I hope you can read some of my experiences and be inspired to make your own at Berkeley!