We recently hosted a webinar to launch and share findings from our Drivers for Economic Opportunity and Empowerment report, which was developed with support from the James Irvine Foundation. Below is a recap highlighting key takeaways and relevant resources.

California’s small businesses are an engine of economic opportunity, but many are struggling to create high-quality jobs post-pandemic. Both the report and our webinar explore the role that small businesses play in the creation of quality jobs for low-wage workers, identifies the gaps of California’s small business and workforce development efforts, and proposes a set of solutions to spur quality job creation and economic mobility for workers.

What We Covered:

  • Our research aimed to address these multi-faceted questions:
    • To what extent do small businesses in California create quality jobs for their owners and workers?
    • What are the needs and potential solutions for supporting small businesses—across the spectrum of stages, industries, and regional ecosystems—in offering quality jobs?
    • What gaps exist in the ecosystems providing business support and quality job creation for small businesses in California?
  • Small businesses are drivers of economic opportunity in California
    • 99% of all businesses in California are small businesses
    • 53% of CA’s private sector workforce is employed by small businesses
  • Small businesses are important levers for quality jobs for low-wage workers as pathways for entrepreneurs and drivers for job creation for workers throughout California, particularly in LMI and BIPOC communities
  • We believe that public policy reforms that will impact how small businesses register, operate and sell their products while also addressing crucial small business worker needs, such as 1) expanding access to diverse small business capital, 2) creating trusted avenues for business support to build management expertise, 3) increasing channels to access market opportunities, 4) connecting small businesses with local workforces, and 5) fostering targeted support for small businesses to spur quality job creation.

Highlights of What We Heard:

  • “Small businesses are engines of the state’s inclusive economic growth, particularly in communities of color and other historically underestimated communities.”
  • “(From this report), we believe we can build a more fair and just economy where all small businesses and workers in California have the opportunity to grow and thrive.”
  • Paraphrasing a quote from Dr. Cassadra Little – “We know that as a society each thread is integral to the strength and beauty of the tapestry we create together, yet some threads are stretched thin bearing the weight of systemic inequalities and economic disparities. We know that small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and often find themselves part of that stretched thread. The question for us is not just how we create opportunities but sustainable pathways.”

Resources & Reminders:

  • If you haven’t already, download the full report here
  • Watch the webinar above
  • Connect with The James Irvine Foundation here

Before you go, please kindly share your thoughts on the event here.