This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from May 17 through 31.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from May 17 through 31.

Northern California/Sacramento

From Kitchen to Market
Date: May 17, 2018 | 1:00 pm PDT – 4:00 pm PDT
Location: College of Marin—Indian Valley Campus
1800 Ignacio Blvd. Novato, CA  94949 (map it)
Contact: (415) 485-9305
Organization: Marin SBDC
Fee: $25 (includes a take-home packet with worksheets and resource guides)

Have you thought of taking that delicious family recipe and turning it into a business? Do you already own a food manufacturing business and want to expand?

Join this workshop to gain a competitive edge and learn about the rapidly growing specialty food industry. SBDC Specialty Foods Business Advisor Anni Minuzzo presents this three hour workshop. Gain insights from her 30 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, 20 of which were spent owning a wholesale baking company.

Topics include:

  • Planning and production process
  • Contacts to help get you started
  • Capitalization options

Click here to register for this event.

Take Better Photos for Your Business With the Camera You Already Have
Date: May 18, 2018 | 8:30 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: 455 Market St. Ste. 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: sfomail@sba.gov
Organization: SBA San Francisco District Office
Fee: Free

If you’re struggling to connect with your audience or your photography isn’t meeting the results your business needs, this free workshop can help.

Join us for a 90 minute workshop and learn how to create storytelling images that will make your brand stand out—using the equipment you already own! From cell phones to DSLRs, chances are you already own a great camera. Learn and techniques that will immediately improve the results your photos produce.

Click here to register for this event.

CCT Business Plan Workshop 2018
Date: May 22, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Seminary Campus—B.C. Lounge
4815 East Butler Ave. Fresno, CA 93727 (map it)
Contact: Carlos Huerta | Carlos.Huerta@fresno.edu | (559) 453-2374 or Jeanatte Jaurena | Jeanette.Jaurena@fresno.edu | (559) 453-2367
Organization: Center for Community Transformation—Fresno Pacific University
Fee: Free

Can you make a difference and make money?

Learn how to become financially sustainable and accomplish your social mission in this free Social Business Plan Workshop. Join like-minded entrepreneurs interested in Social Enterprise, a rapidly-growing category of business nationwide.

The best idea of the day will also win a $100 cash prize!

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Time Management
Date: May 23, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 1003 E. Cooley Dr. Suite 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

If you’re doing more and enjoying it less, it’s time to make real choices about how and when to spend your time.

Join professional organizer Donna Buckner of Organizing Solutions and learn to analyze your day and prioritize your time based on what you really need to accomplish. Find balance, achieve your goals, and be more productive and efficient.

Click here to register for this event.

Start-Up Workshop
Date: May 24, 2018 | 3:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: 1055 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 900B Los Angeles, CA 90017 (map it)
Contact: Daniel Ing | ding@pacela.org | (213) 353-9400
Organization: PACE Finance Corporation
Fee: Free

If you are planning to start your business and you want to start on the right track, please join us at our next Small Business Start up workshop.

Topics include:

  • Start-up costs of your business
  • Your target audience
  • Your client base
  • 5 Cs of the loan application process
  • Business plans
  • Credit counseling
  • Loan packaging
  • Basic licenses and permits including business license, DBA, Seller’s Permit. EIN
  • Types of business entities

Click here to register for this event.

Basic Web Design
Date: May 24, 2018 | 5:00 pm PDT – 7:00 pm PDT
Location: 13420 Van Nuys Blvd. Ste. 121 Pacoima, CA 91331 (map it)
Contact: info@bscvalley.org | (818) 834-0577
Organization: VEDC
Fee: Free

Learn the basic elements of a high converting website and walk through two drag-and-drop platforms that make it easy and inexpensive to create a website your customers will love. Understand why SEO matters and website navigate settings to customize your site. Then learn how to source the royalty free images and write the content that you will plug into your template. Hit publish and you’re done!

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Online QuickBooks for Beginners I
Date: May 18, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Shaunda Gates | shaundagates@boisestate.edu | (208) 426-3875
Organization: Idaho Small Business Development Center
Fee: $25

Join other small business owners and entrepreneurs and learn how to get started with Online QuickBooks in this webinar.

Participants in this workshop will be taught lessons on the following topics:

  • Getting Started and Setting up QuickBooks
  • Syncing Bank Accounts and Recording Transactions
  • Adding New Customers
  • Entering Sales Information (including the basics of invoicing)
  • Receiving Payments and Making Deposits

Please note: registrants will be emailed instructions on the login procedure one-day prior to the workshop. This class applies to QuickBooks for Online users only.

Click here to register for this event.

