For centuries, Chico has been a place where communities come together with visions for a flourishing future.

Long before the Chico of today was even a thought, the Mechoopda Maidu people chose this land as a place of peace and prosperity. Later settlers and pioneers recognized Chico as a fertile agricultural region, and still later, the California and Oregon Railroad identified the city as a key transportation hub. The first iteration of what is now Chico State, the Northern Branch of the State Normal School in 1887, the arrival of the Diamond Match Company in 1900, and the development of the Army Air Base all pointed to Chico as a place where opportunity abounded and economic success was on every horizon.

Today, that same ebullient entrepreneurial spirit is evident all throughout this City of Trees, with new businesses and startups on the rise nearly every week.

We are proud of our homegrown companies, ones who chose Chico as the place to fuel their dreams and make them a reality we all enjoy. Businesses like Oak Ridge Cabinets, founded in Chico in 1983, set themselves apart for quality and craftsmanship. The beloved Shubert’s Ice Cream and Candy has been a sweet treat staple since 1938, while coffee shops around town all eagerly brew steaming mugs of Chico Chai, a 2004 start-up with widespread appeal. And to keep those smiles pearly white, Lares Research has been supplying dentists worldwide with quality dental handpieces since 1956, right out of its Chico headquarters.

The Chico community is highly supportive of new start-ups, business ideas, and entrepreneurial endeavors, knowing that innovation is in our DNA and key to our future.
  • Once a week, entrepreneurs and community members meet at Stoble for a session of One Million Cups, an event that brings together entrepreneurs and the Chico community over coffee and conversations.
  • ChicoStart is an independent, nonprofit tech startup incubator. Offering shared resources like desks, couches, WiFI, conference rooms, and printers, the organization creates opportunities for like-minded entrepreneurs to develop ideas and products with the support of mentors and benchmarked milestones.
  • With the desire to foster healthy business and economic development, 3CORE provides new businesses financing, mentoring, and incubation programs. 
  • Whether you’re just starting out, or hoping to grow your new business, the Butte College Small Business Development Center is there to help entrepreneurs meet their goals. During the pandemic, for example, they’ve helped more than 786 clients navigate the pandemic, access $20 million in capital to start or grow their business and create a resulting 232 new jobs.
  • With experience comes good advice, which is why SCORE is an excellent place to make strong connections. Free business mentoring by active and retired senior executives includes the likes of business plan evaluations, seasoned advice, and counseling assistance on growth and stability strategies.
  • For dreamers, the Chico State Center for Entrepreneurship is a brilliant resource. 90 percent of the faculty in the program have started their own businesses, cultivating leadership from the university and the community to inspire, advise, and nurture new business that’s good for Chico.

Just need a place to sit down to dream?

Start-ups like Stoble Workplace and the above-mentioned ChicoStart were created just for that: to provide entrepreneurs of all inclinations with the workspace, companionship, and caffeine to grow the next big idea.

Photo Credit: Chico Start