(Updated October 2016)
Santa Barbara is a town of microclimates. The weather variation from one side of town to another, or one block to another, is as significant as the weather variation from season to season. It is the same with the business community. In my explorations I have discovered quite a variety of business meet-ups, groups, and organizations and there are not too many people who move between all of these groups.For those looking to expand beyond their own familiar territory, I’ve started a list of some of these groups and suggestions for finding more. What are your favorite groups that you don’t see on the list?
Startup Focused Groups & Resources
Santa Barbara Startup Weekend – Runs an annual weekend long event for entrepreneurs to start companies, networks, and build community. Find regional startup weekend at the Startup Weekend site or participate in the annual November Global Startup Battle.
Startup Digest – A weekly (or so) newsletter listing local events and activities for the startup community.
MIT Enterprise Forum of the Central Coast – Hosts monthly business and technology events linking experienced entrepreneurs to the community.
Santa Barbara Hacker Space – A space for physical product innovation.
Clean Business Investment Summit – Annual conference for entrepreneurs to connect with investors.
UCSB Technology Management Program – TMP is the focal point for management training and entrepreneurial education at UCSB.
The Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation – Santa Barbara City College hub of entrepreneurial activity. Runs periodic events open to students and the public.
Friends of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) – Holds public lectures on physics topics a dozen times a year.
Antioch University MBA Program – Started in fall 2014 with a focus on management of social impact businesses and non-profits.
Technology Focused Groups
Science and Engineering Council of Santa Barbara – Holds monthly luncheon programs on technical topic of interest. Also supports scholarships for local college students.
ASME Channel Islands – American Society of Mechanical Engineers local chapter for Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
Various MeetUp.Com Groups – There are quite a variety of these in Santa Barbara. Some examples are below:
- Santa Barbara Hackerspace
- UX Group
- Mobile Santa Barbara
- Ruby on Rails
- “R” (Programming Language)
- Society for Technical Communication
- Newbie Web Developer and Web Designer Meetup
- Santa Barbara AngularJS Meetup
- Learn to Code — Santa Barbara
- SB Agile
Workzones – Membership-based co-working space offering day-user passes, conference rooms, and private offices.
Synergy Business & Technology Center – Co-working space for local startup companies and entrepreneurs.
Santa Barbara Impact HUB – Opened July 2016. Part of a global network of socially oriented incubators.
Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet – Incubator space in Old Town Goleta, which aims to serve as a catalyst for startups in the area as well as a way to capture young talent and ideas emerging from UCSB.
Noospheric is a Santa Barbara Incubator that provides expert business consulting and strategic investment to startups focused on the Quantified Self and Data Algorithm market sectors.
Tech Haus coworking and event space.
In Santa Ynez, The Network is a coworking space.
Women’s Economic Ventures – Trains (mostly) women to start brick-and-mortar companies and home-based businesses. Also provides loans and other business assistance.
Women’s Community Business Network – Hold monthly luncheons. Additional benefits for members, such as an online membership directory.
National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) – Regular meetings on the 4th Wednesday of each month. Additional benefits for members.
Santa Barbara Women in Technology International (WITI) Group – Both web events and monthly local networking events.
School Mentoring/Volunteer Opportunities
Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy (High School)
Santa Barbara County Science Fair (Junior High School)
SB County Education Office – Computers for Families Program