This year, from April 30 through May 6, we celebrate National Small Business Week. In the East Bay, we are home to over 90,000 small businesses with less than 10 employees. As a percentage of total businesses in the East Bay, small businesses comprise a significant majority of businesses at 84%. These businesses in turn created over 85,000 jobs.*

The impact small businesses have on our community is substantial, and we encourage our members to support them throughout the year, especially during this week. To learn more about small businesses in the East Bay, we sat down with Vincent McCoy, Director of the Small Business Development Center at Cal State East Bay.

Q: Tell us about the work of the East Bay Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and your services for small business.

A: “East Bay SBDC provides help for existing and startup small businesses in three main forms: confidential, no-cost, one-on-one advising, training workshops that tackle business topics in a single session or a workshop series, and resources and referrals to organizations, people and programs with specific expertise.”

Q: What are some of the challenges facing East Bay small businesses?

A: “The primary challenge for small businesses includes a rapidly changing and demanding set of requirements from customers, suppliers, and employees, access to readily available and affordable capital, and keeping up with the technological and content management requirements of the digital marketplaces.”

Q: How are technology and innovation changing the landscape for small businesses? 

A: “There are positive and negative impacts imposed. Customers expect companies to deploy technology to satisfy their needs. Online marketing increases the visibility of competitor offerings while technology greatly increases the potential markets for companies to sell products and services.”

Q: What organizations does the East Bay SBDC partner with to enhance and expand your services for small businesses?

A: “Working Solutions, Port Labs, local chambers of commerce, city and county economic development agencies, and nonprofit lenders such as CDC Small Business Finance, NorCal Finance, California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, CoBiz, Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce, to name a few. We also work with Hayward Open for Business, Alameda County Food Entrepreneur Training Academy with Economic and Civic Development Department, and CSU East Bay College of Business and Economics for curriculum development and training workshops.”

Q: What is happening in and around the East Bay for Small Business Week, and how will the SBDC be involved?

A: “Monday, May 1 is launch of advising services in CSU East Bay’s Oakland City Center. Tuesday May 2 is Entrepreneurship, Leveraging and Linking with Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce. and Friday, May 5 is a reception at CoBiz, just to name a few.”

Other Small Business Week activities taking place:

This list not exhaustive. Please visit your city or local chamber of commerce websites for more information – you can use East Bay EDA’s resource map to help with finding these organizations and resources.

*Source: Source: Applied Geographic Solutions, 2022