As a small business owner, you want to take advantage of any opportunity to level out the playing field of competition. Minority-owned small businesses programs designed to help get equal opportunities. Our content partner Nav explains this certificate, why you should certify, and how to do it.

As a small business owner, you want to take advantage of any opportunity to level out the playing field of competition. Minority-owned small businesses programs designed to help get equal opportunities. Our content partner Nav.com explains this certificate, why you should certify, and how to do it.

 

In 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that there were 8 million minority-owned businesses in the U.S. That’s a huge number of business owners looking for opportunities to achieve the American dream and make it as a successful entrepreneur.

If you own one of those businesses, becoming certified as a minority-owned business allows you to access certain government and private-sector programs that can help support your efforts. Here are three certifications/qualifications that can help minority business owners get support for their venture.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) DBE Certification

The DOT developed the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Certification to assist DBE companies that wish to compete for federally assisted highway, transit, airport and highway safety contracts. Any state or local government that receives DOT funding must maintain a DBE program that conforms to DOT standards.

Eligibility standards state that you must be in a socially and economically disadvantaged group and own 51% or more of a small business. The DOT uses the definition of “presumed groups” as defined in the next section. Other individuals may prove their disadvantaged status based on the DOT standards — these are handled on a case-by-case basis and is intended for groups that have disproportionately low incomes and high unemployment rates.

Contact your state Department of Transportation to learn how to apply for DBE Certification.

The 8(a) Business Development Program

The 8(a) Business Development Program was created by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace. This nine-year program provides business assistance to help disadvantaged businesses succeed in government contracting and in competing for commercial business. The goal of the program is to “graduate” companies that will thrive in today’s competitive environment. Before you can apply for the program, however, you need to qualify as a socially disadvantaged individual.

Some minority groups automatically qualify as “presumed groups,” meaning they are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged and can apply to the program. These groups include African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans and Subcontinent Asian Americans. In addition, Alaska Native Corporations, Indian Tribes, Native Hawaiian Organizations and Community Development Corporations can also apply to the program.

Besides being in a presumed group, there are other SBA requirements that must be met by the owners of the business and the business itself. You can review the steps in the application process on the SBA website. Qualifying as a socially disadvantaged individual isn’t technically a certification, but the program is large enough that we wanted to include these standards in the article.

There are a number of benefits offered by the program. For instance, participants can receive sole-source contracts and can form joint ventures and teams to strengthen their position when bidding on contracts. In addition, the Mentor-Protégé Program pairs successful firms with companies new to the program. The mentors provide a range of assistance, including technical expertise, contracting help and more.

The National Minority Supplier Development Council’s MBE Certification

The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSC) is a trade group that supports certified minority business enterprises in obtaining new business opportunities and connects them to their network, which includes corporate members. Their goal is to help MBEs integrate into industry supply chains and to help corporate members meet the increasing call for supplier diversity. The council’s efforts match more than 12,000 MBEs to their impressive network of corporate members.

The council’s regional affiliates coordinate the MBE certification process, and you’ll want to start your application by contacting the affiliate closest to your company’s headquarters. You can visit NMSDC Central to learn more about applying for certification and completing the MBE Certification Application.

This is not a government-affiliated program like the 8(a) and DBE certification. There is an application fee for processing the application. The application process also includes a site visit and interview. The Council’s Certification Committee will review your application, and final approval is issued by the Council’s Board after a review of the committee’s recommendations.

In general, your business may apply for certification if the company is 51% owned and operated by minority individuals who are U.S. citizens. The minority ownership members must manage the company’s daily operations, and it must be a for-profit enterprise located in the U.S. or its trust territories.

 

This article originally appeared on Nav.com and was re-purposed with their permission.

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

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 September 18 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 September 18 through 30.

Northern California/Sacramento

Finance Your Business
Date: September 20, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: Business Assistance Center
270 Frank Ogawa Plaza Oakland, CA 94612 (map it)
Contact: Diana Chavez | diana@workingsolutions.org | (415) 590-0155
Organization: Working Solutions
Fee: Free

Join this panel discussion with Working Solutions, U.S. Bank, Kiva, and Opportunity Fund to learn about key resources for lending for small businesses:

  • 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.

Business Basics Series
Date: September 26, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: College of Marin—IVC Building 27 Room 112
1800 Ignacio Blvd. Novato, CA 94949 (map it)
Contact: Miriam Karell | miriam@marinsbdc.org | (415) 755-1100
Organization: Marin SBDC
Fee: $25

Learn what it takes to start a business and succeed! This series of 3 classes is perfect for those exploring business ownership and want more information about what it takes to run a business. This workshop series is also helpful for new business owners who want to brush up on strategic planning, finances and marketing.

