California Office of the Small Business Advocate

Small Business, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship

The California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) within the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development supports economic growth and innovation and ensures that ALL California small businesses and innovative startups have the information and direct support they need to better navigate resources, programs and regulations. CalOSBA serves as the voice of small businesses, representing their views and interests across the state and advocating for equitable access to capital, markets, and networks so that all California small businesses successfully start, manage, grow and become more resilient.

Meet the Team

Tara-Lynn-GrayTara Lynn Gray Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA)

Tara Lynn Gray was sworn in on April 26, 2021, as the 5th Director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate. She serves as the voice for California’s 4.2 million small businesses in the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

Under Director Gray’s leadership, the California Office of the Small Business Advocate focuses on helping to bring about Governor Newsom’s California for All vision through further development of the state’s small business ecosystem and by ensuring that questions about equity and inclusion are the starting point for all of the state’s small business programs.

Gray’s first model of economic development was learned in her grandmother’s beauty shop. Her grandmother instinctively understood that her patrons needed credit as well as beauty services and she let them pay after services were rendered. This way, she kept the money circulating in the Black community and built a community of trust. She also imbued her granddaughter with her sense of compassion and indelible determination.

Running her own business for two decades, working with two small business development centers, and running a business association and a foundation has given Director Gray the requisite experience and expertise to advocate for small businesses.

Immediately prior to her appointment by Governor Newsom, Director Gray led the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce (FMBCC) and Chamber Foundation (FMBCF) as CEO. In her adopted city of Fresno, Director Gray engaged, educated, and empowered small businesses across California’s Central Valley. At the same time, she became deeply engaged in community service, leading the initiative “Betting Big on Small Businesses Owned by Women and People of Color” on behalf of the DRIVE Investment Plan, with the goal of increasing economic mobility for entrepreneurs in disinvested neighborhoods.

Closing opportunity gaps, the role of women and BIPOC business leaders, and diversity in procurement opportunities are recurrent themes in her advocacy work. She has also led green economy initiatives, employment & training programs, and working to advance electric vehicle ownership.

Office of Small Business Advocate


Michelle Radmand

Deputy Director

Tonia Burgess

Tonia Burgess

Direct Support Supervisor, Outreach and Engagement


Clair Whitmer

Northern California Regional Advisor

Cassie Fortes

Cassie Fortes

Special Grants Program Manager

Chris Earl

Chris Earl

Southern California Regional Advisor


Jean Coleman

Program Manager


William (Bob) Adams

Central CA Small Business Local Engagement Specialist


Joy Nordby

Small Business Program Analyst

Jermaine Carter-Gibson

Jermaine Carter-Gibson

Northern CA Small Business Local Engagement Specialist

Linda Quinones-Vaughan

Linda Quinones-Vaughan

Central California Regional Advisor

Amber Tarrac

Amber Tarrac

Southern CA Small Business Local Engagement Specialist


Amber Butler

Small Business Marketing Analyst

Lauryn Gardner

Lauryn Gardner

Small Business Analyst

fatima mcalister

Fatima McAlister

Executive Assistant to the Director

Justin McCoy

Justin McCoy

Information Officer I (Specialist)

Sara Curtis

Sara Curtis

Executive Project Manager

Click here to learn more about CalOSBA's history
Jan 2012 Office Established
June 2018

California Small Business Development Technical Assistance Expansion Act of 2018 Established

This program expanded small business services, such as free or low-cost one-on-one consulting and low-cost training, and focused on underserved business groups, including women, people of color, veterans and low-wealth, rural, and disaster impacted communities.

May 2019

Entrepreneurship Task Force Established

Serves as a bridge to SMBs to help California maintain its entrepreneurial and innovation leadership.

Dec 2019

Entrepreneurship Task Force Launched Listening Tour

Four listening sessions were held in Chatsworth, Fontana, Los Angeles, and Stockton to discuss barriers in capital access, procurement, and the global marketplace.

Mar 2020

Entrepreneurship Task Force Launched COVID-19 Rapid Response Webinars

Webinar sessions to help small businesses pivot and become resilient during COVID-19.

July 2020

Calling ALL Californians: #ShopSafeShopLocal Initiative Launched

Shop Safe Shop Local initiative was designed to help small businesses get digital, access e-commerce tools, learn more about industry guidance, locate small business centers near you, and access PPE.

Oct 2020

Get Digital CA! Initiative Launched

Get Digital CA! is an e-commerce initiative to promote accelerators and intensive trainings to build the skills necessary to compete in an online marketplace and drive Californians to support small businesses through online festivals.

Dec 2020

California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Launched

The California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program provides competitive micro grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to eligible small businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 and the related health and safety restrictions

March 2021

Nonprofit Cultural Institutions Grant Program Launched

The Nonprofit Cultural Institutions Grant Programs was established to provide COVID-19 relief grants to eligible nonprofit cultural institutions in order to support their continued operation.

Apr 2021

Source Diverse Source Local Initiative Launched

This public-private partnership was developed to strengthen an inclusive procurement process and resilient California-based supply chain.

Sep 2021

CalOSBA Releases New Small Business Portal

The new connects California’s small business community with critical resources available through the state-funded small business technical assistance program and other state resources.

Oct 2021

California Venues Grant Program Launched

The California Venues Grant Program was established to support eligible independent live event venues adversely impacted by COVID-19 to support their continued operation.

Oct 2021

California Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grant Program (MBCRG) Opens Applications to County Grantmakers

The MBCRG Program provides approximately fifty million dollars ($50,000,000) in one-time grant funding to California’s micro-businesses to be administered at the county level.

Feb 2022

California Dream Fund Program Launched

The California Dream Fund Program is a one-time grant program to provide microgrants and seed capital to small businesses and entrepreneurs who complete a comprehensive training curriculum conducted by select Technical Assistance Expansion Program (TAEP) network centers.

Apr 2022

CalOSBA Announced the 2022 Designees of the Inclusive Innovation Hubs (iHub2)

The Accelerate California Innovation Hubs program focus is on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The program will accelerate technology and science-based firms in key industry areas with a strong outreach focus on diverse founders, including women and, people of color, and underserved geographies and regions.

May 2022

2022 Entrepreneurship & Economic Mobility Task Force (EEMTF) Formed

The Task Force was formed to propel inclusive entrepreneurship and to ensure that all California small businesses have access to the resources they need to startup, grow and scale.

Sign up to receive the CalOSBA newsletter and stay up to date on CA small business initiatives!

OSBA MC form

I am most interested in hearing about:

If you previously signed up for our mailing list, re-select ALL topics that you are interested in.
MailChimp group

California Office of the Small Business Advocate
1325 J Street, Suite 1800

Sacramento, CA 95814
Email CalOSBA
About Us
Stay Informed! Sign Up:
Outsmart Disaster