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Elisabeth Handler, Public Information Manager
Office of Economic Development
SAN JOSE, Calif. (April 1, 2021) - The U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) recently announced approval of the City of San José's grant application for the City's Small Business and Manufacturing Recovery Initiative. To be managed by the Office of Economic Development, the $1.17 Million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance will allow us to provide more support to our small businesses and manufacturers in underserved areas hit hardest by the pandemic.
We will be leveraging this Federal investment and our partnerships with the San José Downtown Association and Manufacture San José, which combined is close to $1.2M over two years, to build a stronger small business climate for a resilient business ecosystem that has been severely stressed during COVID-19.
The grant will provide the following support activities:
- Outreach and workforce support to our manufacturing sector through nonprofit Manufacture: San José. Manufacturing is the city's largest job sector and was hit hard by COVID-19, with more than 10,000 jobs lost regionally through the end of 2020. Manufacture: San José will aid this industry's recovery and connect disadvantaged communities and displaced workers with opportunities for economic advancement through good-paying manufacturing jobs in San José.
- Funding for technical assistance providers to help businesses and business networks in hard-hit commercial neighborhoods. This funding will allow us to "scale up" emerging neighborhood business associations and provide assistance on topics such as access to capital, business transformation, safe operations, digital marketing, etc.
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- Mentorship to emerging business organizations and enhanced downtown business outreach through a partnership with the SJDA. Through this work, SJDA will provide support to existing and emerging business groups so that they can better serve their communities, now and long after the pandemic.
- A study on how small businesses can benefit from Opportunity Zones and support economic growth benefitting communities in low-income neighborhoods.
"OED hopes to grow this investment and attract additional resources and philanthropic capital to advance our work in a viable and sustainable Small Business Support program," said Nanci Klein, Director of Economic Development for the City of San José. "During this year of pandemic, we have strengthened and deepened our relationships with the non-profit organizations and essential technical assistance providers in San José and beyond, and we are excited to be able to help fund and guide the essential support they provide to our city's businesses."
Technical Assistance Providers will be selected for funding through a competitive bid process to provide trainings and assistance in subject matter areas that could include the following:
- Capital Access - Assisting businesses gain access to capital by selecting the right loans or grants, identifying appropriate lenders, and preparing documents.
- Business Re-Invention - Guide businesses in adjusting their business models to take advantage of new opportunities and pivot away from operations that may be less marketable post COVID-19.
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- Real Estate Assistance - Renegotiating leases, identifying new space, understanding tenant – landlord obligations.
- Business Planning - Training on developing or revising business plans.
- Financial Stability - Strategies for building strong revenue and reserves for resilience in this or future crises.
- Ecommerce Development - Support for pivoting from in-person to online operations; training in online sales platform options, order fulfillment, and distance-based service delivery.
- Employee Ownership - Consultant assistance for businesses to explore transition to an employee ownership model to help companies survive.
- New Business Formation - Training on starting a business, obtaining seed funding, and finding space.
About the City of San José
With more than one million residents, San José is one of the most diverse large cities in the United States and is Northern California's largest city and the 10th largest city in the nation. San José's transformation into a global innovation center has resulted in one of the largest concentrations of technology companies and expertise in the world. In 2011, the City adopted Envision San José 2040, a long-term growth plan that sets forth a vision and a comprehensive road map to guide the City's anticipated growth through the year 2040.
About San José Office of Economic Development
The San José Office of Economic Development is committed to a vital, competitive San José economy that increases prosperity for people and businesses. OED guides the city's economic strategy, provides assistance for business success, connects employers with trained workers, and provides art and cultural resources to our community. For more information, go to http://www.sjeconomy.com.
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