Business Resources & Incentives > Starting a business
Starting Your Own Business - STEP ONE
East Bay Small Business Initiative/Symposiums
To improve the connection between small businesses and the resource providers who can help them in a variety of ways, East Bay EDA and its partners are launching an East Bay Small Business Initiative..
East Bay EDA and its partners are hosting a
series of four Small Business Symposia — one in each
East Bay sub-region (May 23, 2012 in Antioch, July 31
in Berkeley, September 18 in Danville, and November 8 in
Fremont) — to enable
— to enablesmall business owners and operators to connect face-to-face with business resource providers (e.g., financial experts, alternative lenders, marketing and management specialists, and more).
For more information, to register for a Symposium or connect with the resources that grouped together to meet the needs of Entrepreneurs/Startups, Young, Growing or Mature businesses, visit the initiative website: www.ebsmallbusiness.com.
The website has a list of participating resources and provides a way for additional resources and sponsors to sign up .
Other Important Small Business ResourcesBusiness located in Contra Costa County may want to check out the Contra Costa Means Business website! It also has clear, comprehensive information that will be applicable to all businesses, though businesses located in Alameda County may need to file their name and/or use some of the resources listed below that are specific to Alameda County businesses.
Businesses located in Alameda County may want to check out the Business Assistance Center "business portal" , a one-stop information and referral center to help business owners navigate the Oakland City government and provide referrals to local organizations, county, and state agencies, and other resources to help businesses grow.
The State of California has multiple web sites for businesses, the two most commonly used is their "Business Portal" has a lot of important information for a business in CA, and a brand new one is connected to the Governor's Office of Economic Development, (GO-Biz) - the first new State Economic Development entity since ex Governor Davis did away with the Trade and Commerce Agency, before he was recalled.
License and Permits (for any business, type or location)
The first recommended step to determine what licenses or permits are required, by type of business and location, is the recently updated www.calgold.ca.gov website.
If you run into difficulties in this process, contact the new Bay Area permit assistance contact from the Governor's Office of Economic Development is available to help out as well. Look for contact info on their new homepage at http://www.business.ca.gov
The Contra Costa Regional Permit Assistance Center provides a central resource for environmental permit assistance and information for businesses in Contra Costa County. Experts from various state and local agencies help businesses identify what is necessary to start a business. They use the Calgold.ca.gov website and are located at
Contra Costa Regional Permit
|A list of contacts to assist with finding workers, training new and current employees and help workers find jobs (go to the Business Resources page and click on Workforce Contacts) or go to East Bay Works, a network of 14 One-Stop Business and Career Centers in the East Bay, available to businesses, job seekers, youth, and the general public. They offer free access to core employment services and referrals to related resources, jobs, training or education|
|MANEX provides California manufacturers with affordable consulting services that focus on process improvement, manufacturing and quality systems, business development and employee training - which accesses the State Employment Training Panel Grant funds. The East Bay Works programs can also assist in accessing this program.|
|Register as an Employer|
|All California businesses that hire employees are required to register with the California Employment Development Department. If you hire or plan to hire employees, access detailed information and forms for registering as an employer.|
|A Safe Workplace: Understanding Occupational Safety and Health Requirements|
Know what's expected for maintaining a safe workplace. The
California Division of Occupational Safety and Health offers
free consultation services to California employers for
understanding Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) regulations & other workplace safety standards.|
|Business Financing - State|
|Locate sources of state and federal loans and loan guarantees.|
|Local Business Financing|
|First step - Go to the your local Small Business Development Center to put together a business plan and obtain info on financing requirements & options|
|For East Bay lending programs - Business Resources/Resource Information and click on "Financial Contacts"|
|Small Business Administration (SBA) loans|
The SBA offers numerous loan programs to assist
small businesses. It is important to note, however,
that the SBA is primarily a guarantor of loans made
by private and other institutions. Their most common
loan is a loan guarantee (7a), and for land and
buildings, the 504 program, which provides up to 40%
of the required amount, with the bank providing 50%.
Business Resource List Financial Contacts
page for information on local programs.|
There have been a number of changes to the SBA loan programs - including a SBA Direct that helps direct you to the resources and services you need.
Please note that while you hear about "grants" on TV, true grants are only available for very specific products or research, like Federal SBIR grants that are made to businesses who are developing new technologies or products that Defense needs.
Most grants are made to State or local agencies or non-profits to expand and enhance organizations that in turn provide small business management, technical assistance, or loans.
Some cities use these grants to establish loan funds for small businesses. These Revolving Loan Funds are available with a slightly lower credit standard then banks have to maintain or are paired with bank loans (with the city's funds at risk before the banks). Go to the Agency Contact page for your city contact to find out whether they have a program available.
Most businesses have to be started with business owner, friends or family equity and or credit cards because until the business has demonstrated a repayment ability from the business, it is not eligible for a loan.
|Angel investors in the Bay Area|
|Most Angel investors are affluent individuals, networks or angel groups who provide capital for business start-ups, usually in exchange for an equity stake Angel capital fills the gap in start-up financing between the "three F" (friends, family and fools) and venture capital. While it is difficult to raise more than $100,000 - $200,000 from friends and family. Thus, angel investment is a common second round of financing for high-growth start-ups.|
Venture Capital funds typically will not consider investments under $1 million, take a large percentage of equity and control, and have the following:
*Ability to scale their venture to create high-paying jobs
*A unique product or technology with sustainable barriers against competitors
*Company management who have proven industry expertise and who want to learn more about raising capital from investors
*Opportunities for investors to cash out after making an equity investment