Essentials for Starting a Small Business
Date: Starts May 21, 2018
Location: Online—Webinar on demand
Contact: sbdc@sunyocc.edu | (315) 498-6070
Organization: Onondaga (N.Y.) SBDC
Fee: $35

The Essentials for Starting a Small Business is an online on demand course designed to create awareness for people who are interested in starting their own business with an emphasis on risk management.

Topics include:

  • Different types of entities
  • Legalities that go along with starting a business
  • Business plan development
  • Financials associated with starting a business

This course is a 6 week (approximately 10 hour) commitment, and uses the Blackboard management learning system for anytime, anywhere learning.

Click here to register for this event.

Inspire Innovation in Your Small Business
Date: May 31, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: contact.northeastnj@scorevolunteer.org | (201) 336-6090
Organization: SCORE Northeast New Jersey
Fee: Free

Do you know why your company struggles with innovation? What obstacles stifle your creativity? How can you develop your next product or sell your next service?

During this webinar, award-winning inventor, entrepreneur, and author Lon Safko will show you how to get creative and inspire innovative thinking to make your small business thrive.

You will learn:

  • How your brain functions (or doesn’t)
  • Why creative thinking is difficult
  • How to use random association exercises that teach your brain to generate new ideas
  • How to overcome obstacles and excel at creativity everyday
  • How to become your own innovation thought leader

Click here to register for this event. 

We’re looking for upcoming events to promote to small business owners like you. If you have an event you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.


For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Bust a Nut is a snacking hotspot at one of the largest swap meets in Southern California. When owner Hector Sandoval needed to purchase a trailer for his roasted nuts business, Opportunity Fund was there to help with our fast, easy-to-get, and affordable small business loans.

 

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.

Bust a Nut is a snacking hotspot at one of the largest swap meets in Southern California. When owner Hector Sandoval needed to purchase a trailer for his roasted nuts business, Opportunity Fund was there to help with our fast, easy-to-get, and affordable small business loans.

A Breakout Success

Hector Sandoval started Bust a Nut, his roasted peanut cart, in 2012. Hector takes his cart to the Vineland Swap Meet in La Puente, Calif. six days a week to sell fresh roasted peanuts. The well known swap meet has been a major key in Bust a Nut’s success, with large crowds every weekend and entertainment like live music every day.

Hector took his chance to become an entrepreneur following the latest recession. After working in road construction for several years with opportunities dwindling, he chose to go into business for himself.

“I was always interested in selling,” Hector said. “I picked this business because not many people do what I do in mobile food.”

Hector buys raw peanuts in bulk and roasts them on the spot at his nut cart. The fresh, hot peanuts are a huge hit at every stop he makes: the swap meet and church events, where he donates all profits to his church.

Bust a Nut was a success from the start, but Hector still had some roadblocks to growth. “When I started roasting peanuts I had a lot of problems with the health department,” he said. “They required me to build a trailer and put my machines inside the trailer. It was a huge project.”

Primed for Growth

The new direction for Bust a Nut was difficult for Hector to handle alone. “It was too much for me to afford all at once,” he said.

Working with Kareem Carts helped Hector what he needed: a new trailer for his business and a financing connection. Our mobile food vehicle partner Kareem Carts connected Hector to Opportunity Fund loan consultant Salvador Lopez, who helped close a $26,000 loan for the trailer purchase in November 2013.

Hector - Bust a Nut

Our small business loans helped Hector upgrade his roasted nut business (photo courtesy of Michael Microulis)

“Salvador made everything easy,” Hector said. “There was never any pressure to get into a loan. Salvador explained everything and the terms were reasonable.”

With the new trailer, Bust a Nut can go anywhere and do anything. Hector is planning to purchase a second trailer to travel to special events around Los Angeles and hire help to run the new trailer.

“I’m nothing but grateful for Opportunity Fund for giving me that kick start I needed,” he said.

We’re happy to support entrepreneurs like Hector and we’re proud to watch his business grow.


We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.

Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from May 1 through 16.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from May 1 through 16.

Northern California/Sacramento

5th Annual Small Business Summit
Date: May 3, 2018 | 8:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Chambers of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors
70 West Hedding St. San Jose, CA 95110 (map it)
Contact: info@hccsv.org | (408) 248-4800
Organization: Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley
Fee: Free

Join the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley for the 5th Annual Small Business Summit of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Get access to informative and inspirational workshops, networking, and resources for you and your business. Celebrate National Small Business Week with us at this free event.

Click here to register for this event.

We Thrive Together: Change Your Money Mindset
Date: May 15, 2018 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:30 pm PDT
Location: Shasta County Office of Education
1644 Magnolia Ave. Redding, CA 96001 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: Free

How do you stop making financial decisions that sabotage what you really want? How can you navigate multiple financial priorities?

