Small Business Grants: February 2023

It's no secret that small business owners face many challenges, and new ones each year. To help businesses get the financial support they need, we've compiled a list of 5 grants that are currently accepting applications.
*Last updated: February 8, 2023

1. Fresh Start Business Grant

Incfile is supporting aspiring entrepreneurs to start or grow their business. One adult entrepreneur will receive $2,500 to put toward business startup costs and will also receive free formation services from Incfile. The deadline to apply is March 31, 2023. Click here for more information.

2. Young Entrepreneur Scholarship Grant

One student with an entrepreneurial spirit will receive $2,500 to continue their education and inspire their entrepreneurship. Deadline to apply is March 31, 2023. Click here for more information.

3. Employability Business Grant

Small or medium-sized businesses in California can apply! Grants are $20,000-$200,000 depending on availability of funding and potential impact of hiring individuals with disabilities. ​The deadline is December 31, 2023, depending on funding availability. Click here for more information.

4. California Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grants

This grant is administered by CalOSBA and provides competitive micro grants of $2,500 to eligible microbusinesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Find your county contact using the link below. Application deadlines may vary. To find your count contact, click here.

5. California Paid Family Small Business Grant

This grant provides funds for California small businesses to offset the costs incurred when training employees to cover the duties of an individual utilizing Paid Family Leave. Amounts are $1,000-$2,000 based on number of employees. Click here for more information.


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What to Know During Data Privacy Week

January 22-28 is Data Privacy Week! This week was created to increase awareness about privacy protection and to spread useful information every tech user should know. Keep reading to learn why data privacy is so important, and how you can help your communities and small businesses be prepared.

How does data privacy affect small businesses?

The most significant risk of not securing your business's or company's data is losing credibility among your clients and customers. Even if a data breach occurs and doesn't impact a specific customer, there is still the possibility that they will have less trust in your organization. It is critical to protect your customers' sensitive information in order to provide a sense of comfort and confidence in your business. Businesses are ethically, morally, and legally obligated to protect consumer information.

You can view this Small Business Guide to Data Protection to learn more, or search for additional resources.

Digital barriers impact AAPI communities.

In California during the fall of 2020, 26% of K–12 students and almost 40% of low-income students reported they still did not have access to reliable internet, according to a Public Policy Institute of California Statewide Survey. Racial and ethnic gaps also exist in the digital divide, with Asian households being 7.6 percentage points less likely than white households to report having internet access.

There is another element to the challenge of connecting AAPI communities with digital skills. Although efforts exist to cultivate digital literacy among AAPI populations, approximately 34% of these individuals have limited English proficiency (LEP). According to data from Asian Americans Advancing Justice in 2015, only 56% of San Francisco Chinatown residents had internet access in their homes. In contrast, the San Francisco city-wide average was 88%.

Income plays a role in the digital divide.

Digital divide indicators like limited English proficiency and income suggest that AAPI communities across the U.S. may be struggling to gain internet access or expand their digital literacy. Pew Research Center reported that 44% of adults with household incomes less than $30,000 do not have broadband. Within the same studies, it is suggested that 12 out of 19 Asian origin groups show poverty rates as high as the U.S. average. Naturally, cost plays a crucial role in gaining internet connectivity, and the poverty rates among the AAPI community likely tie directly to the challenge of gaining internet access in many cases.

Links to learn more:
The First National Strategy to Uplift AA and NHPI communities
How Internet Connectivity Play a Role in Election Season
AT&T is Bridging the Digital Divide for AAPIs

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3 New Laws Small Businesses in California Should Know

A new year means new laws will go into effect across California. Small business owners need to be prepared for these changes and know what to expect. Here are just three of the new state laws:

State Senate Bill 561

California continues to look for new solutions for housing Californians. One of the latest is SB 561 (Affordable Housing), which requires an audit of all surplus state property to determine what land might be suitable for future housing construction.

The building of more affordable housing, based on locations, will impact small businesses and their local economy.

State Senate Bill 717

SB 717, also referred to as the Broadband Access Point Investment Acceleration Study Act of 2022, will create a blueprint for deploying broadband and expanded wireless access throughout California to provide improved connectivity for low-income and underserved communities.

This can benefit small business owners who now almost always need Internet access for digital bookkeeping, online sales, and more.

