By Jaivon Grant, l California Black Media l January 14, 2023
Black and other minority-owned small businesses in California have actively fought for decades for more inclusion in California state government contracting opportunities.
Their hard work and patience paid off in September last year, when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 2019 into law.
Authored by Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine), the law took effect on Jan. 1. It mandates that state departments and agencies commit to providing at least 25% of all procurement opportunities to small businesses. Additionally, the bill requires state departments and agencies ensure that minority-owned and women-owned businesses are included in the procurement process, when contracting opportunities are available.
“California has invested billions of dollars to help small businesses and entrepreneurs achieve their California Dream,” said Newsom when signing the bill September 2022. “These new laws build on our efforts to create a more inclusive economy with renewed opportunity for innovation and growth for the country’s largest small business community. I’m thankful for the Legislature’s leadership and support to help the backbone of our economy thrive.”
Newsom signed AB 2019 after it passed in the Assembly unanimously with a 74-0 vote and it passed in the Senate 34-0.
Small businesses employ nearly 7.2 million workers (or 48.8% of all employees in California).
According to AB 2019, more than 39% of California’s 4.1 million small businesses (1.6 million) are minority owned. The bill is projected to have a significant positive impact on the overall economic stability of the state by enhancing state agencies’ ability to support underserved businesses in state contracting and encouraging entrepreneurship.
“Billions of dollars are at stake in our state contracting process and when we make it fair for diverse entrepreneurs, the success of these small businessowners lift up communities all across our state,” said Petrie-Norris, who is Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. “This bill will not only keep the state accountable, but it would give businesses that face systemic barriers an opportunity to succeed, keep families fed, create jobs and vitalize their communities.”
A coalition of minority-owned business advocacy organizations recently produced and released a video emphasizing some of the benefits of working with the state government.
“There are a lot of times where you’re questioning ‘am I going to have enough work for my small company,’” minority business owner Gary Efhan, CEO of Qualis Telecom stated in the video. “Without support, it’s pretty hard, and I’ve seen a lot of people go out of business.”
“Supporting us — and being in our communities –that will make a huge difference for sure,” Efhan added.
In the same video, CalAsian Chamber of Commerce President Pat Fong expressed that are many barriers to full participation for small businesses in California.
“Part of our goal with AB 2019 is to come up with an infrastructure that makes sense for small businesses,” Fong said. “There’s an understanding about what types of opportunities are available that are easy to access. How do we better connect California’s diverse businesses to those opportunities? I think that’s the challenge but also the opportunity.”
The California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce represents more than 815,000 Latino-owned business in California — organizations that, in aggregate, contribute more than 7% to the United States’ GDP, the organization says.
“As proud co-sponsors of AB 2019, we are thankful that the bill is now signed by the Governor,” said Julian Canete, President of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. “There are numerous and diverse small businesses who can provide services and products to the State and this bill ensures they at least have a fighting chance to be awarded a contract. Thank you to Assemblymember Petrie-Norris for her work on this bill.”
The bill has garnered strong support from the California Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Majority, the California African American Chamber of Commerce, the California State Controller, California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Women Business Owners.
This California Black Media report was supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library.
Cal Black Chamber of Commerce’s Biz Summit 2022 Offers Opportunities to Bid on Contracts
Antonio Ray Harvey | California Black Media | September 19, 2022
The California Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation Inc. (CALBCCF) is offering “game-changing opportunities” for mini micro, micro, and small business proprietors of the state at the Economic Business and Roundtable Statewide Summit 2022.
Under the theme, “Pitch Your Business,” the summit is scheduled to be held in Sacramento on Friday, Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Embassy Suites Sacramento Riverfront Promenade.
Jay King, the president and Chief Executive Office of CALBCC, said the Economic Summit provides a different outlook and “a bold new journey into the ecosystem of business and how it’s effectively done.”
Startups or established businesses attending the summit will be able to present their services to potential clients on the spot or set up a bidding process in the near future. Interested individuals will be able to explore employment opportunities at the two-day event.
“This is not the same format that it has been in the past,” King told California Black Media. “We’ve been working with California Transportation (Caltrans) and DGS (California Department of General Services), to identify contracts that smaller firms can bid for and win if not at the summit days afterward. We will have workshops but all of them are interactive.”
A workshop on how to pitch a bid will be held on the first day of the summit. The pitch presentation is scheduled to be done in front of a panel of corporate judges with the hope of winning investment capital.
The next day, the participants will pitch their business concept with a chance to land $50,000 in capital. Two second-place winners will receive $25,000 each, and 10 functional businesses each have a chance at $10,000 in cash prizes.
“We are only awarding businesses in the state that have done all the hard work. It’s difficult running a small business,” King said. “Because small businesses are macro (a business that makes less than $100,000 per year) or mini macro (less than $35,000 per year), especially in the Black sector, it’s extremely difficult. About 96% of the African American businesses fit that description.”
The Economic Summit will feature Black chambers of commerce from across the state, including operations from Los Angeles, Fresno, Bakersfield, San Francisco, Oakland, and San Diego.
Wells Fargo, Lyft, UC Davis Health, the city of Sacramento, the Department of General Services, and the Black Small Business Association are Economic Summit sponsors.
The Economic Summit was created to bring “change makers” together with minority-owned businesses with a mission to create meaningful economic opportunities to increase spending with small businesses and strengthen the conversation of small business diversity, equity, and inclusion, King said.
The Summit is also set up to assist interested homebuyers. King said attendees will have a chance to see if they qualify for a home loan.
The summit will feature guest speakers Chris Horton, National Black Entrepreneur Project, Ann Tompkins, Director of Professional Services at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis); and Mike Condrin, Chief Operation Officer at UC Davis.
The California Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Inc. was created as a public charity dedicated to education, training, community growth, and youth entrepreneurial development. Its mission starts with educating local and state-wide communities about the importance of financial literacy.
“We believe in diversity, equity, and inclusion,” King said. “We are not excluding any business sector, racial groups, or White, Asian, Latinos business chambers. We know that they have the same challenges. We (CALBCC) are putting on display (an Economic Summit) that we would like to see from other chambers and entities across the state when we talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion. This means everybody to us.”
For more information about the Economic Business Summit, registration, and hotel accommodations, contact Angela Lowe of the California Black Chamber of Commerce at (916) 467-8878 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org.