City Announces Free Workshops, Events for 2019 Small Business Week (May 5-11)

Date Posted: April 29th, 2019 @ 2:24 PM
Last Updated: April 29th, 2019 @ 2:24 PM

For 2019, the City of Oakland is taking the Small Business Week workshops into the commercial districts that small businesses call home by working with its nonprofit business service provider partners. Entrepreneurs and small business owners may choose from networking events, informative workshops and insightful panels in Downtown, East Oakland, Fruitvale and West Oakland during Oakland Small Business Week, May 5 to 11. Topics will include social media, tech tools, access to capital, cyber security, business models, women mentoring women, business operations and more. The full roster of free activities is posted at

The City of Oakland designed Small Business Week activities to help Oakland’s diverse business community thrive. In addition to the education workshops, three longstanding events that have become traditions will celebrate the importance of small businesses.

“Keeping our long-rooted businesses thriving in the changing economy is vital to maintaining the character of Oakland,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “I’m pleased to be part of Monday’s reception when we honor five family-owned businesses that have prospered for over 25 years and have helped make Oakland a special place to live, to do business and to recreate.”

While some small businesses are startups or young companies, others are long-established firms. Across all industry sectors, small businesses are the helping to fuel Oakland’s economic growth.

“Small businesses are essential to our local economy,” said Micah Hinkle, the City’s Deputy Director of Economic & Workforce Development and Business Development Manager. “We’re focused on providing resources in our commercial districts where Oakland’s small businesses are adding jobs while providing vital goods and services to our neighborhoods.”

Neighborhood Workshops
Post-event participant feedback from 2018 about the challenges of coming downtown during the day has fueled our desire to shift the bulk of Small Business Week educational workshops into Oakland’s commercial districts. This shift also aligns with the goals of the Economic Development Strategy 2018-2020 adopted in late 2017. It also reflects the Economic & Workforce Development Department’s desire to offer year-round workshops to support entrepreneurs and small business owners, rather than concentrating resources in one seven-day stretch.

Monday, May 6, 2019, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Navigating Oakland's Tech Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th Street, Suite 290, Oakland CA 94607
Want to launch a tech startup in Oakland? This session gives entrepreneurs an overview of resources as well as direct insights from other entrepreneurs who are building companies locally. There will also be office hours to go more in depth about your ideas and businesses.
Presented by the Kapor Center for Social Impact and Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce
Hosted by the Kapor Center for Social Impact, Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce and City of Oakland
Presented in English with Cantonese Interpretation

Tuesday, May 7, 2019, 3:30 p.m. info tables; 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. workshop
Social Media & Online Visibility for Your Business
Fruitvale Senior Center, 3301 E. 12th Street, Oakland CA 94601
Participants will learn how to find their audience, boost their brand, increase sales and use social media to improve long-term sustainability. Learn how social media and graphic design play a vital role in keeping current customers while attracting new ones.
Presented by Oakland Digital
Hosted by Anew America and the City of Oakland
Presented in English with Spanish interpretation

Tuesday, May 7, 2019, 5:15 to 6:15 p.m.
Information Technology Tools for Your Business

Fruitvale Senior Center, 3301 E. 12th Street, Oakland CA 94601
This workshop is designed to help business owners leverage websites, online tools and other technology to manage various aspects of their business, from finances and marketing to sales and everyday organization. Come learn how technology can help your business thrive.
Presented by Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Hosted by Anew America and the City of Oakland
Presented in English with Spanish interpretation

Wednesday, May 8, 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.
Meet the Funders

Mills College, Lorry I. Lokey School of Business and Public Policy, Gathering Hall, 5000 MacArthur Boulevard, Oakland CA 94613
Meet the Funders will be an excellent opportunity to explore sources of capital to support existing businesses and startups. Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to network individually with a multitude of funders and lenders as well as other financial institutions. There will also be a panel discussion with key lenders for all levels of financing including micro-lending, crowdfunding and venture capital.
Presented by Main Street Launch, Working Solutions, KIVA and Pacific Community Ventures
Hosted by the Alliance for Community Development, Lorry I. Lokey School of Business and Public Policy and the City of Oakland

Thursday, May 9, 2:00 to 4:30 p.m.
Design Your Own Business Model

West Oakland Senior Center, 1724 Adeline Street, Oakland CA 94607
A business model describes how your business creates, delivers and captures value. Before entrepreneurs can create a business plan and financial forecast, they need to understand their business model. The business model canvas is a great tool for developing new or documenting existing business models. It is a visual chart with elements describing your business model and assists in aligning activities. In this interactive workshop, we will discuss the different elements of a business model and you will develop your business model canvas.
Presented by Rani Langer-Croager, Uptima Business Boot Camp
Hosted by Uptima Business Boot Camp and the City of Oakland

Thursday, May 9, 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Cyber Security for Small Business Owners

Fruitvale Senior Center, 3301 E. 12th Street, Oakland CA 94601
Cybercrime continues to increase its impact not only on individuals but also on small business owners. Businesses are becoming more aware of the risks that cybercrimes can have for their brand, their liability and their bottom line. This workshop will help small business owners to understand their liability, but also learn ways how they can better guard their business from the risk of cyber-attacks. Come learn how to protect yourself, your clients and your business.
Presented by Lucy Kryuchkova, Finance for Humans
Hosted by Anew America Women’s Business Center, Oakland and the City of Oakland
Presented in English with Spanish interpretation

Thursday, May 9, 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Women Mentoring Women: Connect-Learn-Inspire

Fruitvale Senior Center, 3301 E. 12th Street, Oakland CA 94601
The “Women Mentoring Women” workshop is being presented in celebration of the contributions women entrepreneurs and women business owners make to the economic vitality of their communities. This workshop is designed to have women entrepreneurs share their dreams, fears and expectations as they venture into creating a business idea and then take the steps to make their business a reality. During the workshop, women business owners will share their stories and their insights with budding entrepreneurs. This is an exceptional opportunity to learn, share and network with fellow women entrepreneurs. All are welcome.
Presented by Anew America Women’s Business Center, Oakland
Hosted by Anew America Women’s Business Center, Oakland and the City of Oakland
Presented in English with Spanish interpretation

Small Business Celebrations
While the main focus of Small Business Week remains educational, there are three free events celebrating small businesses.

On Monday, May 6, the City of Oakland will celebrate family-owned legacy businesses at a reception in City Hall at 4:30 p.m. followed by an awards ceremony at 5 p.m. in Council Chamber. At the Oakland Family Legacy Business Awards, five family-owned business that have operated in Oakland for over 25 years will receive a plaque from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Combined, these companies have more than 325 years of business experience. They have persevered while being leaders in their industries and contributing positively to the community. The honorees are:

  • Bonanza (55 years)
  • La Estrellita Café (50 years)
  • Lake Merritt Optometry (50 years)
  • Ratto’s International Market & Deli (122 years)
  • Thompson’s Funeral Home (50 years)

On Tuesday, May 7, a Resolution before the Oakland City Council will recognize May 5 to 11, 2019, as Oakland Small Business Week. During the meeting, each Councilmember will honor an Oakland small business from their respective district and Mayor Libby Schaaf will also honor a small business. The ceremonial portion of the City Council agenda begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza.

On Wednesday, May 8, Oakland’s five chambers of commerce are hosting the Oakland Multi-Cultural Chambers’ Members of the Year Awards Reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Le Cheval, 1007 Clay Street. The reception hosts and their honorees are:

  • Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce honoring Jain Williams - State Farm Insurance Agent
  • Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce honoring Sincere Home Decor
  • Oakland Latino Chamber of Commerce honoring CAÑA Cuban Parlor & Cafe
  • Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce honoring Take Wing Coaching
  • Oakland Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce honoring Da Nang Quan Vietnamese Cuisine

Attendees will enjoy refreshments, network with others and enter a raffle drawing during this reception celebrating the vibrant diversity of Oakland’s small business community.

All event locations are wheelchair accessible. To request an ASL, Cantonese, Mandarin or Spanish interpreter or other assistance to participate, please email or call (510) 238-4727 or 711 (for relay service) five days in advance.

Business owners interested in accessing the City’s business support services year-round should contact the Oakland Business Assistance Center at (510) 238-7952 or visit

Through a series of easy-to-answer questions, entrepreneurs and business owners researching business locations can find out whether their business venture is allowable at a particular location, what types of business permits are required and how much the related fees will be by using two online City apps at

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