Women especially struggle with emotional responses when making financial decisions or confronting financial situations. In this free seminar, we’ll discuss the emotional aspects and equipping women to step into their power role with their finances.

Join us and learn how to:

  • Dispel your beliefs about money that have been holding you back
  • Identify your financial habits that are not aligned with what matters most to you
  • Clarify the impact that your desire to make money has in your life

Click here to register for this event.

Business Basics 101 – Oakland Small Business Week
Date: May 2, 2018 | 5:00 pm PDT – 6:30 pm PDT
Location: Oakland City Hall
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza Oakland, CA 94612 (map it)
Contact: (510) 444-CITY
Organization: East Bay SCORE
Fee: Free

Join East Bay SCORE at Oakland Small Business Week for this free seminar on planning for success, finding money, and marketing to your audience. This session will be available in English, Spanish and Cantonese.

For the full slate of Oakland Small Business Week events, click here.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Are You Covered? Insurance Basics for Small Businesses
Date: May 9, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 1003 E. Cooley Dr. Suite 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

Is your business insurance providing all the coverage you need? Join us for a discussion about the many aspects of business insurance and get the tools to help you understand and evaluate the types of coverage available. Learn how to manage your risk and make sure your policy covers what you need.

Click here to register for this event.

Business Plan Essentials
Date: Starts May 11, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 1055 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 900B Los Angeles, CA 90017 (map it)
Contact: Daniel Ing | ding@pacela.org | (213) 353-9400
Organization: PACE Finance Corporation
Fee: $60 for 3 classes

This complete workshop will take you through the step-by-step process of developing a business plan. During this three-day workshop you will analyze your business, develop the plan, and on the last day present it to 3 bankers who will assess your plan and provide you feedback. The plan also serves as an effective communication tool for financing proposals.

Get more information on the program curriculum here.

Click here to register for this event.

3rd Fashion Entrepreneur Expo
Date: May 12, 2018 | 11:00 am PDT – 4:00 pm PDT
Location: New York Life
801 N. Brand Blvd. 3rd Floor Glendale, CA 91203 (map it)
Contact: info@vedc.org | (818) 907-9922
Organization: VEDC
Fee: Free for general admission | $30 for VIP admission (includes parking, breakfast and lunch, and VIP Mixer)

Fashion enthusiasts: Do you want to start a business in the fashion industry? Do you already have a line of products that you need help promoting? Do you want to learn how to increase your sales?

Join us for our 3rd Fashion Entrepreneur Expo! We will have dozens of booths offering their products/services; speakers on selling, blogging, and starting a fashion line, plus a runway showcase.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

National Small Business Week Virtual Conference
Date: May 1-3, 2018 | 9:30 am PDT – 3:30 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: smallbusinessweek@sba.gov
Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration
Fee: Free

The U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE Association will host a free 3-Day Virtual Conference during National Small Business Week May 1 through 3 starting at 9:30 am PDT each day.

The Virtual Conference offers all the best parts of an in-person conference, but without the hassle of traveling. You will also have the opportunity to meet other business owners and chat with industry experts.

Choose the webinars that interest you the most (click here for a full description of each webinar):

  • How Changing Consumer Behavior Impacts Your Business – May 1 at 1:00 PM ET/10:00 AM PT
  • Addressing Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace – May 1 at 2:30 PM ET/11:30 AM PT
  • Get New and Repeat Business On Autopilot with Email Marketing – May 1 at 4:00 PM ET/1:00 PM PT
  • Creating and Sustaining a Strong Social Presence – May 1 at 5:30 PM ET/2:30 PM PT
  • The U.S. Economic Outlook and Its Impact on Small Businesses – May 2 at 1:00 PM ET/10:00 AM PT
  • Managing Your Finances in the Cloud – May 2 at 2:30 PM ET/11:30 AM PT
  • Grow Your Business in 2018 – May 2 at 4:00 PM ET/1:00 PM PT
  • Simple Steps to Choosing the Right Financing – May 2 at 5:30 PM ET/2:30 PM PT
  • Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints & Keep Your Customers – May 3 at 1:00 PM ET/10:00 AM PT
  • Sharing Your Story Through Video – May 3 at 2:30 PM ET/11:30 AM PT
  • Pop & Play: How Opening a Pop-Up Shop Can Help Launch Your Retail Brand – May 3 at 4:00 PM ET/1:00 PM PT
  • Fusion Marketing: The Next Generation of Marketing – May 3 at 5:30 PM ET / 2:30 PM PT

Click here to register for this event.

Facebook Marketing for Small Business
Date: May 2, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 9:45 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (678) 335-5600 Ext 120
Organization: Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs
Fee: Free

Join this free webinar to learn how to use Facebook for your small business. Increase the visibility of your business and connect with new customers through effective social media tactics:

  • 10 Do’s and Don’ts
  • Basic Fan Page Setup
  • Insider Tips and Tricks

Click here to register for this event.

