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

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 July 3 through July 16.

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 July 3 through July 16.

Northern California/Sacramento

Drive New Business with Social Media
Date: July 6, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Simpkins Family Swim Center
979 17th St. Santa Cruz, CA 95062 (map it)
Contact: John Yost | jyost@santacruz.score.org | (831) 621-3735
Organization: Santa Cruz SCORE
Fee: $35

Join Santa Cruz SCORE for this workshop that will teach you how to get started with social media for your business or non-profit.

This session will answer your key questions, including:

  • Which social media platform(s) will have the biggest bang for your buck?
  • How to create content to grow your followers?
  • How to advertise on social media?
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

How Smart Business Owners Use Credit Cards
Date: July 13, 2017 | 9:30 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: 455 Market St. Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: sfomail@sba.gov | (415) 744-6820
Organization: U.S. Small Business Association
Fee: Free

Credit cards can be a great tool for managing cash flow or can be helpful as a short-term loan option. Join the SBA for this free seminar to learn how to use credit cards for your business to earn some sweet rewards while avoiding costly pitfalls.

We’ll discuss:

  • Pros and cons of credit cards for entrepreneurs
  • Different types of credit cards and how they can affect your credit scores
  • Common credit card mistakes many small business owners make
  • The one piece of plastic you should not use in your business
  • Key differences between personal and business cards
  • Qualifying for the best business credit cards
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

Meet the Lenders Workshop
Date: July 13, 2017 | 12:30 pm PDT – 3:30 pm PDT
Location: Mt. Shasta Community Building
629 Alder St. Mt. Shasta, CA 96067 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI)
Fee: Free

Join us at Meet the Lenders and get answers to your questions on financing options for startups and expanding businesses, veteran entrepreneurs, and others through local and JEDI partner organizations.

We will cover:

  • Financing options available to small businesses
  • Loans for real estate, equipment, or machinery
  • Funding sources and services for veterans

Find the financing that fits your business needs! Click here or call (503) 926-6670 to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Introduction to QuickBooks
Date: July 6, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 1003 East Cooley Dr. Suite 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: Dee Anna Chandler | deeann@iewbc.org | (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: Free

Learning a new software package can be scary. Join this free seminar and replace the fear with excitement.

Quickbooks can help you build, maintain, and grow your business by providing automated bookkeeping and accounting procedures that help you stay on top. Learn ways to customize the software to your specific needs and create quality reports that keep you on track, including:

  • Tracking income and expenses
  • Maintaining your accounts receivables and payables
  • Creating quality financial statements

Want more Quickbooks? Register for the 3-part hands-on Quickbooks training at IWEB, which starts July 27. Call Dee Anna Chandler at (909) 890-1242 for more information.

Click here to register for this event.

Bring Attention To Your Website and Your Business With Video!
Date: July 11, 2017 6:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: Bellflower City Hall
16600 Civic Center Dr. Bellflower, CA 90706 (map it)
Contact: (714) 550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: Free

Video is becoming the content of choice to showcase your business, your product, or your service online! Learn how to create and publish do-it-yourself video throughout your website, social media, and email with the tools you already have!

Haven’t you always wanted to direct? Join us for this free workshop and learn: 

  • Brand standards and consistency on your website, social media, and video.
  • Tools and techniques for making your own videos look polished and professional.
  • Information on apps that make it easy.
  • Actionable steps to market your video online with email and social media.

Click here to register for this event.

Access to Capital Workshop
Date: July 12, 2017 | 5:00 pm PDT – 8:30 pm PDT
Location: Downtown Anaheim Community Center—Assembly Hall
250 E. Center St. Anaheim, CA 92805 (map it)
Contact: Martha Cisneros | mcisneros@elcamino.edu |(310) 973-3177
Organization: The Center and Orange County SBDC
Fee: Free

Join Opportunity Fund at Access to Capital Small Business Workshop, hosted by The Center and the Orange County Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Come meet non-profit and government organizations committed to supporting small business:

  • Orange County SBDC
  • SBA
  • Anaheim Small Business Organization
  • CIELO
  • Opportunity Fund
  • And more!

These organizations can help you with challenges ranging from lowering your cost of capital to preparing your loan application package.

Enter to win a $1,500 Business Advancement Grant! At registration, simply tell us your story—why you run a small business & some of your challenges and successes—to be eligible.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Small Business Owners: Access Financial Resources to Boost Your Bottom Line
Date: July 6, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Mary Overbey
Organization: Small Business Majority
Fee: Free

If you need help accessing financial, health, or retirement resources to boost your bottom line and provide robust employee benefits, join this free webinar to learn about resources that can benefit your small business.

This free interactive event series will expand your knowledge of various topics such as optimizing your credit score, improving your health literacy, and exploring convenient retirement saving options. Register for one event, or sign up for the whole series for the most impact on your business!

  • Presentation #1 – Financial Resources (7/6/2017)
    Optimize your credit score, spot signs of predatory and payday lending, and easily access capital for your business.
  • Presentation #2 – Retirement Resources (7/13/2017)
    Discover the U.S. retirement savings gap and a summary of common retirement paths for entrepreneurs to help you and your employees save for the future and secure your finances.
  • Presentation #3 – Health Resources (7/20/2017)
    Learn what healthcare laws means for small businesses, and how repealing the ACA (or “Obamacare”) could impact employer-sponsored coverage for small firms and individual coverage for the self-employed. Additionally, we’ll provide examples of easy and affordable wellness programs that can benefit the health of your business and employees, and provide you with a guide to increase your health literacy.

Click here to register for this event.

Financial Calculations That Answer Key Business Questions
Date: July 11, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (626) 585-3106
Organization: Pasadena SBDC
Fee: $25

Business owners can struggle with questions that affect the financial health of the company:

  • Are we selling at the right price?
  • Are we making money?
  • Can we afford to hire someone?

In this webinar, learn about Performance Measurements—simple mathematical calculations that can monitor sales, overhead, and profitability. Use them for business, independent of size and scope.

Click here to register for this event.

5 Cheap Ways to Market Your Business Online
Date: July 13, 2017| 10:30 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Kimberly Donahue | kimberly.donahue@sba.gov | (304) 347-5220
Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration
Fee: Free

Getting your business online isn’t as complicated—or expensive—as you might think. Join this free webinar and discuss ways to promote your business online without breaking the bank or driving yourself crazy.

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

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 May 16 through May 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 May 16 through May 31.

Northern California/Sacramento

Empowering Women Business Owners: Inspiration – How To Get It And Keep It
Date: May 19, 2017 | 12:30 pm PST – 2:00 pm PST
Location: San Francisco SBA Entrepreneur Center
455 Market St. Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: SFOmail@sba.gov | (415) 744-6820
Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration
Fee: Free

With all the advancements for women in business over the last several decades we have much to celebrate, but we also have a long road ahead. Inspiration is the key ingredient.

The empowerment of women in business is critical to the success of the overall economic fabric of our communities. This workshop will provide you with critical information you can put to use in your business endeavors immediately following the session.

Two of San Francisco’s most admired business women, Gwen Kaplan and Emily Wirowek, will share ‘real-world’ challenges and inspirations and ‘real-life’ solutions to propel your business forward as the leaders of this seminar. Now is the time to be inspired!

Click here to register for this event.

Small Business IT Best Practices
Date: May 24, 2017 | 9:00 am PST – 12:00 pm PST
Location: East Bay SCORE @ Cal State Center East Bay
1000 Broadway Suite 109 Oakland, CA 94607 (map it)
Contact: info@eastbayscore.org | (510) 273-6611
Organization: SCORE East Bay
Fee: $35

Organizations that embrace and leverage technology have a significant competitive advantage.  A modern business integrates technology with business processes to deliver security, control data, improve productivity, and quickly resolve issues.

In this seminar, you’ll learn best practices for future-proofing your organization’s IT including:

  • Risk Mitigation
  • Data Governance
  • Productivity
  • Maintenance & Support

Click here to register for this event.

SCORE Content Marketing Workshop
Date: May 25, 2017 | 10:00 am PST – 12:00 pm PST
Location: 801 R St. Suite 201 Fresno, CA 93721 (map it)
Contact: Chunny Boosa | chunny.boosa@scorevolunteer.org | (559) 492-9709
Organization: Central Valley SCORE
Fee: Free

You’ve heard of “Location, Location, Location” for real estate. For online marketing, it’s “Content, Content, Content!”

In this seminar, you’ll learn the building blocks of great content that engages customers:

  • The words: what to say and the way you say it (tone, date & time, frequency)
  • Audience engagement: attract, engage, and encourage sharing
  • Structure and tools: how to make content creation fast, easy, and effective
  • Content management made easy: time-saving tips, techniques, and apps to boost your content
  • Writing for different platforms: better email subject lines and repurposing content the right way
  • Visual aids: images, graphics, videos, and much more

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Transform Your Business
Date: May 16, 2017 | 6:00 pm PST – 8:30 pm PST
Location: 77806 Flora Rd. Suite A Palm Desert, CA 92211 (map it)
Contact: Kim Scanlan | kscanlan@cvwbc.org | (760) 345-9200
Organization: Coachella Valley Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

During this highly interactive and insightful workshop, you’ll discover how consistently attracting high-quality clients and relentless money management is the real keys to profitability. You’ll also learn that proper planning and energy utilization is the foundation of a balanced work and personal life. And, perhaps most important of you’ll find out and appreciate just what it is that you truly love about your transformed business.

Click here to register for this event.

Murrieta-Area Business Roundtable
Date: May 17, 2017 | 8:00 am PST – 9:00 am PST
Location: Murrieta Innovation Center
26442 Beckman Ct. Murrieta, CA 92562 (map it)
Contact: Diana Cescolini | diana.cescolini@scorevolunteer.org | (951) 652-4390
Organization: Inland Empire SCORE
Fee: Free

Come join business leaders and guest speakers in a great networking opportunities at a business roundtable meeting. This is a wonderful way to meet other business owners and discuss important topics crucial to the success of your business. Don’t miss out on this great networking opportunity.

Click here to register for this event.

Snapchat for Business
Date: May 17, 2017 | 6:00 pm PST – 8:00 pm PST
Location: Inglewood Public Library—Gladys Waddingham Lecture Hall
101 W. Manchester Blvd. Inglewood, CA 90301 (map it)
Contact: Martha Cinseros | mcisneros@elcamino.edu | (310) 973-3177
Organization:  SBDC hosted by El Camino College
Fee: Free

Snapchat is one of the fastest growing social networks of the decade. Since its inception in 2011, it has grown to 8 billion daily video views (head to head with Facebook) and 100+ million daily active users.

This platform is a content and storytelling haven. With an engaged user base, Snapchat delivers a marketing channel for the fast pace world we live in. As its user base continues to skyrocket, there is ample opportunity for businesses to take advantage of the attention on Snapchat. Brands like Taco Bell, Burberry, Sephora, Amazon and even Presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders are using it and seeing impactful results.

This interactive Snapchat for business class will provide step by step guidance:

  • How to navigate Snapchat: basic functionality
  • How to create content and build your tribe
  • How to develop a content strategy
  • How to repurpose your Snapchat content for other platforms
  • How to build a cross promotion strategy and plan of action for your business

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Time Management: Maximize Profitability, Achieve More by Doing Less
Date: May 16, 2017 | 8:00 am PST – 9:00 am PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Ian Rogers | rogersia@gvsu.edu | (616) 331-7262
Organization: Michigan Small Business Development Center
Fee: Free

The demands that take you away from focusing on your most important work cost you time, money and stress. Some research has found that with the many interruptions in our schedule on a daily basis, we lose 28% productivity! That equates to almost one full day a week!

The models discussed in this webinar are designed to assist busy professionals with organization, prioritization, and narrowing their focus to achieve more and take back their time allowing more time with themselves, family and friends.

Click here to register for this event.

How and Why You Should Track Your Cash Flow Weekly
Date: May 18, 2017| 10:00 am PST – 11:00 am PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: webinars@score.org
Organization: SCORE
Fee: Free

Managing your cash flow can be a stressful endeavor for small business owners. But you don’t need an accounting degree to track this key metric.

In this webinar, you will learn the fundamentals of cash flow management, including how to:

  • Develop a cash flow budget on your own
  • Use the budget to make critical business decisions
  • Forecast the future of your business with more certainty

Click here to register for this event.

Can Your Business Keep Up with Today’s Customer?
Date: May 30, 2017 | 10:00 am PST – 11:00 am PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: webinars@score.org
Organization: SCORE
Fee: Free

As social and mobile technologies change, businesses and customers interact differently. Customers are more sophisticated and knowledgeable than ever, but many small businesses don’t know how to adapt and keep up.

Join Laurie McCabe, six-time Small Business Influencer Award winner and Cofounder at SMB Group for this seminar where you will to learn:

  • Customer expectations: how and why they’re changing
  • Implications and challenges for small businesses
  • Tactics for sales, marketing, and service: keep pace with your 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. 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 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 March.

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 March.

Northern California/Sacramento

Protect Your Business – Understand Employment Law
Date: March 9, 2017 | 6:00 pm PST – 9:00 pm PST
Location: Simpkins Family Swim Center
979 17th Avenue Santa Cruz, CA 95062  (map it)
Contact: John Yost | score0688@santacruzscore.org | (831) 621-3735
Organization: Santa Cruz SCORE
Fee: $35

Are you considering hiring employees? Don’t let yourself get caught on the wrong side of legal issues regarding employment. Join SCORE and employment Law Attorney Carmela Woll to learn about the following important legal issues in employment:

  • Hiring
  • Terminating
  • Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

Money Matters: Cash Flow
Date: March 16, 2017 | 1:30 pm PST – 3:30 pm PST
Location: 455 Market Street 6th Floor San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: Angelique Gosse | angelique.gosse@sfgov.org | (415) 937-7232
Organization: San Francisco SBDC
Fee: Free

The second class of this three part training provides an in-depth coverage of business finances. Using adult learning techniques with the most modern tools the course will explain the four parts of a Cash Flow Statement and how to use it to run your business. The outcome of this training will allow the participants to make better informed business decision based on clear understanding of money matters and be able to increase profitability.

To register for this event, click here.

Small Business Tax and Record Keeping Workshop
Date: March 30, 2017 | 9:00 am PST – 12:00 pm PST
Location: 4990 Stockton Blvd Sacramento, CA 95820 (map it)
Contact: DHA-Stockton-Blvd-BIC@saccounty.net |(916) 875-3280

Organization: Sacramento County DHA Business Information Center
Fee: Free

Join Brenda Duran EA, BS Principal Tax Advisor BD Tax & Finance Group, Inc. for this free workshop on how to improve your tax and record keeping strategies.

Topics covered will include:

  • Setting up and running your business the right way
  • Federal taxes and your new business
  • Deductions and business related expenses
  • Filing and paying your taxes on time to avoid penalties
  • Essentials of running your home based business
  • Federal Unemployment Taxes

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Free Small Business Seminar
Date: March 9, 2017 | 8:00 am PST – 1:00 pm PST
Location: Centro Maravilla Service Center
4716 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90022 (map it)
Contact: Xiomara Peña | (818) 470-0377
Organization: Small Business Majority
Fee: Free

The Small Business Development Center in East LA, Small Business Majority, and the Small Business Finance CDC invite you to participate in this one-of-a-kind event. Join several business experts and speakers on topics that can help you grow and expand your business, including Opportunity Fund loan consultant Osbaldo Velazquez.

This FREE resource fair and event will include information about procurement opportunities, access to capital, social media and marketing, human resources and much more!

Multiple workshops will be offered during various time frames so that you can join the topics most important to your small business! Complimentary breakfast & lunch will be provided.

Click here to register for this event.

Guided Business Plan
Date: March 13, 2017 | 10:00 am PST – 2:00 pm PST
Location: 3255 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 1501, Los Angeles, CA 90010 (map it)
Contact: (213) 674-2696
Organization: SBDC Pacific Coast Regional
Fee: $75

Is your banker, investor, or partner requesting your business plan? Attend the GUIDED Business Plan™ workshop to write a plan that engages your reader.

During the 4-hour session, you will write the first draft of the Executive Summary of your business plan. We prompt you to write the first words that come to mind. We remove the focus of trying to craft the perfect sentence for your business plan via brainstorming.

Our facilitators are able to quickly analyze a range of business models to provide constructive advice. Create your business plan the easy, simple and GUIDED way.

Click here to register for this event.

Credit Recovery
Date: March 21, 2017 | 1:00 pm PST – 3:00 pm PST
Location: 2075 Las Palmas Drive, Carlsbad CA 92011 (map it)
Contact: centerinfo@miracosta.edu | (760) 795-8740
Organization: North San Diego SBDC
Fee: Free

Join North San Diego SBDC for this workshop especially intended for anyone who has questions about their credit and credit reports.

Here’s how this seminar can help you:

  • Reading and interpreting your credit report
  • Defining and improving your credit scores
  • Identifying and correcting errors in your credit information.
  • Repairing your credit
  • Understanding the use of credit in the loan process
  • Taking next steps after being denied credit

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Two-Page Business Plan
Date: March 8, 2017 | 8:00 am PST – 9:00 am PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Stephen Konkle | stephen.konkle@sba.gov | (312) 886-4208
Organization: SBA Illinois District Office
Fee: Free

Writing a business plan might seem intimidating, but it’s an essential tool for any entrepreneur. Attend this webinar to learn how to craft and hone your two-page business plan. We’ll share best practices and answer your questions. Join SBA Economic Development Specialist Stephen Konkle for this webinar.

Click here to register for this event.

How Business Owners Can Get and Keep Strong Personal Credit Scores
Date: March 8, 2017| 8:00 am PST – 9:00 am PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Ian Rogers | rogersia@gvsu.edu | (616) 331-7262
Organization: Michigan SBDC
Fee: Free

When you’re a business owner, strong personal credit scores can be an asset by helping you qualify for a business credit card, an SBA loan, or other types of funding that take the owner’s personal credit into account. But if you’re not careful, your business can hurt your credit scores.

Join Nav Head of Market Education Gerri Detweiler for this webinar, where you’ll learn:

  • The big credit score mistake many small business owners make
  • The ways to protect your credit from your business
  • The fastest ways to boost your personal credit scores
  • And much more!

Click here to register for this event.

Basically Business: Social Media Know-How
Date: March 9, 2017 | 12:00 pm PST – 12:30 pm PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Kimberly Donahue | kimberly.donahue@sba.gov | 304-347-5220
Organization: SBA
Fee: Free

This basic webinar helps you choose social media platforms, and get the most out of them while securing your privacy, connecting with peers, and showcasing your expertise. You do it anyway, so let us help you do it right!

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 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 opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook  and Twitter

After successfully running his restaurant in the city’s Mission District for over a decade, Saul wanted to expand his business with a mobile food truck. Thanks to a loan from Opportunity Fund, El Gran Taco Loco is getting ready to serve great Mexican food around the Bay Area.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to share these stories so you get inspired too. This week, read about Saul Chavez of El Gran Taco Loco in San Francisco.  After successfully running his restaurant in the city’s Mission District for over a decade, Saul wanted to expand his business with a mobile food truck. Thanks to a loan from Opportunity Fund, El Gran Taco Loco is getting ready to serve great Mexican food around the Bay Area.

A Family Business

Saul Chavez has been working in the restaurant business most of his life. He became an entrepreneur 11 years ago when he bought a restaurant from his uncle, and has built that restaurant, El Gran Taco Loco, into a popular spot in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Business is always booming at El Gran Taco Loco, but Saul saw the potential to do more with his investment. He added catering services to the restaurant, which quickly became a huge hit. “After we had catered some big events, I started thinking about buying a food trailer,” he said.

Feeding a Dream

His dreams to get into the mobile food business connected him to Opportunity Fund. Saul reached out to Cal Central, a well-known mobile food vehicle manufacturer in Modesto, to purchase the food trailer he needed to expand his catering and mobile food services. The high startup costs of a mobile food business didn’t shake Saul’s determination.

“Food trailers are expensive,” he said. “The best way to get started is to finance part of the costs.”

Cal Central recommended Opportunity Fund as a financing option for Saul. Loan consultant Dulce Lomeli worked with Saul and Cal Central to secure the $49,000 loan he needed to complete the purchase of his food trailer.

“The whole thing was very efficient and fast,” he said. “Working with Dulce was easy. She helped me understand the loan requirements and which documents I needed to provide. I take good care of my credit score so that helped me get the loan. I give Opportunity Fund five stars.”

El Gran Taco Loco’s first mobile food venture is almost ready to hit the road. They’re still in catering mode for now, but Saul has been working on the operations permits for almost six months. “We should be up and running in a few weeks,” he said. “We want to operate in the San Leandro area. That’s my home. My family lives there, too. I want to bring my food to my town. I know my family and community will support my company.”

Saul hopes to buy a second food trailer to expand his business even more. We’re excited about El Gran Taco Loco’s delicious food, and we’re happy to help Saul’s family business reach more people around the Bay Area.

See how we helped Saul bring his handmade Mexican food to his community with a new food truck in our latest video success story:

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

Alysia Vallas started SOMI as a way to support female empowerment. Thanks to a working capital loan from Opportunity Fund, SOMI can now sell more quality undergarments online and at fine retailers, and raise more money to help women internationally.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to share these stories so you get inspired too. This week, read about Alysia Vallas of SOMI in San Francisco.  Alysia Vallas started SOMI as a way to support female empowerment. Thanks to a working capital loan from Opportunity Fund, SOMI can now sell more quality undergarments online and at fine retailers, and raise more money to help women internationally.

Working for Women

Alysia started SOMI in San Francisco in 2013. Alysia, inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, authors of Half the Sky, carried that message of building female empowerment in some of the world’s most underdeveloped areas into her entrepreneurial idea — and formed a collaboration with the Harpswell Foundation in Cambodia.

“I asked myself how I could help,” she said. “I decided to produce women’s garments and use a percentage of the proceeds to help women’s development groups.”

Female empowerment is a major hallmark of the SOMI brand, from the connection to women’s groups to the message of comfortable, accessible undergarments. Alysia had sold her intimate apparel solely as an e-commerce venture for almost two years before looking to expand. In 2016, SOMI started offering products in pop-up shops in San Francisco and New Jersey, and recently entered the wholesale market with products sold at Anthropologie.

The shift to producing garments for wholesale meant Alysia had to think differently about financing her business. “I got production orders that required thousands of dollars immediately,” she said. “I couldn’t get the money I needed from sales up front, sometimes not until 30 days after production.”

A Supportive Lending Connection

Alysia looked for financing to boost SOMI’s cash flow through her bank and the Small Business Administration. Those options didn’t fit her needs as a new entrepreneur in business for less than two years.

“It felt like jumping through a lot of hoops for a lot of uncertainty,” she said. “It was insurmountable for me to put together a business plan, pitch it, and then maybe not get funding. We had already gone so far into production that I was hoping to get a loan within a smaller time frame.”

Alysia learned about Opportunity Fund thanks to a tip from a friend. Loan consultant Sergei Minets began working with Alysia to get her loan package together, and delivered SOMI’s first small business loan of $3,000 in 2015.

She chose Opportunity Fund because of our track record as a transparent lender that provides easy-to-get, fast, and affordable loans. Sergei’s support made a difference for her as well.

“Sergei answered all my questions,” she said. “He helped me get the best rate. The entire process took a few weeks, which means a lot to us and our production schedule.”

Alysia is looking forward to more growth for SOMI thanks to the financial support from Opportunity Fund. As SOMI continues to spin more threads into sales, we’ll be there to cover her small business lending needs.

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

Elyse Thogerson crafted her raw juice mixology into RAW, a thriving San Francisco-based business. Thanks to a strong business lending relationship with Opportunity Fund, RAW is expanding to serve new neighborhoods with a second location.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to share these stories so you get inspired too. This week, read about Elyse Thogerson of RAW in San Francisco.  Elyse crafted her raw juice mixology into RAW, her thriving juice business. Thanks to a strong business lending relationship with Opportunity Fund, RAW is expanding to serve new neighborhoods with a second location.

Fruit for Thought

Elyse Thogerson started juicing for her health. Her interest in raw, organic juice became a business thanks to her outlook on demographics. “Everyone needs juice,” she said with a smile.

RAW began in San Francisco in 2012, in a small space at the Second Act theatre on Haight Street. After a successful first year in business, the demand for her raw juices and cleanses was quickly taxing the business budgets. That, on top of a slowdown in business, made her look for funding to support RAW.

RAW - Elyse at work

Elyse shows off her workspace at RAW (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

“My rainy day money ran out,” she said. “My juicers were breaking down every few months plus I needed a point-of-sale system. It cost me so much money.”

Elyse had Opportunity Fund in the back of her mind after a visit to the Small Business Administration office in San Francisco. She decided to take a closer look at our small business loans after a tip from her banking connections at Wells Fargo.

A Fresh Take on Financing

Opportunity Fund loan consultant Sergei Minets started working with Elyse and closed RAW’s first loan in November 2014. The $3,000 loan helped replace the broken juicers, and more importantly, it started a good lending relationship for her business. “I was able to pay it back without hassle,” she said. “It was just one affordable monthly bill.”

Elyse stresses why it’s so important for her business to have access to easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans. “It’s almost like when you start a business, online lenders can smell you,” she said. “They seem like they’re for small businesses. Then you read their APR and it can be almost 200 percent.”

She decided to stick with Opportunity Fund and got two more loans in 2015 and 2016, for $7,000 and $10,000 respectively. With the influx of new working capital, Elyse is on her way to opening a second RAW location in the city’s Castro District, with a new point-of-sale system, a new juicer, and remodeled floors and countertops.

Elyse has big plans for RAW, including expansion into a retail storefront with a cafe and a kitchen. Her strong relationship with Sergei made her believe in Opportunity Fund’s ability to help her business grow.

RAW - Elyse and Sergei

Elyse shakes hands with her Opportunity Fund loan consultant Sergei Minets (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)


“He supports my business,” Elyse said. “Sometimes he just calls to see how I’m doing. He’s helped me through some of my most stressful moments as a business owner. Plus he comes in with his wife to buy juice. He’s awesome.”

We’re happy to support RAW’s big moves with our small business loans. We’ll be there to help Elyse serve her juices and cleanses to everyone who needs some refreshment.

See how we helped Elyse expand her raw organic juice business into a popular spot in the Castro in our latest video success story:

We hope this story has inspired you.  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 $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.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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