The City of Oakland's Economic and Workforce Development Department has received the The Local Immigrant Integration and Inclusion Grant (LIIIG) of $275,000 from California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GoBiz), to build upon Oakland’s leadership in equitable economic development, and provide targeted support to Oakland’s micro-enterprise and small businesses, with a focus on immigrant and women owned businesses. EWDD has partnered with the Unity Council and Feed the Hunger Fund (“FTHF”) to provide culturally and linguistically competent business assistance and access to capital to ensure these businesses are established and successful. With this grant funding, EWDD, The Unity Council and FTHF are building upon existing programs and small business services, and establishing a specially targeted program for immigrant start-up businesses to build a more resilient and inclusive business community in Oakland.
This grant funded program is recruiting program participants, provide technical assistance including digital literacy instruction, individual coaching, translation services, and business development workshops. This program will also convene entrepreneurs for networking and peer-to-peer learning opportunities, access to capital via low interest loans, and host quarterly networking events for new immigrant entrepreneurs. Participating entrepreneurs will be able to prototype and test their products and services, develop their skills and grow their business through retail pop-ups at Oakland events with wrap-around assistance provided by program staff to coach vendors on licensing and permitting, merchandising, payment processing, marketing and customer feedback tracking. In the next year, the program will provide $50,000 in grants from Citi Foundation to mobile food vendors, in addition to $250,000 in low interest loan capital to qualified program participants.
This grant funds one fulltime Business Engagement Specialist at The Unity Council to work with the Spanish speaking and Mam population as well as a part time Senior Business Advisor to work with the Vietnamese speaking population. This program will leverage three other already existing positions, a Digital Literacy Instructor, a Business and Community Relations Manager and an Economic Development Manager.
This grant also funds one part-time Feed the Hunger Fund Business Support Loan Specialist and leverages existing highly skilled staff to conduct outreach, provide business training and Individual coaching session to program participants, and administer $160,000 in loan capital to qualified program participants. The program aims to build on the success of the Unity Council’s Small Business Development Center to reach and respond to a growing demand for coaching, technical assistance and support services for emerging businesses, a key strategy to build assets and wealth amongst communities with the least access to this type of support.