Discovering What Works in Social Media
Date: May 11, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: John Merlino | jmerl018@live.kutztown.edu | (973) 879-3549
Organization: Kutztown (Penn.) SBDC
Fee: Free

Join John Merlino, KUSBDC social media guru, for this free webinar and learn about the 5D social media program that was developed to help existing entrepreneurs navigate the ever-changing world of social media marketing. Through the KUSBDC 5D model you will be able to develop best practices for your business by learning new ways to integrate your goals, design, and track the performance of content that is relevant in your industry. This will help ensure that you are getting your fair share of customers through your social media postings. Be the first to attend this webinar and learn about the opportunity to gain additional student internship resources to support your social media marketing campaigns.

Click here to register for this event.


We’re looking for upcoming events to promote to small business owners like you. If you have an event you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from April 16 through 30.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from April 16 through 30.

Northern California/Sacramento

Getting Your Business ACT Together
Date: April 17, 2018 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Shasta County Office of Education, Professional Development Center
2985 Innsbruck Dr. Redding, CA 96003 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: Free

Join JEDI for this free seminar where you’ll learn how to ACT for success. ACT stands for Assessment, Creation, Traffic. Understand what is needed before you put more money into marketing your business. It’s never too late to start! Steps to take before going to market:

  • What does success/freedom look like to you? How do you obtain that?
  • Who are your competitors? You may be surprised!
  • Who are your customers? It is not usually you, or your family.
  • Who are you and why should people want to do business with you?

Join us for interactive activities:

  • What is The Freedom Formula
  • How to Find your Competitors and Customers
  • What Makes You Different? The Difference between your Unique Selling Position and Unique Mechanism

Click here to register for this event.

Business Start Up
Date: April 20, 2018 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Tracy Chamber of Commerce
223 E. 10th St. Tracy, CA 95376 (map it)
Contact: sbdc@deltacollege.edu | (209) 954-5089
Organization: Northeastern California Small Business Development Center—San Joaquin Delta College
Fee: $15

This informative workshop is a great place to start planning and getting your business started on the right foot.

Topics for this one-hour session include:

  • Legal requirements and regulations
  • Sources of financing
  • Free business resources

At the end of the workshop, you can schedule your first individualized consulting session to work specifically on your business. That session and all subsequent consulting sessions are always confidential and without charge.

Click here to register for this event.

2018 Business Xpo Silicon Valley Chambers
Date: April 25, 2018 | 5:30 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: Santa Clara Convention Center
5001 Great America Parkway Santa Clara, CA 95054 (map it)
Contact: (408) 244-8244
Organization: Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley
Fee: Free

Attend the 2018 Silicon Valley Chamber Business XPO, featuring over 100 exhibitors. Learn about their business while networking with other business professionals. Participate in the Passport program to enter for a chance to win prizes from local businesses and organizations!

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Writing a Winning Business Plan
Date: April 23, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: Circle City Center
365 N. Main St. Corona, CA 92882 (map it)
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: Free for Corona residents | $20 for non residents

A well-written business plan can help focus your planning efforts and give potential lenders or investors a positive picture of your goals. Work with an experienced trainer to learn the steps to follow to make the writing process less tedious and gain insights on where to gather the information you need to write a winning plan.

Click here to register for this event.

Hollywood S.W.O.T. Analysis Workshop
Date: April 25, 2018 | 3:00 pm PDT – 4:00 pm PDT
Location: 4311 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90026 (map it)
Contact: bsc@mcslosangeles.com | (323) 454-6115
Organization: MCS Business Source
Fee: Free

The Hollywood BusinessSource invites you to their monthly SWOT Analysis Orientation. Come join us to learn the basics of SWOT Analysis from our Business Consultant.

Need to make an important business decision? Try SWOT analysis. An acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, SWOT is an analytical framework that can help your company face its greatest challenges and find its most promising new markets.

Click here to register for this event.

Get Found on Google Search and Maps
Date: April 27, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: 13420 Van Nuys Blvd. Suite 121 Pacoima, CA 91331 (map it)
Contact: info@vedc.org | (818) 834-0577
Organization: VEDC
Fee: Free

Do you want to be on the first page of Google? Do you want to grow your business brand? Do you want traffic from Google search?

Join us for a free workshop. Seats are limited.

This class is for existing businesses only. You must bring your own smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Find Time and Make Time for Social and Digital Marketing
Date: April 17, 2018 | 11:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Donna Botti | donna.botti@scorevolunteer.org
Organization: Montgomery (Penn.) County SCORE
Fee: Free

Do you know that 43% of small businesses dedicate six or more hours per week to just social media?