Business Planning gives you the basic information on business start-up, business planning, and different types of business plans. Explore planning tools to help you define your unique business vision and develop a strategy that works.

Each class can be taken individually or as a series. You save $15 by registering for all 3 workshops.

Click here to register for this event.

Meetup: Escape the Bootstrap Trap with Jenny Kassan
Date: September 27, 2017 | 6:30 pm PDT – 8:30 pm PDT
Location: 1500 MacDonald Ave. Richmond, CA 94801 (map it)
Contact: Bret Sweet | bsweet@rencenter.org | (510) 221-2002
Organizations: Renaissance Richmond
Fee: Free

Join business coach Jenny Kassan for Escape the Bootstrap Trap: How to Get the Money You Need to Grow Your Business Without Maxing Out Your Credit Cards or Putting Your Personal Assets at Risk.

Are you:

  • Tired of not having the resources you need to do what you want with your business?
  • Wearing a million hats in your business instead of getting the right help?
  • Worried about how much of your personal assets you’re investing in your business?

This talk will teach you:

  • Three keys to get clear on your path for bringing the resources you need into your business
  • Ways to find the right investors that allow you to grow your business on your terms
  • Strategies to create a sustainable business that fits with your chosen lifestyle, goals, and values

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

San Diego Small Business Expo
Date: September 21, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: San Diego Convention Center—Hall H
111 W. Harbor Dr. San Diego, CA 92101 (map it)
Contact: clientservices@theshowproducers.com | (212) 404-2345
Organization: Small Business Expo
Fee: Free (upgraded services are available starting at $20)

Small Business Expo is America’s biggest and most anticipated business-to-business networking event, trade show, and conference for business owners, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and decision-makers.

Why you should attend:

  • Network with thousands of business owners, entrepreneurs and start-ups
  • Access to 25+ Business Critical workshops and seminars to help your business grow
  • Join speed networking sessions to make new contacts quickly
  • Learn about new cutting-edge products and services
  • Establish hundreds of new and valuable contacts
  • Interact with the movers and shakers of your industry
  • Leave the show with hundreds of qualified sales leads

Your free admission badge gives you access to the following areas of the Expo:

  • Exhibitor Hall
  • Workshops and seminars
  • ‘Get Dotted’ Business Networking Areas
  • Speed Networking Sessions
  • Business Card Showcase and Exchange
  • #smallbizselfie Contest
  • eLounge
  • Inspiration2020 Theatre Business Presentations, including Bill Walsh – The 7 Keys to Build a 7-Figure Business Presentation from 4:30 PM-6PM, Google’s Main Stage Presentations, the Free Bonus Small Business Workshop presented by our Titanium Sponsor, Powerteam International

Upgraded services are available for additional fees starting at $20. For more information about these services, click here.

Click here to register for this event.

Veteran-Owned Small Business Risk Education Workshop
Date: September 26, 2017 | 8:30 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Bob Hope Patriotic Hall
1816 S. Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90015 (map it)
Contact: info@wbc-la.org | (818) 907-9922
Organization: VEDC Women’s Business Center
Fee: Free

DID YOU KNOW you could be held liable for the auto accident of an employee? WHAT WOULD YOU DO if your supplier couldn’t deliver an item you use in your end product? COULD YOUR BUSINESS STAY OPEN if there was a natural disaster or if you had major surgery?

VEDC has partnered with Travelers to bring you this Small Business Risk Education workshop. Join us and learn how to better protect your small business. If you are a veteran or service-disabled veteran entrepreneur, we will teach you safety and loss prevention strategies, and develop a plan to address your business risks.

Topics covered in this workshop:

  • Managing business relationship risk
  • Keeping your business up and running
  • Establishing driver and vehicle safety

Minorities and women-owned businesses are encouraged to participate. Complimentary breakfast and networking begin at 8:30 am with the class following at 9:00 am.

Click here to register for this event.

SCORE’s 5th Annual Women Business Owners Conference
Date: September 28, 2017 | 7:30 am PDT – 4:00 pm PDT
Location: The Great Wolf Lodge
12681 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove, CA 92840 (map it)
Contact: Debbie Molino | Debbie.Molino@score114.org | (714) 550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: $79

Dare to Stand Out! Join SCORE for the annual Women Business Owners Conference: an interactive event for the savvy entrepreneur. Learn marketing strategies from women entrepreneurs scheduled to speak:

  • Keynote speaker Nellie Akalp, CorpNet CEO: How to Embrace the “Small” in Small Business
  • Liz Goodgold, REDFire Branding
  • Lisa T.D. Nguyen, Senhoa Jewelry Founder
  • Roni Ramos: Harmony 3 Productions, Founder

Your $79 admission fee includes breakfast, lunch, and parking. Please register before the Sept. 26 deadline.  

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

50 Ways to Get More Customers
Date: September 19, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: score.fairfieldcounty@gmail.com | (203) 831-0065
Organization: Fairfield County (Conn.) SCORE
Fee: Free

Join this free webinar to learn simple techniques and discover tools to increase your customer base in the age of the Internet. Together we’ll cover how to develop your presence and showcase your expertise to bring customers to you using a pre-sales nurturing campaign, social media, and email marketing. Get started with free tools and techniques plus get basic templates and then hit the ground running to boost your business.

Topics will include:

  • Learn how sales has changed with the Internet
  • Create to create credibility, authority and trust
  • Set up your device (laptop, tablet, or Chromebook) with the Chrome browser and a Gmail account
  • Get started with Google Analytics for a WordPress website and other website building apps
  • Create nurturing email campaigns with tracking in a Google Sheet with canned emails
  • Understand how to repurpose and plan content for use on social media sites and in email marketing campaigns
  • Discover tools to help research potential clients

Click here to register for this event.

Targets of Opportunity: Recent Study Reveals Best Potentials for Economic Growth in our Region
Date: September 20, 2017 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: Free

What could you and your business do if you knew:

  • Which industries show strong economic growth?
  • What occupations will be growing in the future?
  • What entrepreneurial activity will look like in our region?

Start using data to make your business decisions. Join this webinar to learn how the far mountains region of Northern California (specifically Siskiyou, Shasta, Trinity, and Humboldt Counties) fared in the last national recession and which industry areas defied the recession and saw growth. We’ll uncover the industry groups which showed a combination of business growth, job growth, wage growth, and job opportunities. We’ll understand the trends in our region’s entrepreneurial growth and how that growth ties into the region’s industries.

Targets of Opportunity Study:

  • Which industries in your area show economic strength and competitive advantage
  • Which areas of the economy provide growing entrepreneurial opportunities, emerging businesses, increasing employment and rising wages
  • How your local economy links with the larger regional economy
  • Which businesses are economically interdependent yet have common supply chains, labor needs, technologies, and markets

This webinar will be useful for potential entrepreneurs, business owners, and economic development or workforce professionals.

All who register will receive a confirmation email containing information on how to join the webinar, plus a recording of the live event.

Click here to register for this event.

Improve Your Online Presence to Attract More Customers
Date: September 28, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: webinars@score.org
Organization: SCORE
Fee: Free

Can customers easily find your small business online? Is all the information on your website, business listings, reviews, and social media correct and current? Inaccuracy can be costly and detrimental to your business and reputation.

Join this webinar to get started with immediate steps to building an accurate online presence.

You’ll learn:

  • What is an online presence, and why is it important to manage?
  • How to check your online data across the web (website, listing, reviews, social media)
  • How incorrect data can have a negative impact on your business
  • How to correct online business data immediately

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

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable tools that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your toolbox for five free collaboration tools.

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable tools that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your toolbox for five free collaboration tools.

It is hard to run a small business by yourself. That’s why you hire employees to delegate tasks to and work on bigger projects with – but this can get complicated. We’ve compiled this list of tools and resources that will help you manage and track team projects and shared tasks.

Hipchat

How much it costs: Free with a $2.00 a month premium plan

What it does: Hipchat is more than just a chat room for your employees. With their free, easy-to-use interface, you can also share files securely and create group chats or talk with members one-on-one. Their premium paid plan gives you unlimited file sharing storage and includes video conferencing capabilities. An amazing feature is the ability to search through conversations to find that one message you need.

MeisterTask

How much it costs: Free with paid premium plans

What it does: MeisterTask is a project management application that centers around collaboration and team coordination. This app offers mobile integration, checklists, deadline notifications, file sharing, and instant communication between team members. Simply open your dashboard in the morning, see what progress has been made on projects, and focus on what is important to running your business.

Trello

How much it costs: Free with paid premium plans

What it does: Trello is a simple way to track projects among your staff. Easily create projects and subtasks, add as many people who are involved, attach photos and files to projects, set deadlines, and start conversations through project comments. The free plan also allows for one “Power-up” which can sync an outside application or add a special feature your Trello account.

Producteev

How much it costs: Free with paid premium plan

What it does: With unlimited users, tasks, and projects, Producteev is a great task management service for collaborating. You can connect employees to shared projects with to-do lists, deadlines, auditing, priorities, and notifications. Easily turn work emails into tasks by forwarding them to Producteev. The premium plan only offers two additional services: personalized support and customization of the interface with your small business’ colors and logo.

Dropbox

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Dropbox is a really popular file-sharing service. Store your files in the cloud and sync with the people you want to share with. You also have the ability to collaborate with others on slides already uploaded into Dropbox. No more hassle of downloading, editing, and re-uploading files hundreds of times!

 

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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In FY16 year, 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

Small businesses that get ongoing business advice are more likely to sustainably manage or grow their business and achieve long-term success. That’s why Opportunity Fund has joined with Pacific Community Ventures to provide you with free business advising through Pacific Community Venture’s BusinessAdvising.org program.

Small businesses that get ongoing business advice are more likely to sustainably manage or grow their business and achieve long-term success. That’s why Opportunity Fund has joined with Pacific Community Ventures to provide you with free business advising through Pacific Community Venture’s BusinessAdvising.org program.

 

Opportunity Fund has partnered with PCV to offer you free business advising for your small business. You know how to run your business, but this business advising program can help you run it better. Learn how to scale up your business to take advantage of diversity supplier programs, expand your business’ products and services, generate profit beyond just breaking even, and more.

Business Advising That Fits Your Schedule and Needs

With our Business Advising program, you will be matched with a mentor who is an experienced, knowledgeable expert in your industry. These pro bono experts come from major banks, consulting firms, and Fortune 500 companies – and they want to help you!

Meet with them in person, over the phone, or online whenever your schedule works. Set goals that meet your short-term and long-term business goals.

Your advisor can help you with:

  • Marketing
  • Finance and accounting
  • Executive coaching
  • Business planning
  • Scaling up for large contracts
  • Operations (supply chains, B2B, B2C)
  • And more!

Get started today. Visit BusinessAdvising.org/opportunity-fund or call 415-442-4300 and reference this special offer from Opportunity Fund to get matched up with your business mentor. You don’t have to go it alone — make Pacific Community Ventures Business Advising program a part of your long-term business success!

Who is Pacific Community Ventures?

Pacific Community Ventures is a nonprofit that works with small businesses, investors, and policymakers to build an economy that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Located in Northern California, they offer small business owners financial and business coaching, access to community networks, and a unified voice to policymakers on their behalf.

Get started today!

Enrollment only takes a few minutes.  Visit BusinessAdvising.org/opportunity-fund 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

Roan wanted to grow her art studio into a hub for local artists. Thanks to three small business loans from Opportunity Fund, The Arsenal is opening a new studio and gallery in San Jose’s Japantown.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Roan Victor of The Arsenal in San Jose. Roan wanted to grow her art studio into a hub for local artists. Thanks to three small business loans from Opportunity Fund, The Arsenal is opening a new studio and gallery in San Jose’s Japantown.

Creating Connections in the San Jose Art Community

Roan Victor started The Arsenal in the summer of 2011. Roan and her husband Sean Boyles, both artists based in San Jose, chose to open an art studio and gallery in their hometown.

The Arsenal offers art classes and workshops to artists in the community of all ages and skill levels. “We work with all kinds of people,” Roan said. “Seniors would come in to buy oil paints, and at the same time, younger guys would come in to buy spray paint. They would all interact with each other. It was fun to bring different cultures and ages together.”

Roan’s vision for her business included a move to their dream location in San Jose’s Japantown, for the community art connections, walkable neighborhood, and strong small business network. First, she needed a small business loan to help The Arsenal grow.

Her business banker at Bank of America was focused more on the financial success of The Arsenal, which didn’t meet her needs as a small business owner. “Our goal is to have a significant contribution to the art community in San Jose,” she said.

Opportunity Fund Helps The Arsenal Stay in the Picture

Bank of America connected Roan to Opportunity Fund loan consultant Laly Velazquez, who was able to close a $4,000 loan in September 2014 for The Arsenal. The funds helped Roan set up a new classroom space with proper lighting. Roan paid off the loan in less than a year and applied for a second loan of $8,000 in June 2015, which helped replace and maintain equipment like their silk screen machine.

Roan came back for a third loan this January for $8,000 to help move The Arsenal to Japantown. Roan and Sean are working with Roan’s sister Regine to prepare their new space for a grand re-opening this summer. With their new space, The Arsenal can offer studio space to local artists, plus more classes and workshops featuring artists from the area and a brand new art gallery.

Roan Victor - The Arsenal

Roan is a teacher, a business leader, and an advocate for her community arts scene (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

Laly’s help through the loan process made a difference for Roan. “Sean and I both went to school for art so we don’t have a business background,” Roan said. “Working with Laly is like talking to a friend. She shows me what to do and how Opportunity Fund can help.”

Roan sees The Arsenal as a part of Japantown’s thriving arts scene and business community. “Our goal is to have a great studio with everything artists need, like what I had when I was studying painting at San Jose State,” she said. “I want to build a hub where artists with different experiences can work together.”

We’re proud to support Roan’s dreams to build The Arsenal into a community hub for artists and creators.

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. Last year, 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

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 September 1 through 17.

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 September 1 through 17.

Northern California/Sacramento

IDEAS TO ASSETS—A Practical Guide to Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks
Date: September 6, 2017 | 1:00 pm PDT – 3:00 pm PDT
Location: 1887 Monterey Rd. 2nd Floor San Jose, CA 95112 (map it)
Contact: Emily Navarra-Refugio | emily.navarra@sba.gov | (415) 744-6805
Organization: SBDC Silicon Valley
Fee: Free

Join SBDC Silicon Valley for this seminar on the legal principles and considerations you’ll likely encounter while converting your business ideas to assets. Get answers to your questions about requirements and procedures associated with protecting assets:

  • Inventions (patent)
  • Works of art (copyrights)
  • Brands (trademark)
  • Intellectual property (transferring, acquiring, or conveying ownership or use rights by assignment or license)
  • Manufacturers and distributors (working with outside parties)
  • Claims of possible infringement (enforcing or defending against)

Please note: this class does not constitute legal advice.

Click here to register for this event. Registration is required to attend. This seminar is also available in San Francisco on Sept. 7. Click here for more information.

Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business
Date: September 7, 2017 | 1:30 pm PDT – 3:30 pm PDT
Location: 455 Market St. Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: sfomail@sba.gov | (415) 744-6777
Organization: SBA San Francisco District Office
Fee: Free

Join the SBA for this seminar on how to prepare for retirement as a small business owner. A representative from the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) will present information that can help you choose the right retirement solution for your small business.. The ESBA can help you ensure a financially secure future and make the right choices.

Click here to register for this event.

Running Your Own Food Business—10 Part Series
Date: September 11, 2017 | 6:30 pm PDT – 8:30 pm PDT
Location: San Lorenzo Library—Greenhouse Community Room
395 Paseo Grande San Lorenzo, CA 94580 (map it)
Contact: Lee Lambert | Lee@acsbdc.org | (510) 208-0410
Organizations: Alameda County SBDC and Alameda County Community Development Agency
Fee: Free

The Alameda County SBDC and the Alameda County Community Development Agency are joining forces to offer a free 10-part seminar series: Running Your Own Food Business.

Do you have a great idea and a burning desire to start a food business, but don’t know how? This series will help turn your idea into reality with the basics to start and grow your own food business in Alameda County.

The sessions will run Monday and Thursday evenings from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, from September 11 through October 16. Participants who attend eight of the ten sessions will receive a Certificate of Completion.

Get a preview of curriculum with Session 1: Defining Your Concept. In this session, we will discuss how to begin to take an idea for a new food company, and begin to explore how you can expand an idea into a business plan.

Start with the basic questions to answer:

  • Product (aka the “what”)
  • Target market (aka the “who”)
  • Unique Selling Proposition (aka the “why”)

Expand your knowledge with these concepts:

  • How to define success: your bottom line, triple bottom line, environmental impact, community impact, and more
  • How to identify your distribution channel options
  • How to engage key people: your shareholders and stakeholders

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Create a Testimonial Video for Your Business Right on Your Smart Phone
Date: September 6, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
2130 East 4th St. Suite 160, Santa Ana, CA 92705 (map it)
Contact: workshops@score114.org | (714) 550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: Free

A testimonial video can be gold for your business. This live demo will help you create video right on your smart phone. Use the tips, tricks, and app recommendations to kickstart video production for your business.

This workshop will have you calling “Action!” in no time. Get started with us and get your video seen on social media and in email.

Topics include:

  • How to identify the apps that make editing easy
  • How to shoot better video on your smart phone using focus and exposure techniques
  • How to get better sound and voice overs
  • How to get the most mileage from your testimonial video
  • How to market your video online with email and social media with actionable steps

Click here to register for this event.

Using Facebook and LinkedIn to Drive Business
Date: September 13, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Riverside Chamber of Commerce
3985 University Ave. Riverside, CA 92501 (map it)
Contact: Diana Cescolini| diana.cescolini@scorevolunteer.org | (951) 652-4390
Organization: Inland Empire SCORE
Fee: $15 pre-registration | $25 at the door

You probably know it by now: social media is a smart way to attract business. The mystery of how to use social media to grow your business is harder to figure out. This workshop unlocks the mystery and gives you a step by step process for how to get started.

We will cover:

  • Differences between Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin
  • The right platform for your business
  • Your page, account, and profile: how-to’s for creating and managing your presence
  • Social media works for your business

Click here to register for this event.

2017 Small Business Expo
Date: September 14, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: California Market Center—Penthouse
110 East 9th St. Los Angeles, CA 90079 (map it)
Contact: clientservices@theshowproducers.com | (212) 404-2345
Organization: Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce
Fee: Free (upgraded services are available starting at $20)

Small Business Expo is America’s biggest and most anticipated business-to-business networking event, trade show, and conference for business owners, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and decision-makers.

Why you should attend:

  • Network with thousands of business owners, entrepreneurs and start-ups
  • Access to 25+ Business Critical workshops and seminars to help your business grow
  • Join speed networking sessions to make new contacts quickly
  • Learn about new cutting-edge products and services
  • Establish hundreds of new and valuable contacts
  • Interact with the movers and shakers of your industry
  • Leave the show with hundreds of qualified sales leads

Your free admission badge gives you access to the following areas of the Expo:

  • Exhibitor Hall
  • Workshops and seminars
  • ‘Get Dotted’ Business Networking Areas
  • Speed Networking Sessions
  • Business Card Showcase and Exchange
  • #smallbizselfie Contest
  • eLounge
  • Inspiration2020 Theatre Business Presentations, including Bill Walsh – The 7 Keys to Build a 7-Figure Business Presentation from 4:30 PM-6PM, Google’s Main Stage Presentations, the Free Bonus Small Business Workshop presented by our Titanium Sponsor, Powerteam International

Upgraded services are available for additional fees starting at $20. For more information about these services, click here.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Cybersecurity: Protect your Business and your Clients
Date: September 6, 2017 | 8:30 am PDT – 9300 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Carole Harris | carole.harris@sba.gov | (312) 353-4003
Organization: SBA Illinois District Office
Fee: Free

Small businesses are increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals seeking economic gain through the exploitation of cyber systems. About half of small businesses in the U.S. have had their data breached in the last year. As a small business owner, you’re at risk of losing your customer information, your reputation, and  your intellectual property – all of which have real financial consequences.

This webinar discusses best practices devised by experts in the public and private sectors to help you mitigate the risk of a cyber breach and avoid issues that come with cybercrime. Topics include:

  • Sources of threats
  • Types of countermeasures
  • Additional resources

Take the first step to secure your business by participating in this free webinar.

Click here to register for this event.

A Simple Approach to Better Workplace Communication
Date: September 7, 2017 | 10:30 am PDT – 11:30 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Larry Batten| larry.batten@sba.gov | (304) 623-7447
Organization: SBA West Virginia District Office
Fee: Free

Strong communication skills are essential in business. According to research published by the Holmes Report, miscommunication issues in business cost companies $62.4 million per year.

In this webinar, you’ll learn a simple communication framework that will reduce miscommunication in the workplace and put more of your hard earned money back in your pocket.

Click here to register for this event.

Tips for Measuring Your Online Success
Date: September 13, 2017 | 7:30 am PDT – 8:30 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Megan Ernst | megan.ernst@csi.cuny.edu | (718) 982-2560
Organization: Staten Island Small Business Development Center
Fee: Free

You invest time, effort, and resources into your online presence, but do you know how much it’s worth to your bottom line?

This workshop introduces ways to track and measure progress. Learn the top ways to measure your online success with tools from the SBDC and Google.

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

Deago Williams started his life over by starting his own business. He worked hard to build his business but couldn’t get financing through his bank. Deago is improving his business thanks to two small business loans from Opportunity Fund.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Deago Williams of Williams Auto Detailing in Sacramento. Deago started his life over with hard work but couldn’t get a bank loan to grow his business. Read how we’re helping Deago improve his business and better serve his customers with our small business loans.

A Second Chance for a First Time Business Owner

Deago Williams took an unconventional path to entrepreneurship. After serving 16 years in prison in the Midwest, he came to Sacramento, California looking for a chance to rebuild his life.

Deago has 13 years of auto detailing experience, so he got back into the industry when he landed in California. “I had to teach myself all over again,” he said. “I got tired of working for somebody else. I wanted to see what it was like to have my own business.”

He founded Williams Auto Detailing in 2014 to fulfill those ambitions. Deago and his staff of his wife Denise and a new hire from the shop’s neighborhood work primarily with auto dealers in need of professional cleaning for their car inventories.

Soon Deago found the hard truth for most small business owners: it’s impossible to do everything on your own. He was working in the business every day, plus handling the finances, marketing, and other business functions.

He needed a small business loan to help purchase new equipment. “I go through a lot of money,” he said. “I’ve been able to stay in business this long because I put majority of my money back into my business.”

Deago’s bank couldn’t help, but a connection to Opportunity Fund made a huge difference for Williams Auto Detailing.

A Bright Future with Clean Cars

When I started my business I had no credit,” Deago said. His business banker at Wells Fargo was supportive of Deago’s business goals, but couldn’t get him the loan he needed. They introduced Deago to Opportunity Fund loan consultant Madieu Shyllon.

“Madieu visited me at my business,” Deago said. “He saw where I was coming from. He understood me and gave me confidence.”

Madieu got Deago started with a $3,500 loan in November 2015. Deago was able to pay the loan off and get a second loan of $8,000 in May 2016.

The working capital helps pay for backups for equipment that breaks down, which allows three Williams Auto Detailing employees to keep up with demand from seven auto dealers.

Deago Williams - Williams Auto Detailing

Deago counts on our small business loans to help him buy new equipment (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

Deago values Opportunity Fund’s commitment to open communication. “If I need to talk to someone, they lead me in the right direction with the right people. It’s taken care of,” he said.

Deago is focused on improving his business every day, with an upcoming move to a bigger workspace in the neighborhood. We’re focused on helping hardworking entrepreneurs like Deago make their dreams come true with our easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans.

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. Last fiscal year, 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

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 August 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 August 17 through 31.

Northern California/Sacramento

SimpleSTEPS for Starting Your Business
Date: August 17, 2017 | 6:30 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: Simpkins Family Swim Center
979 17th Ave. Santa Cruz, CA 95062 (map it)
Contact: Edward Fordyce | efordyce@santacruzscore.org | (831) 621-3735
Organization: Santa Cruz SCORE
Fee: $35

This SCORE workshop will help you understand what it takes to successfully start and grow a small business. If you’re a new or early-stage business owner, this workshop is designed for your needs. We’ll present an overview of issues that can impact success or failure for small businesses, drawn directly from real experiences of seasoned entrepreneurs and business leaders:

  • Start-up Myths
  • Business Opportunities
  • Marketing
  • Structure, DBA, Licenses, Insurance
  • Record Keeping & Taxes
  • Cash Needs & Sources
  • Business Plans
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

Cash Flow Projections: How to Use Microsoft Excel to Plan Ahead for Your Business
Date: August 23, 2017 | 8:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: 205 Chestnut St. Mt. Shasta, CA 96067 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI)
Fee: $10

Join the Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI) for an intensive one-day session to set your business up for financial success. Together we’ll complete a cash flow spreadsheet and learn some basics of Microsoft Excel.

Get answers to your key questions such as:

  • What is a cash flow projection? Learn what the future may hold by creating the good, the bad and the ugly.
  • Is it all pie in the sky? Learn how to make sales projections based on research, comparison and solid assumptions.
  • When do I need a cash flow? Learn the different uses of a cash flow so you can make better decisions in your business planning.

Click here or call (503) 926-6670 to register for this event.

Marketing For Your Small Business
Date: August 24, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 550 E Shaw Ave. Fresno, CA 93710 (map it)
Contact: David Vazquez | davazquez@csufresno.edu | (559) 278-3712
Organization: Fresno State SBDC Fresno/Madera
Fee: $75

Learn about the fundamentals of branding during this two hour intensive workshop. Whether you’re having trouble generating new business or have marketing brand in place, work with us to define and optimize your small business marketing focus.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

How To Get A Business Loan
Date: August 17, 2017 | 9:30 am PDT – 11:30 am PDT
Location: University of La Verne Campus Center Third Floor
2000 2nd St. La Verne, CA 91750 (map it)
Contact: Fidel Gomez | fgomez@laverne.edu | (909) 448-1573
Organization: University of La Verne SBDC
Fee: Free

Join us at the SBDC for a free seminar on how to prepare your best application for a small business loan. We’ll cover the following topics:

  • SBA loans and loan qualifications
  • Criteria lenders look for
  • Loan package process
  • And more!

Opportunity Fund loan consultant Osbaldo Velazquez is scheduled to attend the event. He will be available to answer your questions about small business loans including how to get started.

Click here to register for this event.

Legal Forms of Organization
Date: August 21, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 3780 Market St. Riverside, CA 92501 (map it)
Contact: Dee Ann Chandler | deeann@iewbc.org | (909) 890-1242
Organizations: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

Join this workshop featuring an attorney who will educate you about the different forms of business organization and which is most beneficial for your business, including tax consequences and benefits of each type of information.

We’ll also discuss how to protect your personal assets and property from lawsuits plus how to prevent piercing of the corporate veil of protection.

The workshop will close with an overview of legal issues facing a small business from startup to success.

Click here to register for this event.

Social Media Sells: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram
Date: August 22, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce—Upstairs Conference Room
29737 New Hub Dr. #102 Menifee, CA 92586 (map it)
Contact: Mary Takavorian | mtakavorian@iesmallbusiness.com | (909) 983-0751
Organization: Inland Empire SBDC
Fee: Free

Social Media is a moving target with constant changes happening every day. Join this free workshop to get the up-to-date information on how you can use social media to grow your business.

Topics include:

  • Define marketing goals and strategies using free and subscription tools
  • Get started with social media analytics from gathering data to interpreting results
  • Set marketing goals based on analytics to optimize impact
  • Identify the latest trends with social media tools including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Twitter
  • Analyze the demographics of who uses different social media platforms
  • Understand how and why Pinterest and Instagram choose to purchase products or services directly from a post
  • Discover how to use social media for non-profit and business to business marketing

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Essential Elements of Every Small Business Website
Date: August 17, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (732) 224-2573
Organization: Monmouth (New Jersey) SCORE
Fee: Free

Your website is the hub of your entire online presence and must function as a marketing asset. In this webinar, Duct Tape Marketing founder John Jantsch will cover the key features every small business website must have in the world of marketing-activated websites.

Topics include:

  • Draw visitors in with a compelling promise
  • Include key trust-building elements prospects look for
  • Create a “Call to Action” that gets clicks
  • Develop content to attract search engines
  • Build a homepage journey for your ideal client

Move your business beyond brochures and make the leap to digital!

Click here to register for this event.

Smart Borrowing Practices
Date: August 30, 2017 | 10:00 pm PDT – 11:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: workshops@sba.gov | (206) 553-7310
Organization: SBA Seattle District Office
Fee: Free

If you’re considering a major financial decision like purchasing a car or house, or looking to borrow money, this free webinar is your starting point on the journey.

Topics include:

  • Smart borrowing tips
  • Your rights as a borrower
  • Signs of predatory lending
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

The Hidden Benefits of Going Green
Date: August 31, 2017| 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (732) 224-2573
Organization: Monmouth (New Jersey) SCORE
Fee: Free

You probably already know the benefits of improving the environmental sustainability of your small business. Did you know that these initiatives go beyond preserving scarce resources like water and energy to helping lower your costs and gain customers?

Get tips for retailers looking to advance their sustainability efforts in this free webinar, including:

  • Low and no cost steps to take that will result in near-term savings
  • Special tips for food service establishments
  • Ways to share your efforts and appeal to your increasingly socially and environmentally conscious customers
  • And more!

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

The majority of the business world is occupied by men and popular resources are often targeted towards them. However, as a woman small business owner, you could really benefit from resources directed towards and run by other women. We’ve compiled this list of a few good resources for you to get business help, find motivation, and network with other female entrepreneurs.

The majority of the business world is occupied by men and popular resources are often targeted towards them. However, as a woman small business owner, you could really benefit from resources directed towards and run by other women. We’ve compiled this list of a few good resources for you to get business help, find motivation, and network with other female entrepreneurs.

Bizjournals – Bizwomen

Bizwomen is a great online resource for news articles and editorials about topics related to business women. They also have a list of events geared towards women entrepreneurs. Either choose your city from their drop-down menu or scroll through the list of all upcoming events, award ceremonies, and networking opportunities.

Entrepreneur – Women Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur is an online magazine chock full of helpful articles, but they have a section dedicated to topics related to being a woman entrepreneur. Bookmark this great page for stories that will inspire, educate, and help you be a better small business owner.

AWBC – Association of Women’s Business Centers

The AWBC has a diverse collection of resources available for you as a female entrepreneur. You can attend webinars, find events and conferences near you, read helpful articles to grow your business, and more. Find your nearest women’s business center for training and more localized resources. If you become a member, your membership provides you with tangible benefits including a mentor program, a free Constant Contact account, a Quickbooks teaching license, a unified voice for advocacy in Congress, and special resources for you to better run your small business.

NAWBO – National Association of Women Business Owners

NAWBO is another robust resource for women entrepreneurs. They have the usual events, helpful blog posts, news, videos, and local chapters with specialized assistance and events. Additionally, their membership offers a virtual environment where members can access special resources and connect to each other on forums.

Women Who Startup

Women Who Startup is an amazing place for women entrepreneurs to get great advice, collaboration, and networking opportunities. They are in the process of setting up half a dozen “basecamps” with monthly local events, and their website offers you access to a blog, a podcast, workshops, and more.

SCORE – Women Entrepreneurs

SCORE is a great source of free business advising for all entrepreneurs, but they have a wonderful resource page dedicated to female small business owners. Read specially targeted blog posts on topics related to being a woman in the business world, access live webinars for free, and use all SCORE’s free mentoring resources to help you run your business better.

 

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

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