This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from November 13 through 30.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and 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 November 13 through 30.

Northern California/Sacramento

The True Cost of IT issues
Date: November 14, 2017 |1:00 pm PDT – 2:30 pm PDT
Location: 455 Market St. Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: sfomail@sba.gov | (415) 744-6820
Organization: San Francisco SBA Entrepreneur Center
Fee: Free

This class is designed to help business owners and leaders understand the way technology can add to, or destroy their bottom line.

We’ll focus not on the technology itself, but the way we think about risk and cost associated with our choices concerning technology.

Click here to register for this event.

Small Business Meeting with Assemblymember Jim Wood
Date: November 15, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Santa Rosa—Contact samantha@csba.com for location information
Organizations: California Small Business Association
Fee: Free

Assemblymember Jim Wood will be hosting his annual small business meeting in his district on November 15th in Santa Rosa. The meeting is comprised of 6 to 8 local small business owners from within the district from a variety of industries. The purpose of the meeting is give small business a voice and to work with the Member to make small businesses in California stronger.

If you live or have a business in the district and would like to attend this meeting please email Samantha@csba.com.

Website Best Practices for Beginners
Date: November 16, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: College of Marin Building AC, Room 105
835 College Ave. Kentfield, CA 94909 (map it)
Contact: Miriam Karell | miriam@marinsbdc.org | (415) 755-1100
Organization: Marin SBDC
Fee: Free

Learn how to save time and frustration and create a more effective website with the basic principles of web design—no experience in web design or technical background necessary!

This workshop is for small business owners who are developing or maintaining their own website and want to understand the basic principles of effective website design. This is not a technical class nor do we discuss advanced search engine optimization. It does not require any specific background and we will avoid technical terms as much as possible so that everyone can understand.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Boots to Business Entrepreneurship Course
Date: November 15-16, 2017 | 7:30 am PDT – 4:00 pm PDT
Location: 14th and C St. Bldg 13150, Camp Pendleton, CA 92055 (map it)
Contact: Mike Sovacool | michael.sovacool@sba.gov | (619) 727-4881
Organization: SBA San Diego District Office
Fee: Free

Join the SBA for a Boots to Business Training Program, a two-day, free seminar designed for veterans interested in entrepreneurship.

The workshop is open to service members and their dependents transitioning or retiring from the U.S. military. To learn more information about Boots to Business, please email boots-to-business@sba.gov  call (202) 205-8381. For more SBA resources for veterans, visit SBA.gov/vets.

Click here to register for this event.

Murrieta Business Round table
Date: November 15, 2017 | 8:00 am PDT – 9:00 am PDT
Location: Murrieta Innovation Center
26442 Beckman Ct. Murrieta, CA 92562 (map it)
Contact: Diana Cescolini | diana.cescolini@scorevolunteer.org | (951) 652-4390
Organization: Inland Empire SCORE
Fee: Free

Come join business leaders and guest speakers in a great networking opportunities at a business round table meeting. This is a wonderful way to meet other business owners and discuss important topics crucial to the success of your business.

Don’t miss out on this great networking opportunity. Join us for this monthly meeting recurring on the third Wednesday of every month.

Click here to register for this event.

Small Business Meeting with Assemblymember Matt Dababneh
Date: November 17, 2017 | 1:30 pm PDT – 2:30 pm PDT
Location: Van Nuys, CA—Contact samantha@csba.com for location information
Contact: samantha@csba.com
Organizations: California Small Business Association
Fee: Free

Assemblymember Matt Dababneh will be hosting his annual small business meeting in his district on November 17th in Van Nuys. The meeting is comprised of 6 to 8 local small business owners from within the district from a variety of industries. The purpose of the meeting is give small business a voice and to work with the Member to make small businesses in California stronger.

If you live or have a business in the district and would like to attend this meeting please email Samantha@csba.com.

Virtual

Market Research for Small Business: What is it and Why do it?
Date: November 15, 2017 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Jenny Payton | jpayton@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670 ext. 10
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI)
Fee: Free

Understanding your potential customers is one of the most important keys to effective marketing. Knowing where to find them and how to speak their language translates into sales.

Before you start or expand your business, be wise and test the viability of your product or service. Learn all you can about the industry, demographics, trends, and potential customer buying habits.

