Collaborations and Kudos

In this week’s Must Know:

  • Central Coast Regional Meeting
  • Member Kudos
  • The Goodies: information on important opportunities like trainings, funding, scholarship programs. This week’s highlight is The National Street Food Conference on August 21 and 22nd at the Fort Mason Center, sponsored by La Cocina. CAMEO members get a 50 percent discount. See below for details.

Central Coast Regional Meeting

We held a very successful Central Coast regional meeting on Tuesday. We started the day off at ALBA’s Rural Development Center in Salinas, CA, where we met ALBA’s new Executive Director Alfred Navarro and learned about the history of this impressive program, including the exponential growth of ALBA Organics that was started under Brett Melone. We also talked about the importance of measuring impact while eating fresh strawberries from the farm. Then we moved on to a lunch meeting at the Marina Technology Center, hosted by Chris Kahn. CAMEO members were joined by the Monterey and Santa Cruz County Workforce Investment Boards and the Salinas United Business Association. We had a great discussion about how CAMEO members and local WIBs can work together. And several participants walked away with new potential partners. After we shopped at a couple of stores at the El Pajaro CDC incubator in Watsonville, ate locally made pie and ice cream, and heard the story of Ariadna Renteria Torres who is now running her own law firm.

Find more photos on CAMEO’s Facebook page. ‘Like’ us while you’re there.

I’ve also posted some notes from the meeting’s discussion about how local WIBs and MDO’s can work together.

Member Kudos

Board Chair Carmen Herrera authored another CAMEO op-ed, this time in the San Jose Mercury News about the need to integrate support for very small homegrown businesses in the Lt. Governor Newsom’s economic development plan. That comes on the heel of a Sacramento Bee op-ed about how micro is a key job generating strategy.

Working Solutions recently passed the $2 million mark in loans to small businesses. The loans have created over 175 jobs to businesses with annual revenues totaling $8.8 million.

Urban FIRE won the National Merit Award from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, the largest inner-city developer organization in the country. The merit award was given for innovative economic development which in this case is micro enterprise development.

The Fresno CDFI (via application from EOC) was one of 20 recipients of $1 million each from SBA’s Intermediary Loan Pilot Program (ILP). This, along with the $600,000 grant received from Treasury, will provide a great boost to the CDFI’s lending ability. The CDFI will be able to do more loans to people like Chai Lee. Chai Lee went from a refugee camp in Thailand to a business owner in Fresno with the help of Fresno CDFI. Thanks to CAMEO member Neil Voss for sending in the story.

A relevant aside – if you have stories, send ’em my way and send them to AEO. The story of these businesses and their impact on their community show the power of Micro.

The Goodies

To keep these emails shorter and sweeter, For the most part, I will list new opportunities for trainings, conference information, funding, scholarships, and other information that have crossed our desks since the last Must Know. Never fear, I will keep a running tab of available Goodies on the web.

The National Street Food Conference: The 2011 Conference takes place on August 21 and 22nd at the Fort Mason Center. The conference, sponsored by La Cocina, will focus on street food culture- the food and the people that make it-, policy and legislation, the economics of street food, and small business incubation. Buy tickets now and enter ‘CAMEO’ into the discount code box and hit apply to receive a 50 percent discount. And if you’re going to be in San Francisco for that conference, attend La Cocina’s San Francisco Street Festival on August 20. Yum.

The DHS Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman invites Small and Start-Up Business Stakeholders to a listening session about immigration services in Los Angeles, California at noon on August 31, 2011. The Ombudsman’s Office will share what we learn with DHS and USCIS leadership who have recently announced efforts to “fuel the nation’s economy and stimulate investment by attracting foreign entrepreneurial talent of exceptional ability or who otherwise can create jobs, form start-up companies, and invest capital in areas of high unemployment.” There is no fee for this event; however, registration will be closed when all spaces are reserved. Further details about the meeting and additional speakers will be provided upon registration. To register, please provide us your name, business or organization affiliation, and email address in an e-mail to In the subject field, please note “August 31 Stakeholder Meeting.”