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Co-Creating the California Dream

CalOSBA Entrepreneurship & Economic Mobility Task Force Hosts Ideas Exchange with Entrepreneurs and Policy Makers

October 11, 2023 Indian Wells, CA

The California Office of Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) continuously strives to protect California’s leadership in innovation and entrepreneurial opportunities. The Entrepreneurship & Economic Mobility Task Force was formed to look at new ways to make this happen. By bringing entrepreneurs, small business owners, policy makers and other key stakeholders together at Entrepreneurship Reimagined – an ideas exchange and facilitated innovation lab – the Task Force and CalOSBA led participants through activities identifying ways to improve policies, programs and resources.

Entrepreneur Marie Vernon

Owner of All Hours Adult Care

“The room buzzed with energy as attendees exchanged ideas and forged connections, fueled by the shared belief in the potential of entrepreneurship to uplift communities and foster economic advancement. The best moment was not just a singular instance but a catalyst for a broader movement towards empowering individuals and fostering economic mobility through entrepreneurial endeavors.”

Entrepreneur Victoria Leon-Bianchi


“The whole experience was exciting and informative. I love when I’m learning about a different platform or a new landscape which opens doors for me mentally and in my everyday life I’m so grateful for that! As a business owner and as a constituent I’m so grateful! I hope to be invited back!”

Task Force Member Josaline Cuesta

Director of Outreach, Government Affairs and Policy at the Los Angeles EDC

Democratizing Access to Capital means that Capital shouldn’t be difficult to attain, and the financial landscape shouldn’t be difficult to understand. To Democratize, we need to do a better job of educating and providing a white glove/high touch approach. Lending requirements and documentation need to change.”

Task Force Member Jill Osur

President and CEO of Teneral Cellars

Diversifying the Innovation Economy means to me that all entrepreneurs, regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, social class/socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, (dis)abilities, and religion/religious beliefs, can see a path forward to the resources, support and funding necessary to build a successful business.”

Task Force Member Jason Paguio

President & CEO of the Asian Business Association San Diego

Driving Economic Mobility Through Entrepreneurship means providing resources to those who typically don’t get them so they can succeed in a system often designed for some…and not for all. It means providing those resources equitably, culturally, in-language, and intentionally.”

CalOSBA’s Program Portfolio to Help Entrepreneurs Thrive in California

Event participants learned about and made implementation recommendations on these four existing CalOSBA programs and policies.

ca rise feat
CA Rise logoCA RISE The California Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise marks the nation’s first statewide capital and capacity-building investment in employment social enterprises. In partnership with CalOSBA, REDF serves as program lead for this $25 million investment and will deliver customized technical assistance to businesses that employ, train, and support Californians overcoming barriers to employment. Task Force Member and REDF CEO Maria Kim shown here explaining how social enterprises help build our California workforce.
Accelerate California feat

accelerate CA logoAccelerate California The statewide network of 13 Accelerate California Inclusive Innovation Hubs catalyzes innovation ecosystems across the state. Each with a unique industry and regional focus, IHubs tap into California’s research and development institutions, angel and venture capital networks, local, and regional-level resources while intentionally and meaningfully embedding diversity and inclusion goals. Kory Hayden shown here representing the Siskiyou Aggcelerator, part of the Accelerate California network.

Hilary Abell

Employee Ownership Act Senate Bill 1407, the California Employee Ownership Act, makes California the second state to have a dedicated office of employee ownership, or a “hub”. The law focuses on helping established businesses transition to employee ownership. Programming will address both worker cooperatives and ESOPs, as well as other forms of broad-based employee ownership. Shown here is Employee Ownership advocate and Project Equity co-founder Hilary Abell who presented to explain the new law.

Danetta Jackson

Assembly Bill 2019 This new law mandates that all state agencies meet an annual goal of 25% small business participation for all state procurements. The small business liaison at each agency must work with CalOSBA to adopt outreach and education plans to communicate opportunities to small businesses, disabled veteran business enterprises, and minority-owned, women-owned, and LGBTQ-owned businesses. Shown here is Task Force Member and Chief of the Statewide Supplier Diversity Program Danetta Jackson explaining the importance of this law.

Charting California’s Path to Success

Entrepreneurs, small business owners, policy makers, key stakeholders joined CalOSBA and Task Force members in a facilitated innovation exercise. Using design-thinking techniques, the group created recommendations for maximizing the benefits of partnering with each business sector – Public, Private, and Nonprofit – to advance more inclusive entrepreneurship opportunities.

Entrepreneurship Reimagined collage
Entrepreneurship Reimagined collage
Entrepreneurship Reimagined collage

Thank you to our sponsors for making this event possible!

ica logo
teneral cellars logo
asian business association logo
amerivet logo
access plus capital logo
the greenlining institute logo
cameo logo
half moon bay brewing co logo
small business majority logo

Thanks to Every Single Participant


CalOSBA Director Tara Lynn Gray and Task Force Chair Lenny Mendonca: “Every moment of the event was memorable for me. I experience pure joy when I am seeing the possibilities and opportunities created for California’s small businesses and entrepreneurs,” summed up Director Gray.


Huge thanks to our event facilitators (left to right): Stacy Cumberbatch of Blended Impact, Randi Zeller of Community Reinvestment Fund, USA and Dave Smith of X Sector Labs.

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