This webinar is an overview of what market research is and how you can use it to start and grow your small business. We’ll cover your options to conduct market research as a small business with limited resources.

We’ll also talk about free and inexpensive ways to get research including downloading an industry report, attending an industry event, using focus groups and surveys, and crawling social media. For businesses with an international reach, we’ll also discuss resources for expanding into global markets.

The content will instantly applicable to start-ups and existing businesses. It may be especially relevant for any entrepreneur looking for funding. Empower your business decisions with data and knowledge.

Click here to register for this event.

Apps Unleashed: Grow Your Business Using Just Your Phone
Date: November 16, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Organization: SCORE
Fee: Free

A smartphone or tablet is an incredibly powerful computer, communication device, and online marketing tool—right in your pocket! There are hundreds of free and inexpensive apps at your disposal that can drive sales, improve communication with your customers, and market your business. Join this free webinar to learn how to unleash the power of your mobile device:

  • How to spot the must-have apps: including both the new and the obscure you’ve never heard of
  • How to use apps for maximum impact
  • How to utilize apps in conjunction with your other marketing efforts to magnify results

This session is designed for everyone. Beginners will not feel lost, but advanced users can learn something new.

Click here to register for this event.

Blogging to Boost Your Business
Date: November 16, 2017 | 12:00 pm PDT – 2:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Dee Ann Chandler | deeann@iewbc.org | (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $10

Discover how you can generate leads with a business blog. In this online workshop, you’ll learn blogging essentials including:

  • Tips on what to post
  • Keys to creating great content
  • Ways to attract attention with powerful headlines
  • And more!

A link to join the webinar will be sent the day before the event.

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

Shannen needed to purchase better equipment to grow her business. Thanks to our partnership with Lending Club, we’re helping Shannen reach her goals with our small business loans.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Read about Shannen Enos of Enos CPR Services. Shannen needed to purchase better equipment to grow her business. Thanks to our partnership with Lending Club, we’re helping Shannen reach her goals with our small business loans.

A Hands-on Entrepreneur

Shannen Enos started her CPR and first aid training business, Enos CPR Services, in August 2007. As an independent contractor for the American Heart Association, Shannen uses her decades of experience as a registered nurse to teach an essential life saving skill.

Through Enos CPR, Shannen provides training for companies that ask their employees to become certified in CPR, first aid, and automated external defibrillator (AED) use. Her work has taken her to teach at workplaces all around the Bay Area plus six states outside of California.

Like many small business owners, Shannen does it all for her company. On top of running her training classes, she’s the one who balances the books, maintains schedules, and develops client relationships. She also works part time as an emergency room nurse at Kaiser Walnut Creek.

Shannen knows what she needs to keep her business running well, so when she reached out to lenders to find a small business loan, she was surprised to run into several obstacles to funding.

“I needed to upgrade my equipment to offer more in-depth classes,” Shannen said. “Every single place I turned to for lending shut the door on me. They didn’t see my business growth. I never pay my bills late. I represent myself well as a business owner and a person. It felt like those lenders weren’t giving me a chance to prove it.”

She almost gave up. Then she tried one more lender.

Growing a Healthy Business

Shannen came to Opportunity Fund through our partnership with Lending Club. Based on her previous experience in business lending, she came into the process feeling skeptical.

“I figured Opportunity Fund was another company that would shut the door on me,” she said. “Opportunity Fund got back to me the very next day, apologizing for my bad experiences and saying they wanted to help.”

We worked with Shannen to close a $15,000 loan in May 2016–the first ever loan in our Lending Club partnership!

Shannen Enos - Enos CPR Services

Shannen keeps her students engaged through hands-on instruction and real world life-saving lessons (photo courtesy of Christian Peacock)

“I never knew how difficult it would be to get funding,” Shannen said. “With Opportunity Fund. I didn’t feel pushed aside. We had conversations about me as a person and me as a business owner.”

Now that Shannen has the working capital she needs for her business, she can focus on helping others learn CPR and potentially save a life. She even taught a class for our staff at Opportunity Fund’s San Jose headquarters in November 2016.

We’re proud to support hardworking entrepreneurs who make a difference, and we’re happy to help Shannen grow her business.


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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In fiscal year ’16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses. Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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 November 2 through 13.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and 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 November 2 through 13.

