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Navigating Challenges: Support for Small Businesses

Dear Friends,

Small businesses and local entrepreneurs are the backbone of our communities. These businesses support the local economy with employment, services, and revenue, and serve community partners with local organizations. Sadly, many of our favorite businesses experienced sharp declines in earnings because COVID-19 limited recreational activities and businesses adopted remote work policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The State of California stepped in and provided over $4 billion in funding to support small business relief efforts due to the financial hardship as a result of the shelter-in-place guidelines. In addition, many Californians and business owners received direct relief through the California Comeback Plan.

I am very grateful to the Office of Small Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) for partnering with business owners, small business centers, and providing financial assistance to entrepreneurs in need of supportive services. I would like to share some small business assistance resources that are available to the community:

Presently, many of our small businesses are still experiencing financial hardships as individuals and entrepreneurs alike grapple with rising costs of living and the added costs of running the daily operations of a business. Additionally, as community hubs struggle to return to pre-pandemic revenues, many of our beloved local businesses are closing. These challenges require short-term responses and long-term investment built through collaboration with local and state agencies, alongside private partners to enhance public safety and reactivate our business corridors.

In this e-newsletter, you’ll find zero-cost services and programs for local entrepreneurs and business owners to participate in including individualized coaching and learning effective business strategies. As we navigate these challenges together, I encourage you to please share these resources with your communities.

Yours in Service,

Assemblymember Bonta signature

Mia Bonta
Assemblymember, 18th District

In this newsletter, you'll find the following information:

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Section 1: State of California Entrepreneurship

Section 1A: Governor’s Office of the Small Business Advocate

The Office of the Small Business Advocate is a one-stop place helping small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs with economic growth and navigating business services. Services include workshops; local and direct assistance; locating small business centers near you; connection to community partners; learning more about government contracts; funding, grants, and other financial incentives; and applying for permits, licenses, and understanding regulations.

Section 1B: Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development

The Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) is the State of California’s leader in job growth, economic development, and business assistance efforts.

GO-Bizz offers no-cost business consultation and, in 2022, GO-Biz established the Community & Place-Based Solutions (CPBS) Team to support local governments, non-profits, community-based organizations, colleges and universities, and other economic development partners in their community development needs.

Section 2: Local and Regional Entrepreneurship Support

Section 2A: City of Alameda

The beautiful City of Alameda offers various information and resources for operating a business in the city. Learn more about how the City of Alameda supports businesses here.

Section 2B: City of Oakland Business Assistance Center

The culturally rich City of Oakland’s business website contains thorough information to support businesses in the city. Their Business Assistance Center provides no-cost services like contracting with the city, webinars and coaching, licensing, and referrals for local entrepreneurs.

Section 2C: City of Emeryville Business Support

The charming City of Emeryville’s business website contains a robust business resource guide and referrals to support entrepreneurs.

Section 2D: County of Alameda Business and Vendor Contracting

The County of Alameda provides local businesses the opportunity to contract with the county to cultivate economic prosperity. In addition to construction, the County is constantly looking for the potential to contract with new vendors for goods and services to build partnerships and economic development.

Learn more about the County of Alameda’s vendor and contracting services here.

Section 2E: Combating Hate Crimes

The State of California has taken a strong stance in support of our diverse communities to protect ourselves and our neighbors from prevalent acts of hate. On August 23, Governor Newsom announced that $91.4 million in funding had been allocated to 173 local organizations to support victims and provide anti-hate resources. Additionally, California is investing in a statewide multi-lingual media campaign to empower historically marginalized communities.

For more information about Hate Crime Resources, click here.

Section 3: Business and Entrepreneurship Support

Section 3A: California Mosaic Small Business Center

Funded in part by the California Office of Small Business Advocate, California Mosaic provides personalized business counseling sessions, connecting to resources, business planning, marketing, financial operation, and credit-building loan referrals

Section 3B: Northern California Small Business Financial Development Corporation

Nor-Cal FDC’s mission provides small businesses and entrepreneurs with greater access to sources of financial and business support such as capital, microloans, and technical assistance with business literacy. Nor-Cal FDC particularly works with low-income entrepreneurs to train and develop their economic and business plans.

Section 3C: Oakland Indie Alliance:

The Oakland Indie Alliance (OIA) is a community of more than 400 small-scale entrepreneurs who have united under a common goal of preserving Oakland’s variety, energy, and social fabric. In sharing experiences, and connections, and advocating for Oakland’s independent economy, OIA helps and supports small businesses to thrive through marketing campaigns and fundraising.

Section 3D: America’s Small Business Development Center California (SBDC)

Funded in part by the California Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), California’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides individualized advising, business plan development, marketing and sales materials, financial assistance, and access to financial and capital resources at no cost.

Find your SBDC here.

Section 3E: California Women’s Business Centers (WBC)

The California Women’s Business Centers provides individual training, financial and business coaching, mentoring and entrepreneurial development, and connecting to financial resources for women business owners.

If you’d like to learn more or you’d like to find your nearest center, visit California Women’s Business Centers.

Section 3F: Centro Community Partners

Centro Community Partners provides small business and entrepreneurial training for economic mobility, financial literacy, and training for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color community members. Centro Community Partners offers a no-cost entrepreneurial program to effectively plan and execute a small business with expert training, coaching, financial planning, and execution.

Section 3G: Operation HOPE

Operation HOPE has a dedicated team of Small Business Coaches to support small business owners starting or growing their businesses. The Small Business Coaches provide new, or existing, small business entrepreneurs with identifying key needs, individualized coaching, education sessions, and connections to funding and resources, at no cost.

Register to get started.

Section 3H: Inner City Advising (“ICA”) Fund

Inner City Advising (“ICA”) Fund supports Black, Indigenous, and People of Color small business entrepreneurs to bridge business inequities in the Bay Area. ICA Fund provides business education, personalized mentoring, and coaching, a 16-week business accelerator program to build connections, capital, and micro-business loans.

Section 3I: BuildOUT California

BuildOUT California is the world’s first LGBT Industry Association dedicated to the sustainable growth of LGBT-owned & certified businesses, and our allies, in the fields of Architecture, Engineering, Construction Services, Real Estate Development, and Related Industries.

BuildOUT California offers LGBT small business working groups, networking, certification assistance and marketing materials, and connections to resources.

Section 3J: Pacific Community Ventures

Pacific Community Ventures provides no-cost confidential business support coaching, training, financial advice, and networking opportunities through its mentorship program. Pacific Community Ventures supports small business owners with affordable small business loans.

Section 3K: Alliance for Community Development

Alliance for Community Development supports historically underrepresented local entrepreneurs and business leaders with access to capital and support business services and referrals. Services and programs include free individual meetings and coaching to develop short-term and long-term business goals and strategize for success.