New Address: Two Embarcadero Center, 8th floor, San Francisco, CA 94111     

A Sunny Outlook for CA’s Small and Micro Businesses in 2019

With the start of a new year and a newly-inaugurated governor, we look to state policy to get a glimpse of what 2019 has in store for small and micro businesses. This year the outlook is hopeful, kicked off by Governor Gavin Newsom’s comments at his inaugural address on January 7:

And those who dream of building something of their own — a restaurant, a bookstore, a family farm — they will get our support. Our small businesses help explain why California is one of the biggest economies on Earth.

For me this is personal. I will never forget the day I got a $20 tip bussing tables at 16 years old at Ramona’s restaurant in San Rafael. Trust me: Busboys don’t get tips like that. I know it sounds strange, but it quite literally changed my life. It meant that my hard work mattered and it motivated me to keep going. Eight years later, I started my own business. So I know how much hard work and sacrifice is behind every small business in this state — and how good it feels when that hard work pays off. California must never turn its back on the entrepreneurial spirit that has always defined us.

More specifically, the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy (JEDE) has released a summary of items related to small business found in Gov. Newsom’s proposed budget for 2019-20. The budget includes funds for the Small Business Technical Assistance Expansion Program and the Capital Infusion Program:

  • $17 million General Fund for the Small Business Technical Assistance Expansion Program, administered by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. The program provides grants to existing federally designated nonprofit small business service providers to provide free or low-cost one-on-one consulting and low-cost training. Program funding is focused on services to underserved business groups, including women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses and businesses in low-wealth, rural, and disaster-impacted communities.  
  • $3 million General Fund for the Capital Infusion Program, administered by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. The program supports free one-on-one business consulting provided by the Small Business Development Center Network.

CAMEO will advocate for including $3mm for WBCs in the May revise. Meanwhile, JEDE announced the appointment of Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes as chair. Assemblymember Cervantes was the author of a bill last year that spurred the inclusion of an investment in small business development in the FY19 budget.

Gov. Newsom’s team has also announced the appointment of Lenny Mendonca, co-chairman of the nonprofit organization California Forward, to serve as his Chief Economic and Business Advisor and as Director of the Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz).