Collaboration and Engagement
California’s unemployment rate remains stuck around 12 percent, the second highest in the nation behind Nevada. Poll after poll rank jobs and the economy as the most important concerns. Californians want jobs, but instead they get stale job creation strategies. It’s time for something new. And that’s why CAMEO’s been tirelessly promoting self-employment in both Washington, D.C. and Sacramento. We need to support CAMEO’s BYOB – build your own business – Jobs Initiative.
CAMEO has been working for the last several years to mainstream the idea of self-employment as a key job creation strategy. We couldn’t be more excited to read the following words in the American Jobs Act proposed by President Obama.
A whole section is devoted to entrepreneurship as a viable job outcome for the unemployed. To further ensure that the law of the land recognizes the same, we’ve undertaken several efforts:
Last spring, the pols in DC went through continuing resolution after continuing resolution until they passed a FY 2011 budget. Luckily, the SBA and CDFI programs that you care most about escaped the severest cuts that other programs took. The SBA was funded at the FY2010 level and the CDFI was only cut by 10% from FY 2010 levels. However rural development to a 30% hit and RMAP was zeroed out (but not eliminated.)
Now onto the FY 2012 budget, which begins October 1, 2011. We had lots of success with our outreach along with AEO in the House Appropriations which budgeted at $33.5 million (Microloan TA – $14.5 million; PRIME – $5 million; Women’s Business Centers – $14 million) for our field, which was more than we thought before the appropriations committees met. One of the most interesting aspects of these budget recommendations is that our program budgets were the only ones for small business that are more than President Obama’s recommendations. The Senate Appropriations is a mixed blessing with $36 million budgeted for micro enterprise, but the PRIME program was zeroed out; the money instead went to maintain Microloan TA funds at FY2010 levels of $22 million.
The two appropriations bills need to be reconciled, which will happen in conference committees between the House and the Senate. To restore PRIME, we are scheduling a conference call with Senators Boxer and Feinstein and CAMEO’s policy committee. We won’t give up!
Finally, we recently began our outreach efforts to Representative Xavier Becerra who sits on the ‘Super Committee’ that is charged with reducing the deficit. Thanks to Valley Economic Development (VEDC, Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program (APISBP), Pacific Coast Regional SBDC and Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE) for jump-starting the effort. Stay tuned for more details.
CAMEO has met with several high-level officials in the Brown administration and other electeds to impress upon them that when they talk jobs, they must talk micro. We presented a Homegrown Economies plan to Governor Brown’s senior advisors, to Gavin Newsom, and to the Secretary of Labor, Marty Morgenstern. We will continue to foster these relationships to ensure that our field plays a key role the future economic strategy for California.
CAMEO is working this fall with Assemblymember Ricardo Lara (D-50) on a bill that supports our field. CAMEO will weigh in and so can you. Email Heidi Pickman any suggestions you may have for CAMEO’s Policy Committee to discuss. Another effort is working with California Organized Investment Network (COIN) program of the Department of Insurance to push insurance companies to make high impact investments. They have $18.6 billion to invest in the community, but only a small percentage goes to LMI communities. We have a meeting scheduled at the end of this year to secure commitments.
Also, CAMEO supports three bills that are sitting on Governor Brown’s desk.
Thanks to Heidi Pickman, CAMEO’s Communications Manager, who has more than tripled our capacity for advocacy.
CAMEO Annual and Regional Meetings: Stories of local entrepreneurs are what motivate you to go to work everyday. They can motivate policy if we tell them so they have impact. One of CAMEO’s goals for the year is have everyone speaking about micro in the same powerful way. Since it’s a new concept for the mainstream, we are creating a message that people understand, have a good feeling about and support with action. During our annual meeting we presented the tools and messaging to make a powerful statement to funders, policy makers, your boards, new clients and any one else who might be a stakeholder in the work that you do. Member regional meetings held in the Central Coast and Rural North resulted in new collaborations between CAMEO members and the Monterey and Santa Cruz County Workforce Investment Boards and provided valuable feed back on state Community Block Development Grant policies.
Disabled Veterans Initiative: CAMEO manages a new grant program for AT&T (funded in January 2011) to deliver hands-on business assistance to disabled veterans to start and grow businesses. Five CAMEO members participate in this intensive program: Southwestern College SBDC (San Diego),National Asian American Coalition (Northern and Southern California), Goodwill Micro Enterprise Program (Orange County), Central Valley Business Incubator (Fresno), and the Farmer Veteran Coalition (Davis and North Central California). In April 2011, Citi committed additional support for this innovative program. This year-long program is the first of its kind and has the potential to become a national model.
CA-SETI (Self Employment Tax Initiative): In June CAMEO ended its fourth and final year of the CA-SETI program. CAMEO members who participated in the program included Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program (APISBP), Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI), Mission Economic Development Association (MEDA), Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE), Quantum CDC and Valley Economic Development Corporation(VEDC). Using a focused strategy, participants approached the lowest income micro entrepreneurs and provided technical assistance coupled with tax preparation services at VITA sites with the goal of referring tax clients to agency services and other asset building products. The program was a success: 924 Schedule C clients served, which yielded 554 actual new clients. VITA site participants report that 60% of individuals who file Schedule C then access post-tax season business training and/or access to other asset building services in the following year.
We are pleased to announce that MEDA and CFED have received joint funding to expand upon the SETI program in San Francisco for the coming year. We expect other programs that participated in past years to expand as well.
Training: CAMEO offers a limited amount of free organizational technical assistance and training services to qualifying organizations. CAMEO can work with members on a short-term basis or help launch a larger effort, such as plan or facilitate a board/staff retreat, design a strategic plan or train your staff on best practices for training, customer retention, credit analysis, communications.
While most of the 2011 budget for individual trainings has been awarded, a bit remains to partially defray coasts of trainings, workshops and events that help develop leadership and improve operations of our member organizations.
Our group training and webinars continue on pertinent topics such as lending skills and public affairs.
Year of the Collaboration. In 2011 CAMEO members from Arcata to San Diego are working together to creatively deploy scarce resources and expand services. A few highlights:
Judy Hawkins, Mark Robertson and Carmen Herrera-Mansir were re-elected to another term, which will ensure strong continuity of Board leadership. Sherry Beamer will resign her board seat at the end of this year because her current work has moved away from the field. CAMEO thanks Sherry for her valuable contributions to CAMEO’s strategic thinking and outreach to the disabled community. Cassandra Tobey will serve out the remainder of Sherry’s term, through 2013. Cassandra has been the Microenterprise Development Program Manager for Goodwill of Orange County since 2007. Cassandra successfully has managed the growth of the program; raising over $350,000 in grant funds including her Workforce Investment Board. Cassandra is an active CAMEO member and will increase our capacity for disability and veteran advocacy.
10/25/2011 – Press Releases from A to Z, Webinar, 11:00 a.m.
11/01/2011 – Microlenders Forum, San Francisco
11/07/2011 – Viva!, Women of Color Symposium, Los Angeles
11/14/2011 – 11/17/2011 – Opportunity Finance Network Conference, Minneapolis, MN.
12/07/2011 – San Diego Member Luncheon
12/14/2011 – Bay Area Member Luncheon
Stay tuned for other regional member meetings in the winter quarter.
The CAMEO staff loves what they do in major part because of the energy and engagement of CAMEO members – from June’s annual member meeting to August’s regional gatherings to advocacy actions to collaborations and data collection. We know you’re busy and greatly appreciate your efforts. So keep ’em coming! The more participation we have from members, the stronger our field will be as a whole and the stronger your organization will be because of the network’s collective strength.
Ways in which you can contribute:
Our mailing address is: