Press Release: CA’s Minority Entrepreneurs to Receive Millions in Investment Capital to Support State’s Move to a Low Carbon Future

August 9, 20234 Minutes

Electrify California Program” Funding Announcement Part of Historic Investment by Biden-Harris Administration to Help Disadvantaged Entrepreneurs

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. (August 9, 2023) — Minority entrepreneurs in California will soon have access to millions of dollars in U.S.-backed investment capital to support their growth in California’s low carbon economy thanks to a new business incubator and accelerator program run by the CalAsian Chamber in partnership with the Fresno Metro Black Chamber, and the Northern California Small Business Development Center.

The “Electrify California” Partnership, spearheaded by the CalAsian Chamber, was announced on August 4th as one of 43 national awardees to the new U.S. Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) Capital Readiness Program, a $125 million technical assistance program to help minority and other underserved entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses – the largest investment of its type in history.  Awardees will help entrepreneurs secure capital from the $10 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) and other capital sources.

“We are thrilled that the Biden-Harris Administration has selected the Electrify California business incubator and accelerator program as an effective way to help minority and disadvantaged small businesses gain entry to the massive market transition underway to a low carbon future,” said Pat Fong Kushida, President and CEO of the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce (CalAsian), who was in Washington, D.C., for the awards announcement with Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Department of Commerce officials.  “This federal program allows us to respond directly to what minority and underserved entrepreneurs tell us they need most –access to capital and critical networks as well as high-value technical support.”

“We are humbled and thrilled to partner with the CalAsian Chamber in its efforts to Electrify California,” said Dr. Cassandra Little, CEO of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber Commerce.  “We recognize that diversity and inclusion are integral to unlocking the full potential of sustainable energy solutions.  We aim to build an equitable, cleaner, and more vibrant future for our state and beyond through our Transform Fresno – Bizwerx Clean Shared Mobility Network EV Accelerator to reinforce our commitment to revolutionize California’s electric vehicle landscape.”

“We are extremely excited to work with CA Asian Chamber of Commerce and provide business loan advice to minority and underserved businesses focusing on connecting them to SSBCI lenders,” said Kristin Johnson, Executive Director of Norcal Small Business Development Centers (SBDC).

Electrify California is a fully integrated finance and technical assistance program providing both early-stage incubator services and emerging company accelerator services to socially and economically disadvantaged individual (SEDI) entrepreneurs, with plans to assist over 1,200 entrepreneurs over four years with credit and capital access combined with hands-on business support to enter and expand in low carbon economy growth industries.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 re-authorized the Department of Treasury’s SSBCI program to help revive entrepreneurship in America after the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.  SSBCI provides a combined $10 billion to empower small businesses to access capital, including credit and investment programs for existing small businesses and start-ups and technical assistance to small businesses applying for SSBCI funding and other government small business programs.

To learn more about the MBDA Capital Readiness Program, click here.

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