New Funds for California?

In this week’s Must Know:

  • Federal Funds for State Self-Employment Program
  • Micro Conference Time
  • The Goodies: information on important opportunities like trainings, funding, scholarship programs. This week’s highlight is the AEO 2012 National Conference: The Power of Micro-Business on April 30-May 2 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. Register for the conference and book your plane flight and hotel early for the best prices. CAMEO members will receive a $75 discount off their registration.

Federal Funds for State Self-Employment Program

Last week President Obama signed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, aka the payroll tax – unemployment extension bill. The bill also contains the Wyden Start-Up bill, a $35 million self-employment assistance program. This is a legislative win for CAMEO without us having to do more than issue a letter of support. If only all our advocacy were this easy.

Under the program, unemployed workers will be able to maintain their unemployment insurance benefits while they start their own small businesses – a full-time job in its own right – without having to look for other full-time work. This was not the case before this bill was signed. The money can be used by states to offer a Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) Program.

Here comes the hard part. California had an SEA program in the late 1990’s, but it was abandoned. People didn’t take advantage of the program because there was a lack of training and they couldn’t qualify for their unemployment insurance extension. The new SEA corrects these problems. CAMEO intends to work with Governor Jerry Brown and the Secretary of Labor Marty Morgenstern to assist the unemployed to become self employed and get them the business assistance they need through the CAMEO network of Micro Enterprise development programs.

Micro Conference Time

Several important industry conferences are happening in the coming months, so make those travel plans. In reverse chronological order:

First, mark your calendars for CAMEO’s Annual Meeting in Sacramento, June 6-7, 2012. Expect an ‘official’ invitation in a couple of weeks. In the meanwhile, you can book your hotel room at the discount rate until May 15, 2012.

The AEO 2012 National Conference: The Power of Micro-Business is on April 30-May 2 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. Register for the conference and book your plane flight and hotel early for the best prices. CAMEO members will receive a $75 discount off their registration. Also CAMEO offers some scholarships.

A whole bunch of CAMEO members in San Diego (ACCION San Diego, CDC Small Business Finance, Foundation for Women, International Rescue Committee) along with other partners will host the 2012 San Diego Microfinance Summit: Technology and Innovation on April 4, 2012 at the University of San Diego. Register and learn more.

The Goodies

New opportunities for trainings, conference information, funding, scholarships, and other information that have crossed our desks since the last Must Know. The Goodies were getting a little long, so I have posted a running tab of current Goodies is on the CAMEO website. Check it out to make sure you’re not missing anything!

Congratulations to the following CAMEO members, who will receive their RMAP funding for FY 2011:

  • California FarmLink
  • North Coast Small Business Resource Center
  • Jefferson Economic Development Institute

Also, two other CAMEO members were funded by RMAP in 2010 and are still being funded: Valley Small Business Development Corporation and Fresno Community Development Financial Institution. No new applications will be accepted for FY 2012. Stay tuned for FY 2013.

And more congratulations… the SF Weekly named Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center the “Best School 2011.” And Fox News Latino has a nice shout out to Eduardo Figueroa and Hispanic Business Consultants and how latino businesses are growing.

Free Webinar: The Assets for Independence (AFI) Resource Center hosts Strategic Partnerships for IDA Programs on Wednesday, March 7, 3:30-4:30 pm EST / 12:30-1:30 pm PST. Learn how potential partnerships can help improve your program outcomes and what kind of organizations and programs are considered natural partners for IDA programs. Join AFI to hear from IDA practitioners that have leveraged existing resources in their communities to improve their clients’ outcomes. Register for the webinar.

Free Legal Workshop: Attention business trainers and your clients, the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights are holding STARTING A BUSINESS 101: A FREE Legal Workshop to Help Your Business Idea Become Reality. The workshop will be on Thursday, March 8, 2012, 6:00-8:00pm at Mandela Gateway Community Room, 1350 7th Street, Oakland, CA 94607. Register and learn more or email for questions.

Free microTracker Trial: Aspen is offering a free trial of microTracker’s subscription features; features that are powerful, and yet easy to use—that help you understand the micro enterprise industry, that help you see how you compare, and that can help you improve your own performance. The free trial expires March 9, 2012.

Grant Opportunity: The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced the availability of $20.6 million in grant funding for the Reintegration of Ex-Offenders Adult Program. DOL expects to award 17 grants of approximately $1.2 million each for 27-months. Any non-profit organizations with IRS 501(c)(3) status may apply for these grants to provide pre-release and post-release services (including job training) to ex-offenders returning to high-poverty, high-crime communities. The Solicitation for Grant Applications is available on the Employment and Training Administration website. The deadline is March 13, 2012. Note to CAMEO members: you may want to partner with other prison groups to go after the funding and provide self-employment training.

Small Business Loan Fund Conference: The NADO Research Foundation’s Economic Development Finance Service (EDFS) will host a conference on April 24-26, 2012 in Burlington, VT. The event includes sessions that offer best practice examples from peers, plenaries that bring in top notch leaders in small business finance and technical assistance, a roundtable of federal agency program staff and many opportunities for attendees to share and exchange information, suggestions for problem solving, and a format for learning about new programs or solutions that can be replicated in your region. Register and learn more.

Grant Opportunity: In 2012 the California Consumer Protection Foundation will be accepting applications for approximately $1 million of grants under the Telecommunication Consumer Education Fund (TCEF). Successful TCEF projects will support the efforts of community-based organizations to ensure that Californians become more informed, savvy consumers of wireless telecom services. The next 2012 application deadline is May 1, 2012. Learn more.