Business Tools

Amber Grant for Women - Started in 1998, the Amber Grant awards $1000 yearly to a woman entrepreneur.

Bank of the West Small Business - Provides both business banking accounts and loans.

California Business Incentives Gateway - Lists grants and incentives for firms operating in California.

California Competes Tax Credit - The California Competes Tax Credit is an income tax credit available to businesses who want to come, stay, or grow in California. Tax credit agreements are negotiated by GO-Biz and approved by a statutorily created “California Competes Tax Credit Committee,” consisting of the State Treasurer, the Director of the Department of Finance, the Director of GO-Biz, and one appointee each by the Speaker of the Assembly and Senate Committee on Rules.

California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development - The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) was created by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. to serve as California’s single point of contact for economic development and job creation efforts. GO-Biz offers a range of services to business owners including: attraction, retention and expansion services, site selection, permit assistance, regulatory guidance, small business assistance, international trade development, assistance with state government, and much more.

California Small Business Assistance Center - Contains resources for hiring new employees, receiving tax deductions, marketing, state-wide economic data, and much more.

Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Program - Provides resources and benefits for organizations who are owned by and employ disabled veterans.

Export-Import Bank of the United States - Provides resources and financial support to firms who export goods outside of the United States

Eileen Fisher Woman-Owned Business Grant - The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant supports innovative, women-owned companies that are beyond the start-up phase and ready to expand their business and their potential for positive social and environmental impact

Employment Tax credits - list of programs providing tax incentives for firms who hire new workers.

Employment Training Panel - The Employment Training Panel (ETP) provides funding to employers to assist in upgrading the skills of their workers through training that leads to good paying, long-term jobs.

Energy Star Buildings and Plants - Provides many resources to help businesses save money by being more energy efficient.

Fundera list of 106 small business grants - List of grants for small businesses that cover a variety of industries and business structures.

Gold Standard for Permit Assistance - Assist business in finding appropriate permit information for your business. It also provides contact information for the various agencies that administer & issue these permits.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program - A program to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing greater access to education, capital and business support services. Connects small business owners with local capital and colleges while providing industry leading mentors.

Govloans subsidized small business loans - Database of government subsidized and sponsored loans for business.

Grants.gov - A catalog of grants nationwide.

Green Business Certification Program - The Monterey Bay Area Green Business Program is now part of a larger Statewide Network of Green Business Programs; with State sponsorship, but still locally run. Your Green Business will be listed on websites throughout the State of California.

HERO Program - In 2014, the Board of Supervisors approved the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) Program which offers Santa Cruz residents affordable energy efficient and water saving upgrades to their homes, with financing available through property tax bills.

Industrial Development Bonds - The California Enterprise Development Authority offers the Industrial Development Bond program to manufacturers. Eligible manufacturers can use the low cost bond proceeds to finance virtually all costs incurred by the company for investment in either tangible or intangible products.

Jails to Jobs Tax Incentive - Applies to Ex-felons hired no later than one year after conviction or release from prison. The WOTC can provide an employer up to $2,400 in tax relief for each qualifying hire. Employers can claim a tax credit on an unlimited number of qualifying new hires.

Lighthouse Bank Lending - Local bank that provides loans to businesses.

Manufacturing and Research Development Exemption - Beginning on July 1, 2014, manufacturers and certain research and developers may qualify for a partial exemption of sales and use tax on certain manufacturing and research and development equipment purchases and leases.

National Association for the Self-Employed - Provides resources, guides, and political advocacy for self-employed and small business owners.

New Employment Credit - The New Employment Credit (NEC) is available for each taxable year beginning on or after January 1, 2014, and before January 1, 2021, to a qualified taxpayer that hires a qualified full-time employee on or after January 1, 2014, and pays or incurs qualified wages attributable to work performed by the qualified full-time employee in a designated census tract or economic development area.

NIST Manufacturing Extension Project - The Manufacturing Extension Project National Network equips small and medium-sized manufacturers with the resources needed to grow and thrive. Industry experts work side-by-side with manufacturers to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, develop the next generation workforce, create new products, find new markets and much more.

National H.I.R.E. Network - Provides lists of incentives for employers who hire new employees from targeted demographic groups.