New State Holidays

Governor Newsom signed three new state holidays into law in September: Genocide Remembrance Day (April 24), Juneteenth (June 19), and Lunar New Year (on the second or third new moon following the winter solstice). In addition, Native American Day was made a judicial holiday (fourth Friday of September).

These new state holidays recognize our state's history, and celebrate the diversity and cultural richness of California.

Read about more new laws:
CapRadio: 10 New California Laws that Go Into Effect in 2023
Los Angeles Times: How Will California's New Laws Affect You?
CalMatters: The Most Interesting New Laws in California
New York Times: These New California Laws are Taking Effect in 2023


Reflections from CalAsian's Past Board Chair

California is home to an impressive network of statewide leaders who advocate for our diverse business communities. At the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, we are proud to have several of those voices on our board to provide perspective and advice.

We chatted with our Past Board Chair Kathy McKim, the Senior Vice-President of Hawksbill Group, to hear her career insight and hopes for the new year. Kathy reflected on her time serving as Board Chair as she passes the role on to John Gutierrez, the Senior Director of Government Affairs at Comcast Cable Corporation. Read Kathy's Q&A below.

Q: What were some of your highlights and successes during your time as CalAsian's Board Chair?

A: It has been an honor to serve as Board Chair of the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce for three years and to be on the board for more than 10 years. Key highlights for me as Board Chair include the exceptional response and technical support that CalAsian provided to our minority-owned small businesses during and following the pandemic, which helped support a faster economic recovery in California. In addition, I am proud of our work in promoting equity in all areas, including the passage of AB 2019, Equity in State Procurement, our leadership statewide through the Equity in Energy initiative, and the growth of the CalAsian Foundation building the next generation of AAPI leaders across the state.

Q: How do you hope to see California change and progress in the next few years? 

A: California’s economy is diverse, with significant contributions from industries such as technology, entertainment, agriculture, and manufacturing. Its economy is also larger than that of many countries due to its large population and high per-capita income.

I hope to see California continue to lead the country in growing a statewide economy that is inclusive and representative of all Californians. I also want to continue to see progress in equity and opportunity in education across the state, including closing the digital divide through the deployment and adoption of broadband for all. The CalAsian Chamber will continue to lead the way in all areas related to equity.

Q: What is some key advice that has helped you throughout your career? 

A: I believe in the value of authentic leadership and staying true to your values and beliefs. Authentic leadership emphasizes honesty and transparency, which inspires trust and teamwork. Communication is also key, supporting a shared vision and aligned goals. This advice to be my own authentic self as a leader has helped me succeed and inspire others to succeed as well. This quote by Lao Tzu is very meaningful: “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in their leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.”

Q: As you leave your role as Board Chair, what are you looking forward to next? 

A: As I leave the CalAsian Chamber Board of Directors Chair role, I will remain on the board and move forward in my consulting practice as Senior Vice-President at the Hawksbill Group. I will continue to serve as a Commissioner on the California Volunteers Commission, Chair the Teach for America California Capital Valley Board, and support California Women Lead as a board member. I am excited to also transition into the Board Chair of the Sacramento Region Community Foundation. This organization is focused on growing philanthropy in the region, building nonprofit capacity and ensuring all efforts are rooted in and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The CalAsian Foundation is partnering with the Sacramento Region Community Foundation as we work together to strengthen our state and grow philanthropy and leadership in all our communities.

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It's National Write to Congress Day! Here's What You Can Do


January 3 is National Write to Congress Day! This day occurs each year as a reminder to use your voice and connect with your representative. Small business owners can use this opportunity to reach out to their elected representatives regarding any bills or legislation that might affect them. Keep reading to learn more.

History of National Write to Congress Day

Each year, the Constitution provides a set time for the new Congress to convene, which is 12:00 p.m. on January 3, except when the previous Congress designated a different day by law. National Write to Congress Day is set on this day to coincide with the constitutional opening day of each new Congress. This holiday encourages citizens to connect with their representatives and fulfill their duty to hold their elected officials accountable.

How to Get in Touch

Click the below links to get in touch with your representatives!

California Legislative Information

Federal Congresspersons:
- Find my Representative
- Directory of Representatives
- Find my Senator

State Congresspersons
- Find your California Representative

To get more involved in public policy efforts led by the CalAsian Chamber, you can learn more HERE, or subscribe to our policy newsletter HERE.

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