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More CA Support for Micro! Take Action!

  • SB 197 (Block) – Referral Fees Bill
  • Ms. CAMEO Goes to Sacramento
  • California Competes Tax Credit
  • The Goodies – This week’s highlight includes Small Business California’s annual survey of small businesses in California. Let microbusinesses be heard! Please send to your clients and small business owners. The survey takes 10-15 minutes to complete. The results will be sent to every legislator in the state, Governor Jerry Brown, and the media. The survey deadline is February 15, 2015.

SB 197 (Block) – Referral Fees Bill

This week, Senator Marty Block (D-39) introduced SB 197, relating to finance lenders, a bill that will increase capital access to underserved communities. CAMEO is proud and excited to co-sponsor this bill along with Opportunity Fund. This bill is crucial to California small and microbusinesses, especially underbanked ones, as they may not be learning about and receiving the most appropriate financing available. Senator Block is the chair of the Senate Banking Committee.

Senate Bill 197 would remove a competitive disadvantage that currently affects licensed commercial lenders in California. The bill would allow them to pay referral fees to those from whom they receive business, subject to certain restrictions intended to promote responsible lending. In essence, the bill would allow CAMEO’s microlenders to pay referral fees to consultants, non-profits (e.g. TA providers) and others who refer successful loans. It also will give your clients more information about affordable lending products.

You can read the Senate Banking Committee backgrounder on SB 197 and Opportunity Fund’s one pager on referral fees for more specifics on the bill.

We need your support! It will only take a couple of minutes. Send in a letter asap.

  1. Download the SB 197 Support Letter Template
  2. Put it on your letterhead
  3. Personalize to your organization (and feel free to edit)
  4. Email to:, and cc me!

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Ms. CAMEO Goes to Sacramento

Tuesday, CAMEO and Emergent Research presented a D-I-Y Economy Roundtable co-sponsored by the California Pollution Control Financing Authority (the CalCap program) and CAMEO. Our guests were high level executives from state agencies that touch on small business – EDD, Labor and Workforce Development Agency, Community Colleges, Treasury, Air Resources Board, and GoBiz. We presented the data on self-employment labor market trends and the tools that work to cultivate local micro businesses. We hope to change the way people think about our sector and influence state agencies on how they can support the trends and our sector. An engaged group asked lots of good questions and some doors opened to further conversation. We look forward to working on creating state support for the micro sector as a viable economic strategy.

California Competes Tax Credit

Please let your clients know about this tax credit as appropriate.

The California Competes Tax Credit is an income tax credit available to businesses that want to locate in California or stay and grow in the state. Tax credit agreements will be negotiated by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development and approved by the California Competes Tax Credit Committee. Each fiscal year, 25% of the available credits are reserved for small businesses (gross receipts, less returns and
allowances, of greater than $0 but less than $2 million in the business’ prior tax year). Click link to apply at no cost.

The next application period starts March 9, 2015, and runs through April 6, 2015 ($31.1 million in income tax credits are available plus any unallocated amounts from the previous application periods.) Important links:

  • California Competes Tax Credit FAQ
  • California Competes Tax Credit Application Guide

The Goodies

New opportunities for training, conference information, funding, scholarships, and other information that have crossed our desks since the last Must Know. I have posted a running tab of current Industry Goodies on the CAMEO website that lists items that were in past emails. Check it out to make sure you’re not missing anything, like grants whose deadlines are still alive!

Member Article: Last week, the Federal Reserve of San Francisco published an article written by Opportunity Fund’s Eric Weaver (CEO) and Gwendy Donaker-Brown (VP of Policy) about the alternative lending landscape, its pros and cons, and our best practices for responsible lending.

SBA on FY2016 Budget: Read Maria Contreras-Sweet’s blog post on the President’s FY 2016 budget. “The president’s budget includes important increases for programs serving women, veterans, Main Street businesses and high-growth entrepreneurs. The budget also seeks to expand microlending, automate more SBA services, and invest in customer service improvements so it’s easier for entrepreneurs to secure SBA capital and federal government contracts.”

Small Business California survey: Our friends at Small Business California take an annual pulse of small businesses in California. Let microbusinesses be heard! Please send to your clients and small business owners. The survey takes 10-15 minutes to complete. The results will be sent to every legislator in the state, Governor Jerry Brown, and the media. The survey deadline is February 15, 2015.

SBA Funding Webinar: The SBA is hosting two upcoming best practices training sessions via webinars for microlenders. The meeting information for both is the same – Meeting number 1-888-858-2144, Access Code: 2390263, login at Learn about other webinars throughout the year on microlending and the community advantage program.

  • February 19 at 11:00am PT / 2:00pm ET, Do’s & Don’ts of Microloan TA Grant Funding
  • March 12 at 11:00am PT / 2:00pm ET, Best Practices for Microloan TA Grant Applications

Healthcare Webinars: The Small Business Administration and Small Business Majority are helping businesses navigate health care through the webinar series What the Healthcare Law Means For Your California Small Business . It’s every two weeks in English and monthly in Spanish. The next ones are on February 19 and 26, 2015 at 11:00am and February 24, 2015 at 1:00pm respectively. Note the Small Business Health Option Program’s online enrollment function is on hold and will be back online in the fall. Businesses can still purchase insurance through the traditional paper process, working with your Certified agent or the SHOP Service Center. Also Small Business California helped create a new Spanish-language website to help Latino business owners and employees learn how to comply with the health care law.

For Your Clients: OBDC Small Business Finance launching business training programs for veterans. They have available space in their upcoming 10-week business training course, and welcome your referrals. We also appreciate your help by posting about this opportunity to your social media networks. The registration deadline is March 3, 2015.

For Your Clients: The U.S. Small Business Administration Los Angeles District Office has launched the registration for its 2015 Emerging Leaders executive-level training series for Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Nationally, the Emerging Leaders Program has trained more than 2,400 promising small business owners in underserved communities, and its impact continues to expand in helping small businesses to grow and create jobs. Participant recruitment begins in February through SBA’s local district offices and classes typically begin in April. Learn more.

2015 CDFI Coalition Institute: Registration is open for the Institute on February 24-25th in Washington, DC. The tentative agenda includes a discussion of the likely approaches of the new Congress to housing and community economic development programs, including tax expenditure programs like the LIHTC and NMTC.

Funding Opportunity: The CDFI Fund is providing an additional 45-day application submission window for any eligible organization that did not submit a SECA application by the original application deadline of November 24, 2014. Any new SECA applicant can also submit a HFFI application by following the instructions in the application guidance materials, which can be found on the CDFI Program pages of the CDFI Fund’s website and through New SECA applicants must submit their applications through by 11:59 PM EST on March 5, 2015.

Impact Data: Do you need credible data on your organization’s micro and small business outcomes to support fundraising and program management? Aspen’s FIELD is signing up programs now to join the EntrepreneurTracker client outcomes survey process in 2015. Check out the one-page summary to get a visual idea of what EntrepreneurTracker is all about. Sign up ends April 3, 2015. To learn more about EntrepreneurTracker and how your organization can participate in 2015, please contact Tamra Thetford,

Economic Outlook: Forecast LA is an annual event that combines an economic forecast for the U.S., California, and Los Angeles, with original survey research to produce a comprehensive look at what lies ahead for Los Angeles County and its nearly 10 million residents. CAMEO members receive a $25 discount off the $175 ticket (use link). The event takes place on April 7, 2015, 8:00-12noon at Gersten Pavilion, 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

Funding Opportunity: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Community Services (OCS) today announced the next funding round for CED and CED-HFFI grants. These are extremely competitive grants that supports social enterprises that create jobs for low-income individuals and require a considerable amount of pre-planning. Friedman Associates will partner with a limited number of CDCs and CDFIs to write successful proposals. The grant deadlines are April 24, 2015.

CFED Scorecards: California ranked 20th overall for the business and jobs category and 10th in microbusiness ownership. If we were performing as well as the best performing state (Florida) , then there would be 683,938 more workers owning microbusinesses! Download a complete California profile with a focus on microbusiness.

Take Action: Take the ‘Proud to be an American Business Pledge’ – a campaign by our friends at the American Sustainable Business Council and Main Street Alliance.