Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free and/or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events in November.

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting the free and/or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events in November.

Northern California/Sacramento

Healthy Employees, Healthy Bottom Line Workshop
Date: November 9, 2016 | 9:30 am PDT – 11:30 am PDT
Location: Contra Costa SBDC – 2nd Floor
300 Ellinwood Way Pleasant Hill. CA 94523 (map it)
Contact: Rhea Aguinaldo | raguinaldo@smallbusinessmajority.org | 415-654-4846
Organization: Small Business Majority & Contra Costa SBDC
Fee: Free

Small business owners spend their days concentrating on their particular specialty, but there’s one thing they have in common: they all have to contend with a host of similar workforce issues. Join Contra Costa Small Business Development Center and Small Business Majority for a workshop on a variety of workforce and healthcare laws as they pertain to small businesses, including paid sick days, paid family leave, and Covered California for Small Business.

Topics include Covered California for Small Business—online health insurance marketplace where small businesses and the self-employed can shop for health coverage for their needs and budget; California’s Paid Family Leave Program—employer obligations, employee eligibility requirements; California’s new paid sick days law; and tools and resources to help you navigate the new laws. A question and answer portion will follow.

Click here to register for this event.

La Cocina’s Food + Entrepreneurship Conference
Date: November 13 & 14, 2016 | 9:00 am PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: San Francisco
Contact: Aniela Valtierra | aniela@lacocinasf.org | 415-824-2729 x 309
Organization: La Cocina
Fee: $50 – $200 (scholarships are available – Please see below for more information. Application deadline is November 7)

For the past 5 years, the Food + Entrepreneurship Conference has been a gathering place for civic leaders, nonprofit innovators, and forward thinking food business owners to come together, rethink economic structures, share innovations and work together to build more equitable, vibrant and delicious cities. Leaders and innovators from as close as Oakland to as far as Helsinki have looked to La Cocina throughout the years to engage in dialogue and revolutionize the way we produce, eat, and think about food.

This year, La Cocina’s Food + Entrepreneurship Conference, presented by Whole Foods Market, will kick off on Sunday, November 13th with a full day of conversations, workshops, and food with a focus on how small businesses can be activists for change in their communities. On Monday, November 14th, we’ll be hosting guided walking tours (with plenty of eats!) to experience food entrepreneurship on the ground.

To see what we’ll be discussing at the conference, and who will be speaking, have a look at the Conference Schedule.

Food Producer Scholarships: We also have a scholarship fund for producers, which is good for the Sunday Conference Program. So if you think you’d really benefit from attending the conference but can’t quite afford it, please do send in a scholarship application form.  We are reviewing scholarship applications weekly, and will respond to you accordingly. The last date to apply is November 7th.

For more information or to buy tickets for the event, click here.

Buying or Selling a Small Business
Date: November 14, 2016 | 9:30 am PDT – 12:30 pm PDT
Location: Silicon Valley SCORE
234 E. Gish Road, Suite 100 San Jose, CA 95112 (map it)
Contact: info@svscore.org | 408-453-6237
Organization: Silicon Valley SCORE
Fee: $45; Free for veterans (see below)

Learn how to buy the right business cheap….or sell it high! This is a class for anyone who wants to buy or sell a business and doesn’t know where to start. Two highly experienced business brokers teach this class and they really know their stuff. Anyone who wants to know about evaluating a business’s value or wants to know how to be sure they are buying value should take this class. The course will cover valuation, what kinds of records you need to review, and the legal overview of a business transaction.

Click here to register for this event. Veterans: Free admission is available for this class. Click here for details.

Southern California/San Diego

Small Business Development Center Orientation
Date: November 1, 2016 | 1:30 pm PDT – 2:30 pm PDT
Location: San Diego SBDC
880 National City Blvd., Suite 103, National City CA 91950-3263 (map it)
Contact: sdsbdc@swccd.edu | 619-482-6391
Organization: San Diego and Imperial Valley SBDC
Fee: Free

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers a myriad of services for the start-up and existing business owner at “No Cost” or “Low Cost”. The one-on-one business consulting services are non-fee based and designed to assist in the formulation and management of your business. The workshops and classes cover a variety of business interest topics and most are no cost to the SBDC client. The SBDC mission is to assist small business owners to start and grow their business.

Click here to register for this event.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business—Information Session
Date: November 2, 2016 | 8:30 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: We Work, the Gas Company Tower
555 W. 5th St., Los Angeles, CA 90013 (map it)
Contact: Catalina Aldridge | 213-580-7590
Organization: Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
Fee: Free

Have you secretly desired to learn how to take your business to the next level? With Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, you can gain practical business skills and tools to help accelerate that growth. Through professional workshops, you will learn from some of the brightest minds in business. Learn about access to financial capital and build a powerful network of professional support. If accepted into this national program with near 100 percent completion, program tuition will be at no cost to you!

If you are a business owner that is passionate about building greater success, join us for this information session. Your invitation will give you access to previewing the program, hear from an instructor, and learn how to apply for this exclusive network of business owners from around the nation. Opportunity Fund Regional Director Iosefa Alofaituli is scheduled to appear at the event.

For more information about the Goldman Sachs program, click here. Download the information flyer for the information session here: Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses

Business Resource Seminar & Expo
Date: November 9, 2016 | 8:00 am PDT – 12:30 pm PDT
Location: Ventura College Wright Event Center
57 Day Road Ventura, CA 93003 (map it)
Contact: Xiomara Peña
Organization: Small Business Majority
Fee: Free

The Board of Equalization invites you to join this business expo full of strategies for success in today’s economy. Topics will cover: the power of the chamber of commerce, avoiding common sales and tax problems, forms of ownership, recordkeeping for small businesses, employee or independent contractor status, loan programs, and much more. Our So. Cal. Outreach Manager will be presenting on the importance of planning for retirement and complying with workforce regulation including CA’s new Paid Sick Day Law and Paid Family Leave.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Money Now, Money Later: ABCs of Financing Your Small Business and Building Your Retirement
Date: November 8, 2016 | 11:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Geri Agilpay
Organization: Small Business Majority
Fee: Free

Small Business Majority invites you to join us for a free webinar to help you navigate the funding landscape and finance the growth of your small business. We will focus on microloans, crowdfunding, online lenders, and guarding against predatory lending. Growing your business also means securing your finances, so we will provide an overview of common retirement paths for small business owners and their employees.

Topics of discussion include an overview of alternative lending options including microloans and reputable online lenders, questions for entrepreneurs to consider when seeking funding, The Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights, the U.S. retirement savings gap and how small business can be part of the solution, and much more. A question and answer period will follow.

Click here to register for this event.

Low Cost Marketing Ideas
Date: November 17, 2016 | 9:00 am PDT – 12:30 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: sbc@durhamtech.edu |919-536-7241
Organization: Small Business Center Network
Fee: Free

Learn how to create a marketing strategy that supports your business goals. This seminar will cover some of the best marketing tools that are free or at a very low-cost and explore creative ways to promote your business without breaking the bank or your budget. Taught by Melissa Terrell of Women’s Business Center.

Click here to register for this event.

Veteran Entrepreneurship
Date: November 30, 2016 | 5:30 pm PDT – 6:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Amber Lopez | sdbc@canyons.edu | 661-362-5900
Organization: SBDC Los Angeles
Fee: Free

The session will highlight entrepreneurship as an option to generate income and cash flow.  Participants will be introduced to resources to help with the next step in starting or growing your business, or transitioning from current activity into a formal business. Join instructor Raimone Roberts, Business Advisor at the College of the Canyons SDBC and U.S. Air Force veteran.

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. 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.

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

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events in October.

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting the free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events in October.

Northern California/Bay Area

How To Boost Your Sales: Learn the Key Elements Of A Winning Window Display

Date: October 19, 2016 | 8:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT

Location: Dublin City Hall—Regional Meeting Room
100 Civic Plaza Dublin, CA 94568 (map it)

Contact: Lee Lambert | lee@acsbdc.org | 510-208-0410

Organization: Alameda County SBDC

Fee: Free

Your retail window displays is one of the most important marketing tool you have at your disposal. Your window display can convert passer-bys into customers. With effective planning, great lighting, and some creativity, your window display can have a major impact to boost your sales. This seminar will teach retail store owners about the key elements of a great holiday window, creating your own cost saving visual plan, review visual case studies of impactful windows through the calendar year, and how to take the appearance of your display windows and the image of your store to the next level.

Click here to register for this event.

Planning for Profit

Date: October 21, 2016 | 9:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT

Location: SCORE East Bay Office
492 9th Street, Suite 350 Oakland, CA 94607 (map it)

Contact: SCORE East Bay | info@eastbayscore.org | 510-273-6611

Organization: Easy Bay SCORE

Fee: $35

Learn the financial concepts and reports that allow business owners like you to understand the financial health of your business and plan for profitable growth at this workshop led by SCORE business professionals  Sid Landman and Mike Harris. You’ll learn about key topics in business financial management like the importance of financial planning, key financial terms and definitions, how to put together a funding plan, how to understand the three major financial statements (balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and cash flow statement), and their importance and impact on your business, and much more! The $35 workshop fee includes a free download of SCORE’s 17 chapter guide “How to Start & Manage your Small Business”.

Click here to register for this event.

E-Mail Marketing: Build Relationships that are Key to Your Business Success

Date: October 26, 2016 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT

Location: Silicon Valley SCORE
234 E. Gish Road, Suite 100 San Jose, CA 95112 (map it)

Contact: info@svscore.org | 408-453-6237

Organization: Silicon Valley SCORE

Fee: $45; Free for veterans (see below)

This class will provide tips on how to increase your email deliverability and open rates, write good headlines and content, and most importantly, strategies for getting and keeping high quality prospects, customers, and members. Learn how to become a trusted email sender, how to build your list, how to get your emails read and turn your readers into buyers. At the end of this class you will be armed with ways to improve your email marketing. The class focus is on using Constant Contact as the prime email marketing tool; however the topics covered are relevant to any email marketing tool.

Click here to register for this event.

Veterans: Free admission is available for this class. Click here for details.

Southern California

Incorporating Your Small Business

Date: October 4, 2016 | 9:00 am PDT – 11:30 am PDT

Location: Carolyn Owens Community Center—2nd Floor
13201 Central Ave Chino, CA 91710 (map it)

Contact: Mary Takavorian | mtakavorian@iesmallbusiness.com | 909-983-0751

Organization: Inland Empire SBDC

Fee: Free

The process of incorporating your business can be a difficult one. You likely have a lot of questions, like “What forms do I need?” or “What processes will my new company need to follow to comply?” Seminar presenter Attorney Gary Foltz has over 20 years of experience helping entrepreneurs incorporate their small businesses and will discuss important topics like forming a corporation, the various forms of organization, selecting the type of organization that’s right for you, and more. Foltz will also answer your business planning questions. This free small business workshop is sponsored by the City of Chino.

Click here to register for this event.

Social Media Marketing: Creative Tools That Are Cutting Edge

Date: October 7, 2016 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:30 am PDT

Location: 9207 Eton Avenue, Chatsworth CA 91311 (map it)

Contact: Amber Lopez | sbdc@canyons.edu | 661-362-5900

Organization: College of the Canyons SBDC

Fee: Free

Do you find it challenging to figure out who you should be marketing to in managing your business? Are you looking for a better, more personal way to connect to your audience while building your brand? This free seminar will introduce you to marketing tools that can shift your perspective and help you find and reach out to clients, customers, and audiences. Gather a few new tools to help you expand your audience outreach. Explore different ways finding the best fit for you in the marketplace. Learn about Periscope: a new Twitter live streaming iOS and Android app. Join us for this fun, interactive workshop!

Click here to register for this event.

El Monte Business Resource Seminar

Date: October 12, 2016 | 8:15 am PDT – 12:30 pm PDT

Location: Grace T. Black Auditorium
3130 North Tyler Avenue El Monte, CA 91731 (map it)

Organization: Small Business Majority

Fee: Free

Small Business Majority has partnered with the Board of Equalization. Small Business Majority will have a booth providing employers with information regarding Covered California for Small Business: how can employers qualify for a tax credit, how they can sign up for CCSB coverage, what are the options available to small business owners through Covered California and more. We’ll also provide resources on CA’s new Paid Sick Day Law, and Paid Family Leave.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Free Workshop Thursdays—October 13

Date: October 13, 2016 | 9:00 am PDT – 3:00 pm PDT

Location: Online—Webinar

Contact: workshops@sba.gov |206-553-7310

Organization: U.S. Small Business Association

Fee: Free

Free workshop Thursdays are offered on the 2nd & 4th Thursday of each month. The classes are held virtually online. You can register for all the classes or just one.

Check out the three free online seminars offered on October 13:

Coffee & Cash: How to Finance Your Small Business | 9:00 am – 10:30 am

Join us for a cup of coffee and get valuable information on borrowing money to start or grow a small business.  The SBA offers a wide range of loan programs whether your business needs $500 or $5 million, our network is here to help. Financing experts will discuss key topics like how to determine what loan program is the best fit for your business, what a lender looks for when reviewing and evaluating a loan application, and available resources to help you run your business better.  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn how your business can get the funding it needs.

Small Business Owner’s Tax Workshop | 11:00 am to 1:00 pm

Learn the basics of small business taxes. Tax professionals will help you understand your tax reporting responsibilities. You’ll learn about key topics like types of entities, record keeping, accounting methods, travel & entertainment expenses, business use of home, self-employment taxes, estimated taxes, and much more.

Beyond Google: Free Market Research at Your Library | 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm

Whatever stage your business is at, it’s vital to stay ahead of the competition. Information is key to success, but can be expensive or time-consuming if you don’t know where to look. Find out how to easily navigate various databases available through your local library to help you make informed decisions in your business planning, marketing, site location, and market analysis. Also, gain valuable information and insights to better understand local economic conditions, customers, and more.

This bi-monthly virtual event features diverse topics specializing in the needs of small business owners like you. Click here to register for the October 13 seminars and to get more information about upcoming free webinars from the SBA.

IRS Small Business Tax Webinar

Date: October 25, 2016 | 1:00 pm PDT – 4:00 pm PDT

Location: Online—Webinar

Contact: Catrina Avila | admin@vbocix.org |916-527-8400

Organization: Veterans Business Outreach Center

Fee: Free

One of the biggest challenges faced by individuals starting a business is understanding and meeting their tax filing requirements. This free workshop provides the tools you need to be a successful small business owner, including information to help new and existing small business owners understand and meet their federal tax obligations. The workshop will cover Basic IRS Tax Requirements. You will learn about record keeping and bookkeeping systems, business income and deductions, the different types of entities, how to file and pay business federal, and much more.

Click here to register for this event.

Power Up Your Small Biz: Technology Trends

Date: October 27, 2016 | 12:00 pm PDT

Location: Online—Webinar

Organization: SCORE

Fee: Free

SCORE and Verisign have partnered to offer the Power Up Your Small Biz: Technology Trends Virtual Conference.

This event is a half day of learning with eight informative webinars on how you can leverage technology to meet your goals. You’ll hear from a number of industry experts, including Web.com, ComplyRight, AT&T, Verisign and more, as they share their insider tips for simplifying your efforts, securing your data, and growing your business.

Join us in this online event that has the look, feel and benefits of a local, in-person conference or trade show. Participants can visit virtual booths to collect materials, meet sponsors, ask questions, and even pick up some virtual swag. You can attend our educational sessions, exchange ideas with other business owners in the networking lounge, and download conference materials in your virtual briefcase. This event will happen live for all participants and the virtual environment is archived for future access.

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. 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.

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

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events in September.

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting the free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events in September.

Northern California/Bay Area

Discover and Use Your Super Powers in Your Business

Date: September 12, 2016 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT

Location: San Francisco SBA Entrepreneur Center
455 Market Street, Suite 600, San Francisco, CA, 94105 (map it)

Contact: San Francisco SBA Entrepreneur Center | sfomail@sba.gov

Organization: SBA San Francisco District Office

Fee: Free

Have you ever wondered if you have Super Powers?  Why they matter, what are they, and if you’re using them in your business?  Join this fun and lively discussion facilitated by Kristen Carey, Catalyst Moxie, Inc., to learn what Super Powers are, how you benefit from knowing them, and the impact that using your Super Powers can have in your business and life!  Registration is required.

Click here to register for this event.

Business Accounting

Date: September 12, 2016 | 1:00 pm PDT – 4:00 pm PDT

Location: Cal State Center East Bay
1000 Broadway, Suite 109, Oakland, CA, 94607 (map it)

Contact: East Bay SCORE | info@eastbayscore.org

Organization: East Bay SCORE

Fee: $35

Join SCORE business professional and instructor Sid Landman for an overview of the principles of financial management for your business. You’ll learn financial management concepts, Quickbooks templates, and much more. Your $35 registration fee also includes a free download of SCORE’s 17 chapter guide: How to Start & Manage your Small Business.

Click here to register for this event.

Access to Capital / Lender’s Fair

Date: September 28, 2016 | 8:00 am PDT – 4:00 pm PDT

Location: College of San Mateo, 1700 West Hillsdale Blvd., College Center Building 10, Bayview Dining Room, San Mateo, CA 94402 (map it)

Contact: Robert Shoffner (650) 574-6402 |shoffnerr@smccd.edu

Organization: San Mateo SBDC

Fee: $10 (early bird before 9/27)/$15 (general admission)

Join the San Mateo Small Business Development Center and ten different San Mateo County Chambers of Commerce at this event to learn more about how small business owners can access capital for your business—regardless of the size—and network with other business owners. Elizabeth Laderman, Senior Economic Outreach Economist from the San Francisco Federal Reserve, and Mark Quinn, Director of the SBA San Francisco District Office will be in attendance.

In addition, there will be four panel discussions on “Traditional Sources of Capital”, “Emerging and Alternative Sources of Capital”, “Global Access: Export Financing and Services” and “Pre-IPO Funding, Seed Capital, Angel Investors, Venture Capital and Growth Equity”. Throughout the day there will be a resource fair where attendees will be able to interface with resource providers regarding products and services. The workshop represents an excellent opportunity to meet resource partners and lenders that may be able to provide you with the capital to grow you business, invest in capital equipment, or hire new employees.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California

B2B Networking Breakfast—L.A. South Chamber of Commerce

Date: September 8, 2016 | 7:00 am PDT – 9:00 am PDT

Location: Carrows Restaurant
1638 W. Redondo Beach Blvd. Gardena, CA 90247 (map it)

Contact: David Calderon (714) 564-5200 | calderon_david@rsccd.edu

Organization: Los Angeles South Chamber of Commerce

Fee: $15 members/$20 non-members

Small business owners are invited to the Los Angeles South Chamber of Commerce (LASCC) B2B Networking Breakfast. Mix and mingle with local companies and entrepreneurs representing a variety of industries and services in the South L.A. area. This is a great opportunity to meet new prospects and learn how the LASCC can help your business grow and connect with the community. You’ll also hear from guest speaker: Deborah Deras of Synergy Unlimited. Full breakfast, beverages, and tips are included in your registration fee.

Click here to register for this event.

Guided Entrepreneurship for Vets & Military Spouses (Part 1 of 4)

Date: September 12, 2016 | 5:00 pm PDT – 8:30 pm PDT

Location: Pacific Coast Regional SBDC
3255 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1501 Los Angeles, CA 90010 (map it)

Contact: (213) 674-2696

Organization: Pacific Coast Regional SBDC

Fee: $30

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hosted by Pacific Coast Regional is proud to host its first course designed for veterans—ideal for those with little to no entrepreneurial experience. The $30 course fee includes four weekly classes, snacks, and the GUIDED Business Plan (TM) Military CEO (chief everything officer) book. The four week series meets Sept. 12, 19, 26, and October 3.

Click here to register for this event.

