California is ‘hooking up’ small businesses

Free E-Commerce, online marketing help

Quinci LeGardye California Black Media | 7/16/2020, midnight
Gov. Gavin Newsom says he wants to help small businesses. Combined, they are a..

Gov. Gavin Newsom says he wants to help small businesses. Combined, they are a major economic engine in the state. He wants them to get online quicker and expand their markets to reach new customers in cyberspace. This is as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hammer their bottom lines and change the way we shop.

To that end, the governor declared July 2020 “California for All Small Business Month” in a proclamation issued July 8.

“With local businesses across the state working to meet unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 crisis, California for All Small Business Month is an important time to recognize their essential contributions to our state, and each do our part to help California’s diverse small businesses recover and thrive,” reads the proclamation.

African-American business owners and advocates across the state are optimistic. The much-needed assistance Gov. Newsom has announced in a time of crisis, they say, will enable them to remain competitive in a rapidly changing global marketplace.

“Ninety-five percent of the world customers are outside of the United States. As small businesses learn to pivot as a result of the Covid pandemic, it is imperative that they have the online presence and access to capital to reach those potential clients,” said Gene Hale, president of the Greater Los Angeles African-American Chamber of Commerce (GLAAACC). “Supporting local businesses will help stimulate those communities and invigorate job growth.”

The Small Business Month proclamation coincided with the start of “Calling All Californians: #ShopSafeShopLocal,” a new campaign the governor’s office is leading.

The #ShopSafeShopLocal campaign encourages shoppers in California to help small businesses operate safely during the pandemic. It also provides small business owners with resources to help them improve their online presence, including free website development and digital marketing.

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development has partnered with leading tech companies in the state, including Google, eBay, Square and Yelp, to provide services to small businesses, including free online advertising, free websites, and COVID-19 relief. They will also connect California businesses with under 750 employees to shipping companies that can help them set up e-commerce deliveries.

“Local has taken on a new meaning and California’s beloved small businesses need our help now more than ever,” said Isabel Guzman, co-chair of the Small Business Subcommittee and Director of the state’s Office of the Small Business Advocate, in an OpEd she co-authored with Sarah Friar, who is co-chair of the Small Business Subcommittee and CEO of San Francisco-based Nextdoor. The Press Enterprise, a Riverside County media outlet, published their statement.

Nextdoor is a San Francisco-based company that provides a hyper-local social networking platform to connect people with each other and to businesses and resources in their community.

“Supporting nearby stores, business owners, and local employees, as they modify operations to slow the spread of COVID-19, is an essential commitment to our community,” Guzman and Friar wrote.

In addition to resources from business partners, the campaign’s website includes links to state and county industry guidance, free business consulting, and the California Manufacturers and Technology Association’s personal protective equipment (PPE) marketplace. The online portal links California businesses with COVID-19 safety equipment.