Small Business for the Holidays and Beyond

  • Beyond Small Business Saturday
  • Annual Micro Census Summary: download a copy for more details on our collective work.
  • Save the Date: Microlender Forum, January 26,2016 at the Federal Reserve Bank, San Francisco
  • The Goodies – This week’s highlight is AEO’s Youth Services Ecosystem Capacity Survey. Fill out by December 7, 2015 to win a free registration to their 2016 conference in DC.

Beyond Small Business Saturday

Last week, while we were eating leftovers, Claudia’s op-ed “Shop (and invest in) small business to raise all boats” was published in the San Jose Mercury News.

For six years, American Express has encouraged the country to ‘Shop Small’ on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We need to do more than promote a day of local shopping. For a more inclusive, sustainable and stronger California economy, leaders should invest in the strategies that ensure success of small, local businesses.

Now that the holiday shopping season is in full swing, many organizations are promoting their small businesses. This Saturday El Pajaro’s Commercial Kitchen Incubator is open for gift buying. Enjoy a complimentary cup of hot cocoa and sample home-grown, regional products made in their kitchen (412 Riverside Drive, Watsonville, if you’re in the neighborhood). The Accion network has a small business online marketplace and includes many clients from Accion San Diego; Pacific Community Ventures has an online Small Business Holiday Gift Guide. Women’s Economic Ventures has a directory of client businesses, mostly based in Santa Barbara and Ventura to patronize over the holiday. If your organization has a local gift guide online, send me the information (reply to this email) and I’ll promote it to our network.

U.S. Small Business Sentiment

Every month, Thumbtack comes out with a survey of nearly 18,000 small service businesses that measures their feelings about their current and future economic situation. Their November survey found that small businesses are cautiously optimistic heading into the holidays.

Current sentiment has been held flat for two months after six months of decline. Many small businesses that aren’t involved in retail see a slow down around the holidays, followed by more activity in January. It remains to be seen if those seasonal trends hold or if there’s a shift in the way small business owners view the future.
thumbtack-capitalThe survey is very rich and has some interesting things to say on minimum wage and the effects of current events. We found the sentiment around access to credit particularly interesting.

Credit is a particularly important concern for small businesses in the service economy. Over 40 percent of our respondents this month indicated that they would like to take on additional credit to expand their businesses, but, of those, just more than a quarter received most or all of the amount they were seeking. And a full 61 percent of those needing credit were unable to obtain a loan, either at all or with acceptable terms.

The implication for our CDFI members is how to reach these independent business owners. CAMEO has connected members with local Thumbtack-sponsored events, so let us know if you’re interested! Check out the survey on small business sentiment.

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 Kudos: Congrats to Opportunity Fund who was mentioned in a Wall Street Journal article – “Big Banks Cut Back on Loans to Small Business” because they lend to “unbankable” entrepreneurs like Jorge Rodriguez, an ‘Opportunity Funded’ restaurant owner. (Note that the article is behind a paywall.)

Free AEO Conference Registration: AEO is estimating our sector’s capacity to serve young adults and needs your input on their Youth Services Ecosystem Capacity Survey. As a special incentive, they will enter all survey respondents in a raffle to win one free registration for the 2016 National Conference in Washington, D.C., May 18-20, 2016. Complete the survey by COB December 7, 2015 for your chance to win!

State Workforce Plans: A series of ‘Roadshows for Public Input’ on the State Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) will be held around the state this month. The purpose is to communicate the vision and strategies; receive feedback/input on how the State (via the State Plan) can better facilitate regional leadership, alignment with industry, system integration for scale, new ideas and innovative practices, etc; engage local boards and their stakeholders; set-up for WIOA regional planning.

New Book Launch: Join the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, CFED and the Citi Foundation on Tuesday, December 8, for the live webcast of the Financial Well-Being Summit to mark the release of the new book, What It’s Worth: Strengthening the Financial Future of Families, Communities and the Nation.

For Your Clients: The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) announced a series of 15 workshops across California designed to help businesses apply for the California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC). Your clients can benefit from the $75 million in tax credits available to business that want to come to California or stay and grow in California. The next application session is from January 4-25, 2016. A number of very small businesses have received tax credits of $20,000 or more, including an accounting services firm, a commercial printer and an animal memorial services company. Go-Biz is hosting a series of workshops around the state starting in Santa Clarita next Tuesday and going through the new year. Check the California Competes Tax Credit website for a workshop near you.

For Your Client: National Small Business Week has been recognizing the special impact made by outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners since 1963. During this week, the U.S. Small Business Administration honors small business owners and entrepreneurs for their outstanding achievements through various awards. The The deadline is January 11, 2016.

AEO National Conference: Save the date May 18-20, 2016 in Washington, DC to celebrate 25 years!