While it’s important to engage for social visibility and key connections online, we all want to do more in less time. This session will help you save time at get back to what you love to do – running your business or organization.

You’ll also learn about the free business advice and mentoring that SCORE of Montgomery County can provide for you.

Click here to register for this event.

Financial Literacy Webinar
Date: April 18, 2018 | 10:30 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Jeremy Sanford | jeremy.sanford@sba.gov | (601) 965-4378
Organization: U.S. Small Business Association
Fee: Free

Is your business struggling in the financial department? Increase revenues and create a more effective budget with this free webinar. 

Call Jeremy Sanford at (601) 965-4378 to register for this event.

Ten Google Tools to get Your Business Started
Date: April 25, 2018 | 4:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Sarah Espinosa | sespinos@uncfsu.edu | (910) 672-2683
Organization: Fayetteville State University Veterans Business Outreach Center
Fee: Free

Learn about the ten no-cost software options that Google provides that can help you start your business without adding to the bottom line.

Click here to register for this event.


We’re looking for upcoming events to promote to small business owners like you. If you have an event you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Lance started his own business after years working in the protective auto coating trade as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. Clear Pro has grown into a thriving business with two Inland Empire locations. A small business loan from Opportunity Fund helped Clear Pro get their second location ready for business.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.

Lance started his own business after years working in the protective auto coating trade as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. Clear Pro has grown into a thriving business with two Inland Empire locations. A small business loan from Opportunity Fund helped Clear Pro get their second location ready for business.

From Trade to Business Ownership

Lance Pugh started Clear Pro LLC in 2004. His business installs clear protective film on auto paint jobs to prevent chips and scratches to the paint. Clear Pro serves clients in need of protection for their auto paint jobs, from the everyday driver to high performance vehicle owners.

Lance learned the protective auto coating trade while serving in the United States Marine Corps. His military service saw him move back and forth between California and his home state of Michigan, all the while working for car dealerships providing protective auto coating services. After completing his military service, Lance decided to settle down in the Inland Empire and start his own business.

“I don’t have a college education,” Lance said. “I wanted to start my own business. I found a niche market that wasn’t as popular at first, and today it’s grown into something in demand.”

Lance began Clear Pro in Murrieta, where his business had the runway it needed to grow. When it came time to expand to a second location in Cathedral City, he knew it was the right move for his business.

“One of our manufacturers had a shop out there and they asked us if we could take over,” Lance said. “They’re based in Texas. It was challenging for them to have their business here.”

It wasn’t easy for Clear Pro to expand right away either. Lance needed a small business loan to complete the transition to a multi-location business.

Growing from the Inside Out

Opportunity Fund business development officer Adriana Williams reached out to Lance to help with his small business financing needs. “She really wanted to help us out,” Lance said. “It was a good fit for us. It was easy to get the paperwork done and get the loan we needed. The funding was quick too.”

Lance Pugh - Clear Pro

Thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund, Lance has two Clear Pro locations in the Inland Empire (photo courtesy of Michael Microulis)

Adriana helped close a $80,000 loan in August 2017, which allowed Lance and his team to clean up the Cathedral City location and make it a long-term part of Clear Pro’s success.

“Working with Opportunity Fund has let me put everything I need for both shops in one central location,” Lance said. “It makes it easy to take care of everything over time rather than all at once.”

With five employees and a new location, the future of Clear Pro is bright. “We’re working on promoting our second location as well as growing our first location,” Lance said, “Then we’ll go from here.”

Watch Lance’s story in this video:

We’re proud to support entrepreneurs like Lance who build their businesses from the ground up, and we’re honored to be a funding solution for veteran small business owners.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

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Vladimir and Jim started their business partnership when they took over Alan Desk Business Interiors in Los Angeles. Despite working together at Alan Desk for years, they had trouble finding business loans as new business owners. Opportunity Fund’s partnership with Lending Club helped them get their showroom ready for new customers.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.

Vladimir and Jim started their business partnership when they took over Alan Desk Business Interiors in Los Angeles. Despite working together at Alan Desk for years, they had trouble finding business loans as new business owners. Opportunity Fund’s partnership with Lending Club helped them get their showroom ready for new customers.

A New Business Partnership

Vladimir Alvarez and Jim Meltzer worked together for years at Alan Desk Business Interiors in Los Angeles. They made their dream of business ownership a reality when they took over the formerly family owned business in 2016.

Alan Desk Business Interiors provides design for commercial office spaces by supplying office furniture and designs to their clients. Vladimir and Jim serve as the only employees at Alan Desk, and their connections within the Los Angeles community have landed them several high profile clients like Magic Johnson and the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

Alan Desk - Jim

Jim is the creative and design brain of Alan Desk (photo courtesy of Michael Microulis)


The dynamic duo covers all the functions of the business. Vladimir handles accounting, marketing, and purchasing while Jim is the creative brain and buyer behind the interior design.

Late in 2017, Alan Desk opened a new 1,700 square foot showroom in Los Angeles. Vladimir and Jim needed a small business loan to help them renovate and stock the showroom. Although Alan Desk has been around since 1941, Vladimir and Jim’s new partnership meant starting over.

“We tried the major banks but because we are considered a new business with only a two year history, we were not approved,” Vladimir said. They needed a small business lending solution that recognized their experience and potential.

New Paths to Success

Vladimir and Jim came to Opportunity Fund through our partnership with Lending Club. Our business loan advisor Rexie Dumagan helped close a $40,000 loan in October 2017 to help Alan Desk purchase the floor samples they needed to best serve their clients.

“We’re in a high profile design area here in Los Angeles,” Jim said. “We’re working to get this showroom established so we can start growing our business.”

Alan Desk - Vladimir

Vladimir works on business operations at Alan Desk (photo courtesy of Michael Microulis)

Vladimir and Jim were determined to get the funds they needed to establish their new business together. Opportunity Fund was the right fit based on our customer service and fair pricing.

“Rexie was very helpful,” Vladimir said. “He provided the terms and helped us through the entire process. I talked with other lenders but their interest rates were through the roof.”

Vladimir and Jim are looking to the future of Alan Desk as co-owners. “The next step is growing this space,” Jim said. “We want to work with Opportunity Fund again when we start to expand.”

We’re proud to support hard working entrepreneurs who are determined to make their dreams come true like Vladimir and Jim.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

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This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from April 2 through 15.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from April 2 through 15.

Northern California/Sacramento

It’s Your Etsy Business
Date: Starts April 10, 2018 | 5:30 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: Redding Fashion Alliance
1698 Market St. Redding, CA 96001 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: Free

In partnership with the Redding Fashion Alliance and One Shop, The Women’s Business Center at JEDI is offering a free 5 week Craft Entrepreneurship Program.

This free class meets every Tuesday starting April 10 and provides micro-business training for individuals with creative skills who would like to reach a new, larger market.

Learn the basics of starting and running an online business:

  • Pricing
  • Basic accounting
  • Product photography
  • Marketing

Click here to register for this event and contact JEDI at (530) 926-6670 for an Etsy application if interested in attending.

Women Mean Business Networking: Meet Beth Pride, BPE Global
Date: April 11, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 275 5th St. San Francisco, CA 94103 (map it)
Contact: Fatimah Aure | faure@rencenter.org | (415) 348-6217
Organization: Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Fee: $15 (includes dinner)

Women Mean Business is Renaissance SoMa’s monthly women’s networking meetup. This event strives to help local business women and emerging women entrepreneurs learn from successful women business owners’ experiences, make new contacts,  build their networks and grow their businesses. Examples of topics include setting goals, accessing capital, as well as industry-specific sessions in fashion, jewelry, retail, and food.

Come enjoy a light dinner and learn from and be inspired Beth Pride, CEO of BPE Global, an import and export consulting firm. Beth is Renaissance’s 2017 “Established Entrepreneur of the Year” award winner.

Click here to register for this event.

Starting a business in Silicon Valley
Date: April 12, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: 1887 Monterey St. San Jose, CA, 95112 (map it)
Contact: info@hccsv.org | (408) 248-4800
Organization: Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley
Fee: Free

Join the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley for this free workshop on how to start your business in your neighborhood: Silicon Valley.

During this workshop potential entrepreneurs will learn how key skills including:

  • How to get started
  • What special permits or licenses your business may require
  • How federal and state taxes apply to your business operations
  • What are insurance and risk management basics
  • Why is your business plan so important
  • How to hire employees
  • Where to find resources for your business

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Roadmap to Entrepreneurial Success
Date: April 4, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 5446 Sepulveda Blvd. Culver City, CA 90230 (map it)
Contact: smallbiz@apisbp.org | (213) 473-1605
Organization: Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program (API SBP)
Fee: $10 for Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Greater L.A. members | $20 for non-members

Join the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Greater L.A. (FACCGLA) with the support of API SBP and SIPA (Search to Involve Pilipino Americans) on April 4 for this event that will put you on the right track to small business success.

The Roadmap to Entrepreneurial Success features a networking mixer, membership meeting, and panel discussion. Free parking is available on the 2nd level at the event site.

Contact API SBP at (213) 473-1605 to register for this event.

Inland Prosperity Conference
Date: April 6, 2018 | 8:00 am PDT – 3:00 pm PDT
Location: Ontario Airport Hotel and Conference Center
700 N Haven Ave. Ontario, CA 91764 (map it)
Contact: Joelle Passerello | jpasserello@iewbc.org | (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20 for students | $30 for non-profits | $47 for general admission

The Inland Empire and Coachella Valley Women’s Business Centers are pleased to announce the sixth annual Inland Prosperity Conference. The event mission is to bring regional focus to the opportunities available in every economy – visible to those in the right mindset.

Click here to register for this event.

Hollywood Building Blocks Workshop Series – Week One: Entrepreneur Overview
Date: April 7, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: 4311 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90029 (map it)
Contact: bsc@mcslosangeles.com | (323) 454-6115
Organization: MCS Business Source
Fee: Free

Learn about the different business structure options and which one is best for your business. Review and go over the permits and licenses needed for your business in the city of Los Angeles.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Ten Mistakes to Avoid with Mobile Sites for Small Business
Date: April 4, 2018 | 4:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Sarah Espinosa | sespinos@uncfsu.edu | (910) 672-2683
Organization: Fayetteville State University Veterans Business Outreach Center
Fee: Free

A small business website needs to be optimized for the best mobile viewing to receive maximum effect. This presentation will discuss what to avoid and the requirements for a good mobile site.

Click here to register for this event.

Cracking the Credit Code: Credit Reports & Scores Explained
Date: April 5, 2018 | 8:30 am PDT – 9:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Kimberly Donahue | kimberly.donahue@sba.gov | (304) 347-5220
Organization: SBA West Virginia District Office
Fee: Free

Your credit score can impact everything from where you live to how much you pay for insurance. Isn’t it about time you learned how credit reports and scores really work? John Jackson of Consumer Credit Counseling Services of the Mid-Ohio Valley will explain factors that influence credit scores, how to dispute errors, and more.

Click here to register for this event.

After Lunch Webinar Series: Website & Social Media Strategies
Date: April 5, 2018 | 1:00 pm PDT – 2:30 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: rnsbdc@business.rutgers.edu | (973) 353-5950
Organization: Rutgers Newark (N.J.) SBDC
Fee: Free

In today’s market, your website and social media are must-haves to grow your business and brand. It is vital to position yourself with a strong online presence that reassures and strengthens the consumer’s trust in your business and motivates them to engage with your business.

This free webinar will provide tools and actionable strategies to optimize your website and online infrastructures, plus how to use social media to promote and grow your business.

Click here to register for this event.


We’re looking for upcoming events to promote to small business owners like you. If you have an event you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Access to small business resources and advice can make a major difference for your business. The key to getting started on the right path is knowing where to look for the tools and help you need. Spanish speaking small business owners have options among several organizations around California that provide tailor-made services and all are free to join. 

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable tools that help small business owners run their businesses better. Here are five of the best resource centers for Spanish speaking small business owners.

Access to small business resources and advice can make a major difference for your business. The key to getting started on the right path is knowing where to look for the tools and help you need. Spanish speaking small business owners have options among several organizations around California that provide tailor-made services and all are free to join.

English speaking entrepreneurs can help support Spanish speaking business owners in their communities by promoting and sharing these bilingual organizations. Each organization listed below offers full service small business resources in both English and Spanish.

SBDC East Los Angeles Initiative

How much it costs: Free to join | No cost one-on-one consulting services | Free and low-cost workshops and webinars

What it does: Like the other Small Business Development Centers around the state and the U.S., the SBDC East L.A. Initiative supports local small business owners by providing no cost assistance in business planning, management, marketing, sales, procurement, and strategic planning as well as access to financing.

SBDC East L.A. hosts free and low cost in-person and online workshops and seminars throughout the month to give small business owners hands-on experience with key business ownership skills like business plans, taxes, legal, and more. The East L.A. Initiative also offers several workshops in Spanish each month.

Join them for new client orientations every month and learn how the SBDC can help your small business grow. If you’re not in the Los Angeles area, click here to find the SBDC near you. Many centers in California offer bilingual English/Spanish services!

Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center

How much it costs: Free to join | No cost consulting services for women entrepreneurs | Free and low-cost workshops and webinars with scholarships and financial assistance available

What it does: The Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center helps women and minority small business owners start and grow their businesses with specialized programs based on the needs of their clients. Their four locations in the San Francisco Bay Area—two in San Francisco, one in East Palo Alto, one in Richmond—offer a variety of services for small business owners like a business incubator, monthly networking meetups, and workshops and seminars with many programs geared specifically for women small business owners.

The Richmond location offers Renaissance Center’s bilingual English/Spanish programs. The organization also features financial assistance and scholarships to help all business owners afford the help they need to succeed.

