Ms. CAMEO Goes to DC and Emphasis on Women

  • Ms. CAMEO Goes to Washington
  • Women’s History Month – InnovateHER
  • Save June 9, 2015 for our Annual Member Meeting in Sacramento
  • The Goodies – This week’s highlight includes a professional development opportunity from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco – strategies for building a better business district. The training is from March 18-March 20, 2015 at the David Brower Center in Berkeley and is open to all.

Ms. CAMEO Goes to Washington

Claudia was in DC last week for the AEO board meeting and to drum up support for the micro sector. Here’s what she had to say:

Even though the government had a snow day, I managed to schedule phone meetings from my cozy room at the Tabard Inn. Also, I put on my wool coat to meet Antonella Pianalto, Acting Executive Director for the Association of Women Business Centers, for lunch. We will join forces to advocate for increased funding for WBCs, modernize the Microloan program, and close the capital access gender gap*. We agreed that we need to focus more on the Republican side of the House Small Business Committee and find common ground on why it’s so important to invest in women-owned businesses.

We see the need to raise funds for community-based services for veterans, especially women. In promoting these services with the SBA, I learned that they need more information about lending to veterans. CAMEO will survey our CDFIs and share that information with Barbara Carson, Director of Veterans programs at SBA. Besides the data, we also need to provide success stories of veterans who benefit from our members. Staff will contact you regularly to bring these stories to light.

When Claudia returned to the office, she was excited about the opportunities to promote women’s business ownership in DC. We decided to hold a legislative staff briefing on this crucial topic on Wednesday, May 6 in the morning (details tbd). If you are going to the AEO Leadership conference, please make your travel arrangements so that you can attend.

Read Claudia’s recent blog about scaling up business assistance services to women-owned microbusiness – “Boosting Women-Owned Businesses Will Boost the Economy.”

*Only 4% of the total dollar value of all small business loans goes to women entrepreneurs.

Women’s History Month – InnovateHER and Stories

The SBA announces InnovateHER, a project that will provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase products or services that have a measurable impact on the lives of women and families (30%), have the potential for commercialization (40%), and fill a need in the marketplace (30%).

Throughout the month of March, universities, accelerators, resource partners and other organizations will host local competitions. Thanks to CAMEO Members Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program and California Capital for sponsoring competitions. Each host will select and submit one local winner to the SBA, who will then identify no more than 10 finalists. Finalists will make a live pitch to a panel of expert judges during National Small Business Week, May 4 – 8, 2015, in Washington, D.C. where they will compete for top three awards and prize money totaling $30,000. Your clients need to apply by March 31, 2015.

This month’s success story: we highlight Irena, owner of Silhouette Custom Design. She fled the Ukraine ten years ago because her family’s safety was threatened. Read about how she landed in Sacramento and went from working at a dry cleaners to becoming a business owner with the help of Opening Doors. We’ve posted more stories on women business owners on our website.

All month, we want to highlight your stories about successful women business owners, especially ones about successful women veteran businesses and women-owned businesses in agriculture. If you’ve got a great story about any client, we’re all ears. Please email or call 415.992.4484.

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!

Take Action: Support SB 197. 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. Download the SB 197 Support Letter Template and put it on your letterhead. Edit appropriately, then email to:, and cc and me! For more information check out the Must Know from February 19, 2015.

Newsy Tidbit: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion announced this week that the companies are launching a program to improve their ability to collect complete and accurate consumer information.

Member Kudos: Congrats to Sharon Miller, the Executive Director of the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center. NAWBO SF awarded her the Woman’s Advocate Award at this week’s gala.

New Report: CFED released its new breakdown of national IRS data on the 2014 tax season, which shows that volunteers helped over 3.2 million taxpayers get $3.89 billion in tax refunds in the U.S>, $330 million in California. Filing an accurate tax return is critical to obtaining small business loans and other financing.

Economic Development Training: The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in partnership with Bay Area LISC invite you to join other community and economic development professionals for one, two or three days of interactive and in-depth training about strategies for building a better business district. The case study based training is relevant to practitioners from rural or urban settings who are looking to build expertise in commercial corridor development. The training is from March 18-March 20, 2015 at the David Brower Center in Berkeley and is open to all.

Professional Development Opportunity: Aspen launches their Franklin Project Ambassadors Program, a year-long leadership development program and local engagement strategy that will catalyze support for the big idea in communities across the country. The California regions they are recruiting during March include: Central Valley, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose (Silicon Valley). Applications are due March 23, 2015.

Free Webinar: Our colleagues as American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) hosts Jeffrey Hollendar, ASBC founder, CEO of Seventh Generation, and founder of Sustain Condoms, a manufacturer of non-toxic birth control. This webinar will explore how stakeholders—consumers, investors and communities—are pushing companies to become more transparent and focused on the triple bottom line. Register for The Future of Responsible Business on March 25, 10:00-11:00am PT // 1:00-2:00pm ET.

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.

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.

Business Conference: NAWBO California ‘Propel Your Business’ Conference takes place on April 27-28, 2015 at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel. The theme is Think Bigger- Grow Strategically-Network Statewide.