Northern California/Sacramento

Exploring Business Ownership: What Does it Takes to Start a Business?
Date: November 2, 2017 | 5:30 pm PDT – 7:30 pm PDT
Location: 205 Chestnut St. Mt. Shasta, CA 96067 (map it)
Contact: jpayton@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670 ext. 10
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI)
Fee: Free

Starting a business can be scary. Like any other successful adventure, the more prepared you are, the higher chance of a positive outcome. If you are considering starting a business, get informed.

Join us for this free workshop, where you’ll discover:

  • The mindset and characteristics of successful entrepreneurs
  • The different types of businesses as well as legal structures
  • Common business terminology as it applies to start-ups
  • Why conducting a feasibility study is like packing the right supplies for a trip

Click here to register for this event.

Boots to Business Reboot #MyVetBiz
Date: November 6, 2017 | 8:30 am PDT – 4:30 pm PDT
Location: SBA Fresno District Office
801 R St. Room 102 Fresno, CA 93721 (map it)
Contact: Peter Estrada | peter.estrada@sba.gov | (559) 487-5791 ext. 2703
Organizations: Fresno SBA District Office
Fee: Free

Veterans have the character, discipline, and skills needed to succeed as small business owners and entrepreneurs. Veterans can transition to entrepreneurship with help from Boots to Business Reboot.

Boots to Business Reboot is a two-step training program that provides participants with a starter kit of information for entrepreneurship:

  • Overview of business ownership as a career vocation
  • Outline and knowledge on the components of a business plan
  • Practical exercises in opportunity recognition
  • Introduction to available public and private sector resources

Step one is the Introduction to Entrepreneurship course eligible to Veterans of all eras, service members (including members of the National Guard and Reserve), and their spouses. This course is instructed by SBA and its partners, who are skilled business advisors. Step two is one of the online follow-on courses instructed by a consortium of professors and skilled business advisors from the SBA Network.

This course is also offered November 8 in Citrus Heights. Get the information here.

Click here to register for this event.

Finance Your Business
Date: November 7, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: U.S. Bank
1 California St. Suite 2000 San Francisco, CA 94111 (map it)
Contact: Diana Chavez | diana@workingsolutions.org | (415) 590-0155
Organization: Working Solutions
Fee: Free

Join this free panel discussion on business financing with financial experts from nonprofit lenders, banks, and community partners. Opportunity Fund is honored to join U.S Bank, Kiva, and host (and our community partner!) Working Solutions at this event.

Topics will include:

  • Financing options
  • What lenders are looking for
  • Credit requirements
  • Importance of a relationship with a financial institution
  • Eligibility guidelines and loan application procedures

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Boots to Business Entrepreneurship Course
Date: November 8-9, 2017 | 7:30 am PDT – 3:00 pm PDT
Location: 32nd Street Naval Base—San Diego
3455 Senn Rd., Bldg. 3210 San Diego, CA 92136 (map it)
Contact: Mike Sovacool | michael.sovacool@sba.gov | (619) 727-4881
Organization: SBA San Diego District Office
Fee: Free

Join the SBA for a Boots to Business Training Program, a two-day, free seminar designed for veterans interested in entrepreneurship.

The workshop is open to service members and their dependents transitioning or retiring from the U.S. military. To learn more information about Boots to Business, please email boots-to-business@sba.gov  call (202) 205-8381. For more SBA resources for veterans, visit SBA.gov/vets.

Click here to register for this event.

Disaster Recovery
Date: November 8, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:30 pm PDT
Location: Microsoft Store—The Shops at Mission Viejo
555 The Shops at Mission Viejo Mission Viejo, CA 92691 (map it)
Contact: workshops@score114.org | (714) 550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: Free

Join Orange County SCORE for this free workshop on disaster recovery for small businesses. Prepare for the workshop with the following agenda:

  • 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm | Registration
  • 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm | Workshop and presentation
  • 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm | Networking and raffle (bring business cards!)

Click here to register for this event.

