Free East Bay Workshops for Small Businesses

Supervisor Keith Carson at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza in Berkeley.

More than 300 small business owners crowded into a ballroom at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza in Berkeley recently to learn from government officials and industry experts how to launch, grow and sustain a small business in the East Bay. “Nearly 70 percent of jobs in the East Bay are created by businesses of fewer than 100 employees,” said Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, Chair of the East Bay Economic Development Alliance (EDA). “Your businesses are the engine of the East Bay economy,” he told attendees. Carson was one of the speakers at the free event, “East Bay Small Business Symposium Learn, Grow and Move Your Business to the Next Level,” which is part of series organized by EDA staff to provide business growth tools, business-to-business networking and strategic resources. Participants, heard remarks by Elizabeth Echols, Regional Administrator, Region IX, U.S. Small Business Administration and Jim Horan, President and CEO of The One Page Business Plan Company. Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) addressed the group later in the morning. Participants attended breakout sessions for Startup Businesses, Young Businesses, Growth Businesses and Mature Businesses. Bankers, CPAs, attorneys and government officials offered professional advice and took questions.  Discussion in the Young Business room centered on accessing capital and navigating the SBA (Small Business Administration) loan process. Attendees in the Growth Business group discussed capital needs as well, but also delved into more advanced topics. “The event gave me some great nuggets of advice to help me support my business,” said Vernita Naylor, Founder/CEO of Jabez Enterprise Group, a company that provides government contracting and business development consulting and workshops. The event in Berkeley was the second in the series.  The first symposium took place in Antioch, the third is scheduled in Danville on Sept. 18, and the last will take place in southern Alameda County on Nov. 8. The symposiums are part of the East Bay Small Business Initiative, launched in partnership with Wells Fargo, Inner City Advisors and others. For information, visit
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