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Testimony in Support of AB 184

Good morning, Chairman Garcia and members of the JEDE Committee. My name is Heidi Pickman from CAMEO – California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity.

CAMEO is the statewide network of 85 organizations that provide business assistance and loans to 20,000 very small and start-up businesses in diverse communities.

Our members include about 1/3 of the Small Business Development Centers and all 12 of the Women’s Business Centers in our state.

In 2013 Women’s Business Centers served about 3200 businesses that created 2700 jobs; 62% of their clients are low to moderate income.

Microentrepreneurs that have gone through business training programs and received business assistance from CAMEO members have an 80% success rate and create two jobs in addition to their own on average over 3-5 years.

Compare that to a 50-80% chance of failure without help.

And business assistance is the first step in the capital access process – you can’t get a loan if you don’t have a strong business plan or financials.

The crucial importance of business training, or technical assistance to business success is why we strongly support AB 184.

This bill will formalize state recognition of federally-recognized small business training programs that operate in California such as the Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers, and others.

Investing in business technical assistance is an extremely cost effective job creation strategy at $1-$3,000 per job, especially when compared to public infrastructure projects that cost $50-$100,000 per job.

Creating strong locally-owned small businesses, creates strong local economies and collectively will create a strong economy for California.

Thank you.