Women’s Networking Breakfast
Date: November 10, 2017 | 7:45 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: The Jacobs Center
404 Euclid Ave. San Diego, CA 92114 (map it)
Contact: score0140@scorevolunteer.org | (619) 727-4874
Organization: SCORE San Diego
Fee: $20 through November 2 | $25 after November 2 and at the door

Join San Diego SCORE for this women’s networking breakfast. This event’s theme is Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Profit. Your registration fee includes networking, lecture, and hors d’oeuvres, with no host bar.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

5 Cheap Ways to Market Your Business Online
Date: November 7, 2017 | 12:00 pm PDT – 12:30 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Kimberly Donahue | kimberly.donahue@sba.gov | (304) 347-5220
Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration West Virginia District Office
Fee: Free

Getting your business online isn’t as complicated or expensive as you’ve been told. Join us as we discuss some ways to promote your business online without breaking the bank—or driving yourself crazy.

Click here to register for this event.

Small Business Owner Tax Workshop
Date: November 9, 2017 | 10:15 am PDT – 12:15 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (206) 553-7310
Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration Seattle District Office
Fee: Free

Learn the basics of small business taxes in this free webinar. Tax professionals will help you understand your tax reporting responsibilities.

Topics covered include:

  • Types of entities
  • Record keeping
  • Accounting methods
  • Travel and entertainment expenses
  • Business use of home
  • Self-employment taxes
  • Estimated taxes
  • Independent contractors
  • Choosing a tax preparer

The SBA Seattle District Office offers free workshops the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, except for the 4th Thursdays in November and December. Classes held on the 2nd Thursday of the month are online webinars only.

Here’s an upcoming slate of free November events:
Live webinar | November 9 | 9 – 10 a.m. | Make the World’s Biggest Buyer Your Customer Through Government Contracts
Live webinar | November 9 | 12:30 – 2 p.m. | Choosing the Right Business Structure
Live webinar | November 9 | 2:15 – 3:45 p.m. | Register, License, Go!

Click here to register for this event and to get more information on upcoming seminars from the SBA Seattle District office.

After Lunch Webinar Series: Effective Human Resources for Small Businesses
Date: November 9, 2017 | 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

This webinar will focus on building an HR infrastructure within your company.  Topics include:

  • Effective interview questions
  • Content of an onboarding program
  • Value of performance appraisals
  • Rationale for implementing progressive discipline  

Participants will also learn the best practices for ending an employment relationship and how an Employee Handbook can assist in making HR decisions.

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

Gayle founded a successful business card management company in San Diego. When she needed to complete a major software project, Opportunity Fund was there to help with a small business loan. Thanks to the working capital, BusinessCardManager.com is on the fast track to greater success.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  Read about Gayle Hawks of BusinessCardManager.com in San Diego. Gayle founded a successful business card management company in San Diego. When she needed to complete a major software project, Opportunity Fund was there to help with a small business loan. Thanks to the working capital, BusinessCardManager.com is on the fast track to greater success.

Managing Success

Gayle Hawks started BusinessCardManager.com in 2002 in San Diego. The online company manages business cards for large organizations and government agencies throughout the United States. “We work with any business in the public or private sector, for profit and non-profit, that has 100 employees or more,” Gayle said.  

With the help of her business partner and husband Keith, Gayle has grown the online company into a leader in online business card management. As the business grew, she had to add staff and build a new sales office. Gayle saw the future of her company in advanced software for BusinessCardManager.com. They needed an application program interface (API) to create the upgraded business card procurement and management solutions that put the company on the map.

“The new API allows us to offer services to large organizations that no one else can,” Gayle said.

Working capital didn’t come easy for Gayle, even as BusinessCardManager.com was doing well. It’s a tough industry where many printing companies failed during the latest recession. Plus, she had waves of high-interest loan offers coming at her from every angle. Her search for the right loan was complicated.

Graduating to Better Financing

Gayle learned about Opportunity Fund through her small business lending research online. She reached out to our business development officer Adriana Williams, who helped close a $35,000 loan for BusinessCardManager.com in July 2015.

“Adriana was easy to work with,” Gayle said. “Everything was professional and quick. I never had to wait for her to call me back. I never had to wonder about a thing.”

The loan allowed Gayle and her team to complete and launch their new software.  “Without the loan from Opportunity Fund, we would be a year behind,” Gayle said.

Gayle Hawks - BCM.com

Opportunity Fund helps small business owners like Gayle “graduate” to better small business financing (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)


Gayle is thankful for the working capital that gave her some breathing room while launching the best version of BusinessCardManager.com. Even better, she was able to repay the loan is less than two years. With help from our fast, easy-to-get, and affordable small business loans, her business can qualify for lower interest, longer-term loans from lenders like the U.S. Small Business Administration. We’ve helped small business owners like Gayle “graduate” to better financing.

The next level of the business is an online portal integrated with human capital management software platforms that will allow clients to manage their business cards from any platform. “That’s our future,” Gayle said. “We want to hire more sales staff and expand our marketing to get to the next level.”

We’re excited to support successful entrepreneurs like Gayle and we’re proud to watch her take the next step with her business.

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

Some business owners find it hard to ask for help because it may look as if they aren’t running their business as well as they could. However, considering a business mentor is worth asking for help. Business advising can really help you run your small business better in areas that might not be your strong suit.

Some business owners find it hard to ask for help because it may look as if they aren’t running their business as well as they could. However, considering a business mentor is worth asking for help. Business advising can really help you run your small business better in areas that might not be your strong suit.

 

Back in September 2017, Opportunity Fund partnered with Pacific Community Ventures (PCV) to provide you with free small business advising. With their Business Advising program, you can easily get a mentor to help you in your industry, on your schedule, and with your goals in mind. For free!

Now that we’ve gotten your interest, keep reading for reasons a small business mentor can really help.

Get Personalized Help For Your Specific Challenges

Nobody expects you to be an expert in all areas of running a business. You started your small business because of a passion you had, not because you knew everything about the business world. This is where having a business advisor can really help you work on your business, not in your business.

A mentor can offer advice for challenging areas you face as a small business owner. Online resources and group workshops can only help so much. Business advisers focus on your specific business challenges. Do you have a great product but not sure how to best market it? Have you hired new contractors but don’t know how you’re supposed to document and pay taxes for them? A business adviser can answer these questions for you.

Business Advising Can Actually Grow Your Business

Companies that go through PCV’s Business Advising program have shown a 20% revenue growth and job growth at eight times the national average. The reason why their program is successful is because they recruit hundreds of professional mentors that are industry experts to volunteer their time. These mentors aren’t doing it to get a paycheck, they genuinely want to help you grow your business. That is the recipe for real success.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, only 30% of businesses last 10 years. But for small business owners with a mentor, 70% survive ten years – double the rate of those without a mentor. If you’re invested in your small business for the long-haul, you’ll want to work with a mentor.

Think You Don’t Have Time? Think Again!

Small business owners are entrepreneurs and are naturally extremely busy. Business seminars, workshops, and community center programs often require a significant amount of your time and prior planning to attend. You might feel that you don’t have the time to meet with a business advisor in person.

However, online business advising with PCV is the perfect solution. With the option of meeting with an adviser online, you cut out the problem of geography and meet instantly wherever you are. Enrolling is easy and doesn’t take more than a few minutes out of your day. Meet with your personal adviser when you need the help.

Get started today!

Enrollment only takes a few minutes.  Visit now or call 415-442-4300 and reference this special offer from Opportunity Fund.

 

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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In FY16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Visit us online at http://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 October 17 through 31.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and 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 October 17 through 31.

Northern California/Sacramento

CPUC/PacifiCorp Redding Small/Diverse Business Expo
Date: October 19, 2017 | 7:30 am PDT – 1:30 pm PDT
Location: Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center
1900 Hilltop Dr. Redding, CA 96002 (map it)
Contact: smallbiz@cpuc.ca.gov | (800) 253-0500
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI)
Fee: Free

California and its utility companies: PacifiCorp, PG&E, Southern California Edison, Sempra Utilities, AT&T, Comcast, Frontier, T-Mobile, California Water Association, and more want your business.

Join us to learn of opportunities and how to get contracts. Start networking with public agencies, utility companies, prime contractors, and business resource centers at this all-day event.

This event will include:

  • One-on-one business matchmaking (pre-scheduled basis only)
  • Buyer meetings
  • Vendor and resource fair
  • Educational workshops
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

Developing Powerful Presentation Skills—What Women Entrepreneurs Need to Know
Date: October 25, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:45 pm PDT
Location: James Irvine Center—A Room
353 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza Oakland, CA 94612 (map it)
Contact: Lee Lambert | lee@acsbdc.org | (510) 208-0410
Organizations: Alameda County SBDC
Fee: Free

This seminar will teach the core principles of highly effective business presentations for women entrepreneurs. This skill is critical for all women business owners to help secure funding, to attract customer and business partners, and to share their products and services in a community forum.

Skills covered will include:

  • Effective body language and visual attributes that engage the audience
  • Effective presentation development including visual, vocal and verbal skills
  • Presentation content development
  • Incorporation of the authentic self into presentations
  • Common pitfalls women encounter when presenting

Click here to register for this event.

Livermore Small Business Fair
Date: October 26, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Livermore Public Library —Civic Center
1188 S. Livermore Ave. Livermore, CA 94550 (map it)
Contact: Ellen Dean | eedean@livermore.lib.ca.us | (925) 373-5500
Organization: City of Livermore
Fee: Free

Join the Livermore Small Business Fair to get information and resources you need to help grow your business, like:

  • A business resource exhibit
  • One-on-one consultations
  • Workshop sessions including Financing Your Business, Growing Your Business Online, and Overview of SCORE services for small business

This training event is presented by local small business organizations and supporters: Livermore Public Library, Livermore Valley Chamber of Commerce, East Bay SCORE, Alameda County SBDC, and UNCLE Credit Union.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Legal Forms of Organization
Date: October 17, 2017 | 6:30 pm PDT – 8:30 pm PDT
Location: 3780 Market St. Riverside, CA 92501 (map it)
Contact: Dee Ann Chandler | deeann@iewbc.org | (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

Join this workshop to learn about the forms of business organization. Get the word straight from a lawyer to clarify your key questions:

  • What is the most beneficial business structure for my business?
  • What are the the tax consequences and benefits of each business structure?
  • How can I protect my personal assets and property from lawsuits?
  • How do I prevent piercing the “corporate veil” of protection?
  • What do I have to know about business law from start up to success?

Click here to register for this event.

MyVetBiz: 2017 Veteran and Military Entrepreneur Conference & Awards
Date: October 25, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 7:30 pm PDT
Location: Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine
3777 La Jolla Village Dr. San Diego, CA 92122 (map it)
Contact: Audrey Marlow | amarlow@sdbj.com | (858) 277-6359
Organization: San Diego Business Journal
Fee: $65—$150 (free for Veterans, Active Duty and Military Spouses with valid military identification)

With its proud military history and presence, San Diego boasts one of the most robust markets for veteran or military spouse-owned businesses in the United States. Join the San Diego Business Journal, in partnership with The Rosie Network, to celebrate and support local veteran entrepreneurs and military spouses with this new awards program and educational conference. Winners and finalists will be honored in a special San Diego Business Journal supplement.

Conference and Lunch
10:00 – 10:30 am Registration
10:30 am – 10:45 am Welcome: Stephanie Brown, The Rosie Network & Huntley Paton, San Diego Business Journal
10:45 – 11:15 am Keynote from Jerry Sanders, President and CEO, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce
11:30 am – 12:15 pm Breakout Session #1
12:15 – 1:15 pm Lunch with the Experts
1:30 – 2:15 pm Breakout Session #2
2:30 – 3:30 pm Breakout Session #3

Special Awards Reception and Dinner
4:00 – 5:00 pm Networking
5:00 – 6:30 pm Dinner and Awards Program
6:30 – 7:30 pm Networking

General Admission tickets for the 2017 Veteran and Military Entrepreneur Conference are $65.00 per person. The conference is free for Veterans, Active Duty, and Military Spouses (present valid military identification at registration check in). General Admission tickets for the 2017 Veteran and Military Entrepreneur Awards are $150.00 per person.

Click here to register for this event.

Small Business Resource Expo
Date: October 27, 2017 | 10:30 am PDT – 2:30 pm PDT
Location: 501 S. Bixel St. Los Angeles, CA 90017 (map it)
Contact: info@laccnp.org | (213) 482-8618
Organization: Central City Neighborhood Partners
Fee: Free

The Los Angeles Alliance for Economic Inclusion is hosting a Small Business Resource Expo that will offer small business workshops on the basics of financing in English and Spanish. Join Opportunity Fund at the resource expo featuring nonprofits, CDFIs, and government agencies that offer lending and technical assistance resources.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Ask SCORE: Business Plans
Date: October 17, 2017 | 11:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: monmouthscore@gmail.com | (732) 224-2573
Organization: Monmouth (N.J.) Score
Fee: Free

Did you know: You are twice as likely to grow your business or get funding if you have a business plan. In this live Q&A session, SCORE mentor and business plan expert Hal Shelton will devote the entire hour to answering attendees’ questions about the business plan. Attendees can submit questions in the registration form and during the live webinar.

Click here to register for this event.

How to Have the Best Holiday Season Ever
Date: October 18, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Diana Cescolini | diana.cescolini@scorevolunteer.org | (951) 652-4390
Organization: Inland Empire SCORE
Fee: $15

It’s no secret that holiday spending is higher than any other time of year. Don’t miss out on your piece of the holiday pie! Let us show you how to influence your potential customers’ purchases by making an offer they can’t resist.

During this webinar, you’ll learn how to:

  • Select the right offer for your ideal audience
  • Create a quick and effective promotional plan
  • Design an offer that stands out, especially on mobile
  • Reach new customers and spread the word using social media

If you’re hoping to make this your best holiday season yet, you won’t want to miss this event. Join us to find out exactly how to achieve and exceed your holiday goals.

Click here to register for this event.

How to Steer Clear of Accidental Discrimination When Hiring
Date: October 19, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (800) 634-0245
Organization: SCORE
Fee: Free

With every new hire, your objective is to select the most qualified person for the job. You’re also responsible for supporting a fair and diverse workforce – and for upholding anti-discrimination laws by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Whether intentional or not, hiring practices that discriminate against protected applicants could lead to serious legal trouble.

Are you aware of the various federal and state laws that prevent discrimination? Just as important, are you confident your hiring process treats every job seeker equally and fairly?

Attend this webinar for a discussion of the oversights that can hurt your hiring efforts – and what you can say, do and ask each step of the way to avoid accidental discrimination.

You will learn:

  • Major anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Language to avoid when advertising and recruiting
  • Checklist of right and wrong interview questions
  • Precautions with background/criminal checks
  • Dos and don’ts of accessing social media accounts

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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In fiscal year ‘16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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

Disasters and emergency situations are not glamorous things to prepare for when running a business. You may feel the urge to put off planning for disasters because you don’t feel an immediate need and your work day is busy, but it is vital to spend the time to plan in order to protect your business in a disaster.

Disasters and emergency situations are not glamorous things to prepare for when running a business. You may feel the urge to put off planning for disasters because you don’t feel an immediate need and your work day is busy, but it is vital to spend the time to plan in order to protect your business in a disaster.

 

Real world disasters are often less dramatic and more emotionally devastating than Hollywood movies portray them. When a disaster hits your community, you might feel hopeless and overwhelmed. As a small business owner, you have to prepare for emergency scenarios with your business in addition to your personal life.

The way to prevent that black hole feeling when you see your store damaged or destroyed is by planning. Think about all the potential emergencies that your business type and your local environment could experience and create solid plans.

Before Disaster Strikes

Having a plan in place is key to being well prepared. Below is a short list of things you need to consider in your emergency plan. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and SCORE have comprehensive lists of detailed checklists and resources for free. Rehearse and disseminate your plan with your employees and keep copies of all important documents and contact information in a secure, offsite location for quick retrieval.

  • Insurance. Make sure you have all the information and paperwork you need ahead of time for your insurance provider. If your business is located in a particularly vulnerable location, consider additional coverage for natural disasters. Not all standard insurance plans cover these emergencies, so be sure to comb through your terms to be familiar with what damage is covered and what isn’t in the case of a disaster.
  • Inventory. If you aren’t already conducting regular inventory checks for business growth, then you should start doing it for the sake of recovery. Try to keep inventory records in different ways such as digital, physical, and photographic if possible. Insurance companies will want to know exactly what was damaged or destroyed. Police will need to know what was stolen in cases of looting. Knowing what you have will also help you get back to business once the disaster is over.
  • Communication. Keep updated records of employees’ contact information. If you need to reach them during or after an emergency, make sure all parties are aware how this communication will happen.
  • Business Continuity Plan. Do you have backup payroll, supply chain, and standard procedure for disasters? Your employees need to know specifically what the procedure is for evacuations and returning to work once the emergency has ended. Be flexible but aware – people panic in emergencies and may just disappear if there is no clear plan.
  • Supplies. While keeping a fire extinguisher and first aid kit onsite is obvious, do you have an easy-to-access supply of water, flashlights, blankets, nonperishable food items, and protective gear if the workplace needs to become a temporary shelter?
  • Personnel Safety. Conduct regular drills for common emergencies with your employees. Encourage or provide CPR training and certification. Establish a safe meeting place outside the workplace for small emergencies such as a building fire and learn where local shelter and evacuation points are for larger disasters. Make sure exits are not blocked, windows can open, and tall furniture or machinery are properly secured to the walls.

The American Red Cross has a handy, easy-to-read PDF checklist that you can download for free:

Small Business Emergency Checklist

In the Eye of the Storm

Now that you’ve created plans, copied documents, and practiced for different scenarios, it is time for you to put it all to good use.

In an emergency, you will need to be a leader not a manager. As a small business owner, your employees will look to management for guidance and assurance. If you are not calm and decisive, then they will panic and people could get hurt.

Once the Dust Clears

Make safety your top priority! Listen to law enforcement and emergency responders to know when you can safely return to the workplace for cleanup and resuming business operations. Don’t rush in until you know you and your employees are safe. Depending on your industry and the kind of disaster, there may be chemical leaks, mold, smoke damage, and other health risks.

Once you get back, take pictures of everything. Take detailed photos of damage and inventory for insurance claims. Don’t start repairs or cleanup until you have taken care of insurance, or you may pay more out of pocket than you need. Keep track of any expenses related to recovery. If insurance isn’t enough to cover damages, seek outside help from reputable organizations and business recovery centers.

Contact your bank, lenders, suppliers, clients, and anyone else who needs to be kept up to date with missed payments or deadlines. Most people will be understandable if you respond promptly.

 

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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In FY16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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

Javier Rodriguez needed a small business loan to improve his Colombian restaurant in San Diego. Thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund, Javier was able to buy inventory from Colombia and new equipment for Antojitos Colombianos.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  Read about Javier Rodriguez of Antojitos Colombianos in San Diego. Opportunity Fund helped Javier get the loan he needed to buy inventory from Colombia and new equipment for his Colombian restaurant.

Serving Up Success

Javier Rodriguez opened the first Colombian restaurant in San Diego in 2011. Six years later, Antojitos Colombianos has grown into an essential neighborhood spot for authentic Colombian food and good times with friends.

Javier came to the United States from Colombia to study business. After studying at San Diego City College, he worked in the hospitality and restaurant management industry for over two decades. Before long, he followed through with his dream to start his own business.

“I didn’t want to work for someone else,” he said. “I wanted time for my family and to set my own schedule.”

Family is a big part of Javier’s life, both at home and the restaurant. Antojitos Colombianos staff is mostly family members, from Javier’s wife and kids to cousins and nephews. “I’m thankful for my business,” he said. “We can pay the bills and rent, and we can put some money aside to travel to Colombia.”

With 20 years of success in the industry and two Small Business of the Year awards from California State Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, Javier is no stranger to success. He found he needed a little help to keep Antojitos Colombianos on top for his customers. “I needed to buy merchandise from Colombia, which is very expensive,” he said. “I needed new equipment too.”

Helping Entrepreneurs Engage Their Communities

Javier followed a tip from a friend and fellow business owner about Opportunity Fund. When Javier met loan officer Byron Escobar, he knew it was the right connection.

“Byron came to my house to help me get started with the loan process,” Javier said. “The money was in my bank account 72 hours after I signed the application.”

Javier and Byron - Antojitos Colombianos

Javier works with Byron to improve his business and to reach out to entrepreneurs in his neighborhood (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)


Byron helped close the $10,000 loan in September 2016. The fast, easy-to-get, and affordable capital made a difference in Javier’s business right away. The regulars from the Imperial Avenue neighborhood mix with customers from the nearby military base to create a fun atmosphere with live music and delicious food.

Javier is grateful for the connection to Opportunity Fund, not just for the working capital but also to build a relationship with a lender that understands his needs.

“I tried other lenders,” he said. “There were so many requirements. Unfortunately I didn’t meet some of them.”

See how we’re helping Javier grow his business in this video:


Javier gives back to the small business community by hosting meetings at his restaurant for local entrepreneurs to meet Byron and get answers to their questions about financing.

We’re proud to support outstanding small business owners like Javier and we’re glad to assist him with building a network for local entrepreneurs.

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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In fiscal year ‘16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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