Access to Capital: Small Business Workshop

Date: September 20, 2016 | 10:00 am PDT – 2:00 pm PDT

Location: Los Angeles City Hall
200 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (map it)

Organization: The Center for Strategic Economic Studies and Institutional Development

Fee: Free

Join Opportunity Fund at “Access to Capital – Small Business Workshop.” Sessions will include Cash Flow Analysis for Lending, Financial Decisioning for Your Business, and Managing Your Personal and Business Credit. Participants will receive take-home bags with items from our sponsors, pre-scheduled one-on-one consultations, and the opportunity to earn a grant of up to $2,500 to help with business advancement. Parking is free for registered guests. There are only 150 seats available so be sure to reserve your ticket quickly.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Access to Capital 101: Funding Options to Start and Grow Your Business

Date: September 7, 2016 | 11:00 am EDT – 12:00 pm PDT

Location: Online – Webinar

Organization: Small Business Majority

Fee: Free

This free national webinar presented by Small Business Majority and Acción will help small business owners navigate the funding landscape and connect with resources to help you obtain the capital you need to start and grow your business. You will get an overview of alternative lending options including microloans, SBA’s loan guarantee program, community banks and credit unions, CDFIs, reputable online lenders, crowdfunding, the Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights, and much more.

To register for this webinar, click here.

California Small Business Insurance Requirements Webinar

Date: September 26, 2016 | 2:00 pm EDT – 3:00 pm PDT

Location: Online – Webinar

Contact: Catrina Avila (916) 527-8400 | admin@vbocix.org

Organization: Veterans Business Outreach Center

Fee: Free

The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) in collaboration with Trusted American Insurance Agency will present the California Small Business Insurance Requirements Webinar. Learn about the insurance requirements when owning a business. California law mandates employers to have certain types of insurance: workers’ compensation, unemployment, and contingent on the business location disability insurance. Learn about taxes business owners are required to pay and registration requirements. Other topics will include errors and omissions, surety bonds, commercial general liability, commercial vehicle coverage, and medical health insurance.

To register for this webinar, click here.

Is Your Business in the Black or In The Dark?

Date: September 29, 2016 | 11:00 am EDT – 12:00 pm PDT

Location: Online – Webinar

Contact: webinars@score.org

Organization: SCORE Association

Fee: Free

Whether your business is just starting out, fast growing, or well established, its long-term viability requires diligent management of its finances. Poor financial management and decision-making remain one of the strongest drivers of small business failure, impeding owners from reaching the crucial five-year milestone. This webinar, lead by Internationally recognized Quickbooks expert Stacy Kidal, will help you identify the key numbers on which the success – or failure – of your business turns. And then show you how to use those numbers to guide your day-to-day activities and decision-making. Stacy will also share her list of critical financial indicators and explain how successful business owners stay on top of them.

To register for this webinar, click here.

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. 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.

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

Our lending experts are here to answer your toughest questions about small business financing. Sometimes it’s not easy for small business owners to get the financing they need, especially if they apply for a bank loan. Opportunity Fund Director of Microlending Daniel Fernandez shares his perspective on bank lending and how small business owners can prepare to become bank loan ready in the future.

Our lending experts are here to answer your toughest questions about small business financing. Sometimes it’s not easy for small business owners to get the financing they need, especially if they apply for a bank loan. Opportunity Fund Director of Microlending Daniel Fernandez shares his perspective on bank lending and how small business owners can prepare their financials to become bank loan ready in the future.

Q: What should borrowers know about the bank loan process?

A: You can’t walk into a bank, sign your name on the dotted line, and get a $100,000 line of credit anymore. Banks are looking for specific things: time in business, FICO score, and overall profitability of a business.

Q: How long does it take to build a good business profile for a bank loan?

A: Banks are looking for at least three years in business, plus traditional profitability, year over year growth, and no major landmines in your credit history like bankruptcies and loan modifications. Many times defaults on a bank product, like a checking account or a credit card, are instant disqualifiers. If you have a small business with annual revenues below one million dollars, you must personally guarantee any loan you have.

Q: What are some other key attributes that bank loan officers look for in a successful candidate?

A: Industry plays a big role. Small business owners in high risk industries like restaurants, manufacturing, trucking, and construction face challenges in bank financing. An ideal candidate for a bank loan comes from professional industries, like medical. A clean balance sheet with a business profile gives a business owner the best chance of getting a bank loan.

Q: Can you share some do’s and don’ts for borrowers who are trying to become ready for a bank loan?

A: Do:

  • Know your credit score and your recent credit history very well. It’s a major determining factor for loan eligibility and building credit worthiness.
  • Understand the type of financing that you’re looking for: term financing, a line of credit, or equipment financing, for example.
  • Do your research on available loans and how it connects to the type of credit profile that you have.
  • Set expectations for yourself and your business. A borrower who wants a low interest rate loan but has a bankruptcy within the last five years will likely have better chances with an alternative lender versus a bank. Alternative lending doesn’t necessarily mean high risk or cost, or even predatory. It means that you must be open to paying a little more as your business risk profile is higher than average.
  • Take advantage of resources to help prepare your financials. Work with someone who knows what banks are looking for in small business lending. A good CPA or even a bookkeeper can help. Other nonprofit and community resources, like the Small Business Development Centers, have programs specifically for small business owners. You can get credit counseling or information on lending through these resources.

Don’t:

  • Don’t rush into the process. It’s easier than ever to find financing right now, but there are high cost and predatory type lenders out there looking for borrowers who are willing to take the path of least resistance. Most of the time it’s against their own best interests as a borrower.
  • Don’t expect that a personal connection to a bank will help you get a business loan. Start rethinking the way banks lend to people and the banking relationship as it relates to the bank lending requirements we discussed here.

Q: Can you share your background in banking and where your perspective comes from?

A: Before coming to Opportunity Fund, I spent almost 10 years in commercial finance as a business banker at Wells Fargo and a relationship manager at JPMorgan Chase in Northern California. I worked at Wells Fargo during the financial crisis of 2008 and saw how the credit crunch impacted small businesses looking for access to capital. At Chase, I had many clients asking about what they could do to become bank loan ready. At that time there weren’t many options for these borrowers and they lacked a clear path to growth. I was part of a group that started working with Opportunity Fund. For the first time ever, we had a way to help our clients who didn’t qualify for a bank loan. It made me think about how cool it is to do what a traditional financial institution can’t.

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. Last year, we made $50M 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 events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events in August.

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting the free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person events in Northern and Southern California and virtual events. Here are the best upcoming events in August.