La Cocina

How much it costs: No cost orientation and office hours for incubator applicants

What it does: La Cocina’s incubator kitchen in San Francisco has launched some of the Bay Area’s most exciting food microbusinesses, including Opportunity Funded Onigilly and Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas.

The program provides a year long business incubator program for qualified applicants that features technical assistance to establish to launch their business and kitchen space to develop their business skills. Upon graduation from the program, incubator candidates will have mastered the entrepreneurial skills necessary to continue business development on their own. Orientation and office hours to prepare for the incubator’s application are free.

La Cocina specifically serves low-income microbusiness entrepreneurs with less than 5 employees and $35,000 in assets. The program has a focus on helping women and people of color launch their food-based businesses and all services are available in both English and Spanish.

Get in Motion

How much it costs: Free to join | Free and low-cost workshops and webinars

What it does: Get in Motion’s focus is helping Latino small business owners in the Inland Empire with free and low cost business consulting and events. Through a mix of low-cost events—in person, webinars, and videos—Get in Motion provides the help small business owners need to get ahead.

Get in Motion also features seminars and programs for women small business owners and is a great place to start for Latino business owners in the Inland Empire, whether they’re a startup or looking to get to the next phase of their growth.

Get in Motion’s website is available in both English and Spanish, with many events available primarily in Spanish. Contact Get in Motion for more information.

El Pájaro CDC

How much it costs: Free to join | Low-cost consulting services | Free and low-cost workshops

What it does: El Pájaro CDC supports microbusiness entrepreneurs in Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Monterey counties. The organization focuses on small business owners with access to limited resources by providing business consulting, training, incubuation, and consulting services in English and Spanish.

El Pájaro CDC offers some industry specific programs for microbusiness entrepreneurs like a commercial kitchen incubator and child care. One of our most successful borrowers got started on her road to success with El Pájaro CDC: Aurora Garibay of Bridal & Tuxedo World.

Keep up with El Pájaro CDC’s schedule of events on their Eventbrite page.


We’re always looking for the best affordable online resources including tools to promote to small business owners like you. If you have a tool you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook  and Twitter

REJ Electric is a green energy leader in the Bay Area. When CEO Steven Phillips needed working capital to help complete key projects, Opportunity Fund was there with easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. REJ Electric is a green energy leader in the Bay Area. When CEO Steven Phillips needed working capital to help complete key projects, Opportunity Fund was there with easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans.

A Successful Transformation

REJ Electric is a successful energy company based in Alameda. After going through some changes in leadership and service sector, the company is doing better than ever. CEO Steven Phillips spearheaded the most ambitious changes for REJ and built his company into a Bay Area green energy leader.

Steven joined REJ in 2007 and led an initiative to target the commercial energy market, which meant moving away from the company’s previous core of residential customers to focus on cities, municipalities, and corporations. Two years later, Steven took over the company and invested in electric vehicle charging stations. By 2016, the company was solely focused on green energy services for commercial customers.

Some of REJ’s clients include the City of Oakland, Alameda County, and John Muir Health. In addition to providing excellent service for their clients, REJ is a community leader. Steven focuses on hiring local people, including many youths looking for job training or others who wish to develop their administrative skills.

REJ Electric needed small business working capital to help provide excellent service to their clients and continue to pay competitive salaries to employees. Steven credits REJ’s success on his staff, so retention is key.

“We were looking to manage our projects, expand our staff, and buy more assets for the business,” Steven said.

A Bright Funding Idea

Steven has been on the cutting edge of his industry since he began at REJ, so his business required a different kind of funding resource. Traditional sources like banks didn’t work out, so Steven turned to Opportunity Fund.

Our business development officer Alex Esquivias closed a $20,000 loan for REJ in December 2016. The working capital helped REJ complete three projects and pay vendors.  

“We were able to finish the projects faster with the loan,” he said. “We’d been looking for a partner in this industry. Working with Opportunity Fund relieved a lot of stress for us.”

Steven Phillips - REJ Electric

Steven helps cities, counties, and corporations go green. We’re helping his company keep up with contracts. (Photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

Steven was so impressed with the speed and ease of our loan process that he applied for a second loan in October 2017 for $50,000. The new wave of working capital is helping support some major projects for REJ. “We’re aiming for a quarter million dollars worth of projects by the end of 2017,” Steven said. “Then start off the new year at 25% above what we did last year. Then continue to grow from there.”

The financial support means a lot to REJ. Steven is also thankful for us standing by him as his company grows in a fledgling industry. “We’re still new to this kind of technology,” he said. “Everyone here knows how important is it to have a company like Opportunity Fund supporting us.”

We’re proud to work with hardworking entrepreneurs like Steven who are making a difference in his community and for the environment.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Opportunity Fund. Working Capital for Working People. opportunityfund.org