New Employment Credit - The New Employment Credit (NEC) is available for each taxable year beginning on or after January 1, 2014, and before January 1, 2021, to a qualified taxpayer that hires a qualified full-time employee on or after January 1, 2014, and pays or incurs qualified wages attributable to work performed by the qualified full-time employee in a designated census tract or economic development area, and that receives a tentative credit reservation for that qualified full-time employee. In order to be allowed a credit, the qualified taxpayer must have a net increase in full-time employees in California, determined on an annual full-time equivalent basis. These FAQs outline the requirements, credit computation, and how to claim the credit.

Opportunity Fund - Opportunity Fund specializes in making loans to businesses like yours whose needs don’t qualify for a traditional loan.

PG&E Electric Utility Rebates and Incentives - Business customers investing in facility equipment, new construction, and energy efficiency measures are eligible for a variety of loans, technical assistance programs, and rebates through regional electric utility providers.

Property and Business Improvement District - A Property and Business Improvement District (PBID) is a tool available to property and business owners to improve a downtown or other commercial area. It is a public-private partnership organized for the improvement of a specific geographic area. In California, PBIDs are formed pursuant to the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994. A PBID is a special benefit assessment district designed to raise funds within a specific geographic area. Funds may be raised through a special assessment on real property, businesses, or a combination of both, and are used to provide supplemental services beyond those provided by the County.

Recycling Market Development Zones - The Recycling Market Development Zone (RMDZ) program combines recycling with economic development to fuel new businesses, expand existing ones, create jobs, and divert waste from landfills. This program provides attractive loans, technical assistance, and free product marketing to businesses that use materials from the waste stream to manufacture their products and are located in a zone. The zones cover roughly 88,000 square miles of California from the Oregon border to San Diego. Assistance is provided by local zone administrators. Local government incentives may include relaxed building codes and zoning laws, streamlined local permit processes, reduced taxes and licensing, and increased and consistent secondary material feedstock supply. Local incentives vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In addition to loans, CalRecycle offers free product marketing through the RecycleStore.

Revenue Bonds for Nonprofits - The California Enterprise Development Authority (CEDA) is a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) that issues 501(c)(3) revenue bonds for the benefit of non-profit organizations to facilitate: land and building acquisition, building construction, and refinance of prior debt (used for eligible capital projects).

Santa Cruz Community Credit Union - provided business loans and financing.

Santa Cruz County Bank Business Lending - Local financial institution offering loans to firms in the area.

Santa Cruz County Tourism and Marketing District (Visit Santa Cruz) - The mission of Visit Santa Cruz County is to stimulate the economy by promoting Santa Cruz County as a visitor, conference and film destination through marketing programs including advertising, promotion and visitor services.

Santa Cruz Score - SCORE Business Mentors of Santa Cruz County provide free confidential mentoring to small businesses.

Santa Cruz Workforce Development Center - A partnership of local organizations serving job seekers and businesses.

Small Business Development Center - Free, confidential, and expert business consulting tailored to your needs.

Small Business Innovation Research Program - A grant through the Environmental Protection Agency to support small businesses developing environmental technology.

Small Business Loan Guarantee Program - The Small Business Finance Center (SBFC) partners with Financial Development Corporations to provide loan guarantees and direct loans for small businesses that experience capital access barriers. Has a Jump-Start Plan, a Small Business Guarantee Plan, and a Farm Loan Plan.

SmartHire Community Action Board - provides funding for employers who hire new employees from the Smart Hire program.

Statewide Community Infrastructure Program (SCIP) - SCIP is a financing program that enables developers to pay most impact fees and finance public improvements through an acquisition agreement that qualify under the 1913/1915 Act (excluding school fees) via tax-exempt bond issuance proceeds.

University of California, Santa Cruz Career Center, Employer Page - Connects business to graduates and students at the University of California, Santa Cruz through Job postings, career fairs, and other resources.

U.S. Small Business Administration - Offers several loan and grant programs to assist small businesses.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit - The WOTC promotes the hiring of individuals who qualify as members of target groups, by providing a federal tax credit incentive of up to $9,600 for employers who hire them.