Northern California/Bay Area

Financing your Small Business Workshop

Date: August 3, 2016 | 9:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT

Location: Veterans Business Outreach Center
4608 Duckhorn Drive Sacramento, CA 95834 (map it)

Contact: (916) 527-8400

Organization: Veterans Business Outreach Center

Fee: Free

This class reviews potential sources of capital to start, operate, and expand a small business. You will learn how to prepare for applying for a small business loan plus sources with expert help to guide you through the process. The class will also include insight into the most important conditions to a lender’s decision to approve or decline a loan request. The seminar will also cover how banks and other lenders operate with the impact of the current recession on their lending programs and how it all affects your ability to obtaining financing.

Click here for more information about this event.

Legal Issues for Small Businesses

Date: August 11, 2016 | 6:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT

Location: 234 E. Gish Road, Suite 100 San Jose, CA 95112  (map it)

Contact: (408) 453-6237 | info@svscore.org

Organization: Silicon Valley SCORE

Fee: $45 – Veterans can access a FREE promo code for the class here

This small business legal seminar is designed for startups as well as those already in business. When your business changes and grows, you must be prepared to respond to those changes. This is a unique seminar for business owner concerned about tricky legal issues when starting and managing a business. Key topics include how to choose of the type of legal business entity, protecting your identity, business contracts and leases, and many more legal issues that small businesses encounter every day.

Click here to register for this event.

Financial Analysis for Small Businesses

Date: August 18, 2016 | 1:30 pm PDT – 3:30 pm PDT

Location: 455 Market St 6th Floor San Francisco, CA 94105  (map it)

Contact: Angel Cardoz (415) 937-7232 or angel.cardoz@sfgov.org

Organization: San Francisco SBDC

Fee: Free

This workshop will cover different financial analysis methods. You will learn how to analyze your profit and loss report and how budgeting and cash flow forecasting can be used to track and project future monthly cash needs. Small business owners will learn how to use these reports to identify areas where they can increase their profits and business performance plus improve their cash flow management skills.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California

Develop a Winning Business Plan

Date: August 9, 2016 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:45 pm PDT

Location: Newport Beach Public Library Friends Room
1000 Avocado Avenue Newport Beach, CA 92660 (map it)

Contact: workshops@score114.org

Organization: Orange County SCORE

Fee: Free

A Business Plan is an important document for raising capital, helping you to monitor progress, and achieving your goals. When done correctly, it is a “living” document and tool that will help you manage the business beyond the start-up phase. We will help you prepare a realistic plan that will document your vision, goals, and strategy. No business should be started or maintained without a business plan.  You will learn the three financial statements and how they relate to risk and performance, taking the mystery out of forecasting. Pre-registration is recommended.

Click here to register for this event.

Why Do Small Businesses Need an Accountant?

Date: August 17, 2016 | 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm PDT

Location: Rancho Santiago Community College District
2323 N. Broadway, Room 107 Santa Ana, CA 92706 (map it)

Contact: David Calderon (714) 564-5200 | calderon_david@rsccd.edu

Organization: Orange County SBDC

Fee: Free

This interactive workshop led by CPA professionals from Mendoza & McDuffie, LLP will cover the basics of what small business owners need to know about accounting for their business. Get answers on why you need an accountant/CPA for the different phases of your business, which areas of expertise you need at each phase of your business, how to select an accountant/CPA, and more.

Click here to register for this event.

Loans for Your Small Business

Date: August 23, 2016 | 9:00 am – 12:00 pm PDT

Location: Menifee Chamber of Commerce – Upstairs Conference Room
29737 New Hub Drive Menifee, CA 92586 (map it)

Contact: Mary Takavorian (909) 983-0751 | Mtakavorian@iesmallbusiness.com

Organization: Santa Ana District SBDC

Fee: Free

Business owners have many options for securing capital for the business needs. Opportunity Fund Director of Microlending Daniel Fernandez and Carla Ulloa, CDC Small Business Finance, shed light on how business lending is changing and how not all lenders are playing by the rules. The seminar will provide information on Micro Loans under $50,000, how to identify the right type of loan for your type of business, and lending practices to be aware of so that you can be sure to avoid them. ADDED BONUS: If you are interested in getting pre-screened for a micro-loan, please bring supporting documentation to the event. You can access a list of the documents here.

To get more information about this event or to register, click here.

Virtual

5 Strategies to Boost Your Business Networking Skills

Date: August 10, 2016 | 10:30 am PDT – 11:15 am PDT

Location: Online – Webinar

Contact: Larry Batten (304) 623-7447 | larry.batten@sba.gov

Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE Association

Fee: Free

Business networking is more than bumping into a potential customer.  This webinar will introduce you to 5 fundamental strategies that will kick start your ability to target and grow your client base.  Learn tips on building business relations, maximizing networking events, effective communications skills, and using social media.

Click here to register for this event.

Getting a Bank Loan: Fact v. Fiction

Date: August 19, 2016 | 8:30 am PDT – 9:00 am PDT

Location: Online – Webinar

Contact: Kimberly Donahue (304) 347-5220 | kimberly.donahue@sba.gov

Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE Association

Fee: Free

What are the keys to walking into a bank and walking out with a business loan? SBA’s Leo Lopez, a former loan officer, breaks through the myths and tells you how to make the lender say “Yes” in this online seminar.

Click here to register for this event.

The Business Plan and Strategic Planning Webinar

Date: August 25, 2016 | 9:00 am PDT – 1:30 pm PDT

Location: Online – Webinar

Contact: (916) 527-8400 | admin@vbocix.org

Organization:  Veterans Business Outreach Center

Fee: Free

This online seminar can help small business owners understand how to write a viable business plan. The workshop discusses key components of developing and usage of a business plan. Topic matter includes executive summary, marketing strategy, financial strategy, competitive comparison, financial management, legal structure, tools to forecast business needs, cash management, and much more.

Click here to register for this event.

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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. Last year, we made $37M in loans to help more than 1,800 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

Business credit means everything in managing your small business. Those with less than stellar credit often face obstacles to getting the financing they need to expand their business. If you fall into that category, this post from our content partner Nav can help you get your credit back on track.

Business credit means everything in managing your small business. Those with less than stellar credit often face obstacles to getting the financing they need to expand their business. If you fall into that category, this post from our content partner Nav.com can help you get your credit back on track.

Even though credit is an important factor in both personal and business finances, the true magnitude of its importance is not always realized until it’s needed.  If you’re a business owner with a less than desirable credit score, one of your first questions may be “How can I improve my credit quickly?”

The is truth is, there is no magic solution. You can’t improve your credit overnight; in fact, it often takes months or years to reach the level of business credit that banks require to begin working with you. However, there are a few things you can start doing today to help give your credit a boost as quickly as possible.

Register Your Company

You can’t build business credit until your business is officially recognized as such. If you haven’t done so already, you need to register your company with the IRS and obtain a tax ID number (EIN).  You’ll also want to obtain a D&B D-U-N-S number which you can obtain straight from your Nav account.

Check For Mistakes and Fix Them

Monitor your personal and business credit reports to make sure they are accurate. If information in your one of your reports is wrong, any credit scores calculated from that information will also be wrong. If you find mistakes, dispute them.  The Credit Sweeper tool in your Nav account can help.

Decrease Debt Utilization

If you already have a business credit card or trade lines established, check your report to see what your total credit utilization is like. Your credit utilization ratio is an indicator for creditors that shows how well your business manages your available credit, and you should aim to keep your business credit utilization under 50%.

If you don’t yet have a payment account attached to your business, starting one now can be a step towards establishing your business credit history.

Ask Suppliers to Report Your Payments

Do you have a good relationship with your key suppliers? If so, it’d be in your best interest to start  utilizing your regular payments to build your business credit. Similar to making regular payments on a loan, showing creditors that you can maintain regular payments to your suppliers also signifies that you are a responsible and trustworthy business.

In order to do this, you’ll need to verify that your suppliers do and will report payments to the credit bureaus. If you’re just starting to shop around for the best suppliers, inquire about whether or not they report to business credit bureaus, and try to form a working relationship with a supplier who does. You can also find a list of companies that report to business credit reporting agencies in the Business Launcher tool of your Nav account.

Build a Solid Relationship with A Financial Institution

Building a positive relationship with your bank or credit union is important for a couple of reasons. If you apply for a loan or other types of financing, you may have to provide financial information, including account statements. You’ll want to be able to demonstrate a record of solid cash flow in a business account.

One way to build credit and prove your company as trustworthy is to obtain a business credit card or line of credit and pay it back early. These payments will be reported to the credit bureaus, you will start building a solid payment history, and it will prove that, as a business, you’re likely to pay back larger loans in the future. If your business is too young to qualify for a loan, ask your financial institution whether a secured loan is a possibility.

Take Care of Your Personal Credit

For small business owners, personal credit can have a huge impact on your business credit.  In fact, the FICO SBSS Score, which is the business credit score that the SBA uses to prequalify many of their loan applicants, uses personal credit as a major factor in its scoring model.

It’s easy to focus all your time and energy on your business, but don’t let your personal credit suffer. Maintaining good personal credit will help you build or maintain good business credit. Read about the main personal credit scoring factors here.

Establish an Emergency Fund Before You Need It

One of the most frustrating situations a business owner can encounter is one where you need funds quickly but can’t access them. Thus, it’s always best to apply for things like credit cards and credit lines before you need them.  Having access to emergency cash can help you avoid the stress that comes when you need it the most.

Check your SIC and NAICS Codes

Did you know that your industry’s risk is a factor influencing your business credit score? And TONS of businesses have the wrong SIC or NAICS code associated with their business. If your business is falsely listed under a riskier industry, now would be a great time to correct that code.

“I’ve done all that, now what?”  

First of all, congratulations on taking the most important steps in building good business credit.  If you’ve managed to check off every item on the list and still find that your business credit scores aren’t rising  as fast as you’d like, don’t give up.

Building credit is process that takes time, and while there are things you can do to expedite some aspects of it, others will just take time.

Building a credit rating takes time, but tools like Nav can make the process easier and more effective. And while it may seem like it takes forever, if you are proactive, you can make significant process in as little as a year or two.

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. Last year, we made $37M in loans to help more than 1,800 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 and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events in July.

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting the free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events in July.

Northern California/Bay Area

Build Your Business: Writing Your Best Business Plan

Date: July 12, 2016 | 2:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT

Location: Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, Tony Hill ABC Room
307 Church St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060 (map it)

Contact: (831) 479-6136

Organization: Santa Cruz SBDC

Fee: Free

This seminar will help you identify the most appropriate business planning format for starting or expanding a business, marketing basics, and a strategic plan to put your business on the road to success. Learn how to establish realistic goals and objectives, determine costs, and get solutions for financing your business.

Click here for more information about this event.

Small Business Boot Camp

Date: July 20, 2016 | 8:30 am PDT – 5:00 pm PDT

Location: 234 E. Gish Road, Suite 100 San Jose, CA 95112  (map it)

Contact: (408) 453-6237 or info@svscore.org

Organization: Silicon Valley SCORE

Fee: $90 – Veterans can access a FREE promo code for the class here

Let’s get down to business! This full-day workshop provides an overview of all the important aspects required to ensure control and success in business. Attendees will hear from a variety of SCORE and outside business professionals. Topics included in this workshop: the business plan, business law, access to capital, and more. This monthly event will also be held August 17 and September 17.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California

Get Your Business Online: WordPress 101

Date: July 14, 2016 | 5:30 pm PDT – 7:30 pm PDT

Location: El Camino College Business Training Center
13430 Hawthorne Blvd. Hawthorne, CA 90250 (map it)

Contact: Martha Cisneros (310) 973-3177

Organization: South Bay SBDC

Fee: $10

Having a website online is as important as having an ‘Open for Business’ sign on your front door because it notifies the public that you have a product or service that potentially meets their needs. With WordPress it is possible to have an effective and optimized website that is easy to use and update. WordPress is an effective content management system that is used to run everything from simple blogs to CNN.com. With WordPress currently running over 75 million websites, come learn the basics about WordPress, Themes, and Plugins for your business.

Click here to register for this event.

The Art and Science of Creating a Successful Business Plan

Date: July 21, 2016 | 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm PDT

Location: Norman P. Murray Center
24932 Veterans Way, Jacaranda A, Mission Viejo CA 92691 (map it)

Contact: David Calderon (714) 564-5200

Organization: Orange County SBDC

Fee: $25

It’s your journey…shouldn’t you create the map? Successful business planning leads to successful business results. Take the most important step and build your business solidly from the very beginning or use it to guide an existing enterprise. In this interactive workshop you will learn the foundation of creating a business plan that works for you.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

7 Things to Know Before You Go Into Business

Date: July 15, 2016 | 8:30 am PDT – 9:30 am PDT

Location: Online – Webinar

Contact: Kimberly Donahue (304) 347-5220 | kimberly.donahue@sba.gov

Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE Association

Fee: Free

All small business owners want to build a successful business. Success rests on a solid foundation of knowledge. Join us to learn what you may not know. An experienced business team from SBA and IRS talk about legal organization, recordkeeping, hiring, financing choices, and no-cost resources available to you, wherever you live.   

Click here to register for this event.

Beyond the Business Card

Date: July 26, 2016 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT

Location: Online – Webinar

Contact: Amber Lopez (661) 632-5900 | sbdc@canyons.edu

Organization: Los Angeles Regional SBDC

Fee: Free

Relationships = New & Ongoing Business = Success!!! Are you relying on referrals and/or luck to grow your business? Are you meeting new contacts, but not able to take it to the next step? You made new contacts at a networking / social event and got business card(s), and/or you’ve added new connections via social media (such as LinkedIn or Facebook). Now what do you do? Developing and maintaining productive professional relationships with new contacts/connections as well as your existing clients and strategic partners is ESSENTIAL to your ongoing SUCCESS in gaining new clients and building your business! So often, one makes new connections, but doesn’t know how to cultivate new relationships and ultimately acquire new business.

Click here to register for this event.

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

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


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last year, we made $37M in loans to help more than 1,800 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

Want to launch a food truck? Read these smart planning tips on how to run and finance your mobile food business.

Thinking about jumping into the rapidly growing, one billion dollar food truck industry? Mobile food service includes food trucks, kiosks in malls and airports, mobile catering, and concession carts. Planning is key to successfully starting a food truck business.

Planning is Key to Food Truck Business Success

Create a business plan: As with any new business venture, planning your food truck business is important. Decide how much you will spend to buy your food truck and how you will finance the food truck cost. Look into potential locations, local permit regulations, local customer tastes, how you will market on social media and what the competition is. Research online, and talk with other operators in your area to see what other tips they have for how to start a food truck.

Plan your menu: Although you may already have an idea what kinds of foods you want to serve, keep in mind that you will need to make food easily transportable to and from your off-site commercial kitchen. It is also important to consider how you will serve food, because customers want something they can easily carry around.

Establish your business: What type of business you are determines tax obligations and personal liability. There are four types of businesses: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and limited liability company. In the food truck business, you will most likely be a sole proprietor or a partner.

Secure financing: Funding your food truck business is one of the most important steps. Startup costs can run over $80,000. A lot of traditional banks reject food truck loans because they are high risk, and the loan amounts are often too low to make the bank a sizeable profit. Alternative lenders, like Opportunity Fund, specialize in these types of micro loans and work together with food truck entrepreneurs to achieve financial success.

Buy a food truck vehicle: Whether you plan on using a catering vehicle, truck or cart, make sure to research and price-match. Food trucks can cost from $5,000 to upwards of $60,000 depending on specialization and size needs. You can sometimes rent or purchase used vehicles for much less.

Secure commercial space: The benefit of running a food truck is the lack of expensive real estate rent, but you still need commercial space to operate. This includes somewhere secure to store your vehicle like a garage and a commercial kitchen. In California, current law requires food truck businesses to prepare the food beforehand in a licensed commercial kitchen, also known as a commissary.

Double check all licenses, permits, insurance, trademarks, etc.: Acquiring all the necessary state and city permits and licenses may be tedious, but it is essential to successfully starting a food truck. Some cities have parking restrictions and additional policies. Health inspectors usually check yearly, but may also check in randomly. They will check the commercial kitchen you prepare the food in, the garage in which you store the food truck during off hours, and the vehicle’s facilities itself.

Run a smart business: Once your food truck is ready to roll, the hard work really starts. Dealing with emergency situations and regulation changes can be stressful. Keep a close eye on your cash flow, inventory levels, new laws, and customer responses. Most importantly, manage for profit and finance from responsible lenders to keep your business out of debt.

We Know Mobile Food

If you have eaten at a local food truck, you have probably seen Opportunity Fund at work because we are the #1 lender to food trucks in California. So far, we have lent over $10.8 million to almost 300 food-related small businesses.

Onigilly is one of the many food truck businesses Opportunity Fund has helped get a loan. Koji’s “samurai sushi” had great potential, and our $10,000 loan helped him purchase a food truck. Since that first loan, Koji has been able to expand into two brick-and-mortar stores and hire 20 people. We are honored to have helped Koji achieve his dreams and start his own food truck business. Read more about Onigilly’s success here.

When you want to take out a loan to buy your food truck, you want a reputable lender who has your interests as the top priority. Because of our dedication to helping food truck business owners get the loans they need, we are confident we can help you get yours. We want to make sure your loan helps your business thrive.

Opportunity Fund has several loan options available for mobile food businesses. From $10,000 to $100,000, we offer loans with easy qualification, low APR rates, and short wait times of 5 days or less. Take a look, and you will see how easy-to-get, fast, and affordable our loans are.  

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 $37M in loans to help more than 1,800 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 events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events in June.

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting the free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events in June.

Northern California/Bay Area

Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business

Date: June 9, 2016 | 1:30 pm PDT – 3:00 pm PDT

Location: San Francisco SBA Entrepreneur Center
455 Market Street, Suite 600, San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)

Contact: San Francisco SBA Entrepreneur Center sfomail@sba.gov

Organization: SBA San Francisco District Office and U.S. Department of Labor

Fee: Free

A representative from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) will provide a presentation focused on choosing a retirement solution for your small business. Click here to register for this event.

Starting And Running A Successful Food Truck Business

Date: June 15, 2016 | 1:00 pm PDT – 4:00 pm PDT

Location: 300 Ellinwood Way Fl 2, Pleasant Hill CA 94523-4859 – Bodega Room (map it)

Contact: Oscar Dominguez (925) 602-6806 or odominguez@ehsd.cccounty.us

Organization: Contra Costa County SBDC

Fee: Free

The food truck industry is a booming with new opportunities for people who are eager to be successful entrepreneurs. You will learn to identify the perfect niche and customer base; create menu items that save time, money and space in the kitchen; find a profitable location time and time again; manage daily operations, costs and prices; and consider licenses, codes, regulations, parking, etc. From choosing a vehicle to franchising and everything in between, learn what you need to know to get your business moving toward success.

Click here to register for this event.

Access to Capital / Lender’s Fair

[Author’s note: this event, originally scheduled for June 22, has been postponed to September 21. Check back with us for the September events lineup for more information.]

Date: June 22, 2016 | 8:00 am PDT – 4:00 pm PDT

Location: College of San Mateo, 1700 West Hillsdale Blvd., College Center Building 10, Bayview Dining Room, San Mateo, CA 94402 (map it)

Contact: Robert Shoffner (650) 574-6402

Organization: San Mateo SBDC

Fee: $20

Small business owners are invited to participate in this dynamic workshop focused on small business credit needs that will include remarks from Elizabeth Laderman, Senior Economic Outreach Economist from the San Francisco Federal Reserve, and Mark Quinn, Director of the SBA San Francisco District Office.

In addition, there will be four panel discussions on “Traditional Sources of Capital”, “Emerging and Alternative Sources of Capital”, “Global Access: Export Financing and Services” and “Pre-IPO Funding, Seed Capital, Angel Investors, Venture Capital and Growth Equity”. Throughout the day there will be a resource fair where attendees will be able to interface with resource providers regarding products and services. The workshop represents an excellent opportunity to meet resource partners and lenders that may be able to provide you with the capital to grow you business, invest in capital equipment or hire new employees.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California

Basics of Accounting – The Language of Business

Date: June 7, 2016 | 9:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT

Location: National University
3390 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA 92626 (map it)

Contact/Organization: Orange County SCORE workshops@score114.org

Fee: $35 via online registration by June 6/$45 at the door – Pre-registration recommended

Accounting is the “language of business”. People in the business world—owners, managers, bankers, investors—use accounting terms and concepts to describe the events that make up the “story” of a business. At its most fundamental level, accounting is the system of tracking the income, expenses, assets and liabilities of your business. In this workshop, you will learn how to make journal entries for debits and credits, the structure of financial statements, important financial ratios, ledgers, and, most importantly, how to “account” for the transactions in your business.

Click here to register for this event.

Small Business Resource Expo

Date: June 22, 2016 | 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm PDT

Location: City of Los Angeles Friendship Auditorium
3201 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (map it)

Contact/Organization: Los Angeles Alliance for Economic Inclusion

Fee: Free

Entrepreneurs are invited to attend this no-cost Small Business Resource Expo to connect with organizations that assist small business owners. Connect with nonprofit and government agencies specializing in small business resources such as technical assistance and training, business plan development, financing, procurement, mentoring and more. Opportunity Fund Regional Director Iosefa  Alofaituli is scheduled to attend. Registration closes June 18, 2016 at 8:00 pm PDT.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

California Small Business Insurance Requirements Webinar

Date: June 20, 2016 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm PDT
Registration Deadline: June 16, 2016 | 6:00 AM PDT

Location: Online – Webinar

Contact: Catrina Avila (916) 527-8400

Organization: Veterans Business Outreach Program

Fee: Free

Learn about the insurance requirements when owning a business. California law mandates employers to have certain types of insurance: workers’ compensation, unemployment, and contingent on the business location, disability insurance. Click here to register for this event.

A live workshop on the same topic of insurance requirements for small business owners is also available in Sacramento on June 20, 2016 at 2:00 pm PDT. Click here for more information.

Don’t Let These Events Send Your Business into a Tailspin

Date: June 21, 2016 | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm PDT

Location: Online – Webinar

Organization: SCORE Association

Fee: Free

Although “disaster preparedness” often triggers images of hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, there are dozens of “disasters” that have nothing to do with weather which can send your business into a tail spin. But If you have a plan for dealing with them, you can reduce their impact. Are you prepared to carry on if a key employee unexpectedly quits? Or inventory you need to fulfill orders is suddenly unavailable? Or your city block experiences a power outage or lengthy interruption to your internet service? These kinds of events are more commonplace than most business owners realize, but with advance planning the repercussions on your operations, revenues and customers can be minimized.

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. Last year, we made $37M in loans to help more than 1,800 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

Our lending experts are here to answer your toughest questions about small business financing. For a small business owner, credit can make or break their chances at success. If you’ve ever been confused about credit, you’re not alone. Here’s what you need to know about credit reports.

Many people think they can’t understand credit. Libby Morris, Senior Operations Director at Opportunity Fund, shares her insights on credit and lending with this Q&A about credit reports.

Q: How can borrowers get their credit score and reports?

A: The best way to get credit information for free is annualcreditreport.com. Even though they don’t provide a credit score without an additional fee, borrowers can get important data.

Credit providers are mandated to offer a copy of the credit report they used in the approval or denial decision to all applicants.

Q: How can borrowers dispute inaccurate information on their credit reports?

A: Read the credit report line by line. Look for anything suspicious or inaccurate, especially for common names or family members with the same name.

Go directly to the credit bureau’s website to dispute any inaccuracies. The credit provider has a time frame to respond to a dispute. The credit provider can choose to respond and provide proof that the disputed information is true. Most of the time, the credit provider won’t respond. This is how a borrower can successfully remove negative information from their credit report.

Q: What are some resources borrowers can use to repair their credit?

A: The most efficient and direct way is to research each bureau’s resources for credit management. They have a real stake in meeting the needs of borrowers and they emphasize transparency.

Q: How does FICO score factor into the loan process?

A: Most lenders use FICO as the key factor on credit applications. Bankruptcies and late accounts like a phone bill can bring a FICO score down significantly. These things can cause most lenders to decline a loan application.

At Opportunity Fund, We use a borrower’s credit report more as a tool to better understand the customer than as the main factor in a credit decision.  We look at all the pieces of credit history and evaluate each one. If a late account somewhere in a borrower’s history seems reasonable, like collections from the library, we don’t use that in application process. We use a borrower’s credit report more as a tool to better understand the customer than as the main factor in a credit decision.

Q: What is the difference between a hard credit pull and a soft credit pull?

A: A hard pull shows up as an inquiry on a credit report. It can impact a credit score, especially for borrowers with thin credit. It tells a lender how often a borrower asks for credit. For example, a borrower buying a house might apply for 10 different lines of credit over 30 days. That has the same impact as if the borrower applied for five lines of credit over the same time period.

A soft pull happens when lenders inquire about credit without impacting FICO score. An example of a soft pull is a pre-approved credit card offer in the mail. A credit provider, like Capital One, pays Experian for a list of borrowers that meet specific credit criteria to create the soft pull.

Q: Credit information has a lot of jargon. How can borrowers find and understand key terms on their credit reports?

A: Each of the three credit bureaus—Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian—have definitions on their websites. Borrowers should take time to read through their credit report with the help of the definitions provided by each bureau.

Q: What are the differences between the three credit bureaus?

A: The main differences are based the data each bureau gathers. For example, a loan from Opportunity Fund might show up on a borrower’s Experian or TransUnion report. Each bureau’s reports should be accurate, but their data format or reporting dates can be different.

Q: What are some things that borrowers should know about the loan process in regards to their credit?

A: Borrowers should know that any lender will inquire on credit and most are very score-driven. The information in the credit report won’t matter as much as the score it creates. During the credit process, lenders have access to view your complete report and they will ask you questions. Borrowers can help themselves by already knowing the answers.

At Opportunity Fund, we require borrowers to personally guarantee their loans. This usually helps the borrower’s credit score, but if they inquire about an additional loan like a mortgage, a personally guaranteed loan on the credit report can make the mortgage officer reduce the amount the borrower might be eligible for.

A lot of business loans don’t show up on personal credit reports. Our mission-oriented lending is based on transparency in the small business lending world, as part of the Small Business Borrower’s Bill of Rights. We would like all business lenders to report on credit, because it would allow access to sustainable lending for all borrowers in general, but especially for small business borrowers.

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. Last year, we made $37M in loans to help more than 1,800 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

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