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15 Ways To Compete
As Jack Welch famously said, "If you don't have a competitive advantage, don't compete".        And that competitive advantage is how you can differentiate your business in the eyes of your customers. To help you start thinking about this very important issue, here are 15 Ways To Rise Above The Competition that other entrepreneurs have used. Click below to view.                http://smallbiztrends.com

 
City of Oakland Minimum Wage Ordinance

This past November, Oakland citizens voted in favor of mesasure FF, a local ordinance increasing the Minimum Wage in Oakland to $12.25 per hour. The new minimum wage will begin on March 2, 2015 and then rise with the Regional Consumer Price Index beginning on January 1, 2016, and every year thereafter. Please click on the following links for full detailed decsription of the Minimum Wage Ordinance, the Paid Sick Leave, and the Service Charge descriptions, which are also available in Spanish and Cantonese. 

City Minimum Wage Media Release                                                                                                                                            
Oakland Minimum Wage Paid Sick Leave and Service Charge Notices

Oakland Minimum Wage Spanish 

Oakland Minimum Wage Notice Cantonese

Oakland Minimum Wage Notice Vietnamese

 
U.S. Small Business Administration

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New Year, New Business
Are you thinking about starting a business this year? It involves planning, making key financial decisions and completing a series of legal activities. The U.S. Small Business Administration has 10 steps that can help you plan, prepare and manage your business.  Click below to view as a webpage  http://content.govdelivery.com

 
Free Legal Clinic

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 Legal Services for Entrpreneurs presents: Free Legal Clinic at the Business Assistance Center
•    Can someone explain a contract or lease to me?
•    Should my business be an LLC, partnership, or S-corp?
•    Do I need a trademark? Copyright? Patent?
Find out the answers to these very important questions.
 Thursday, May 14, 2015 5pm-7pm
 270 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, 94612

Registration required: www.lccr.com/events.php (415)543-9444 ext. 217

 
City of Oakland's Kiva Zip Loan Program Now is the time to Apply

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During the month of May 2015, Oakland entrepreneurs, micro-enterprises and small businesses are highly encouraged to apply for the Kiva Zip Loan Program. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Kiva Zip are partnering together to provide more loans and expand financial opportunities for Bay Area entrepreneurs. This partnership means that the borrowers that the City of Oakland endorses will only have to raise half of the total loan amount from the crowd on the Kiva Zip website. LISC will provide a matching loan for the remaining amount. For micro-enterprises and small businesses, they can fundraise easier and faster, increasing the likelihood of executing a successful Kiva Zip campaign and securing the funding needed to grow their businesses.

Oakland is the first Kiva Zip City Trustee in the nation. To date, the city has successfully assisted thirteen (13) Oakland small businesses to receive Kiva Zip loans. Kiva Zip is an internet platform, launched by Kiva that enables individual lenders around the world to ‘crowd fund’ interest-free loans directly to small business owners, micro-enterprise borrowers with strong business plans but are not eligible for conventional lending. If selected, businesses can raise up to $5,000 and eventually be eligible for a $50,000 loan. As a Kiva Zip Trustee, the City of Oakland’s role is to review and endorse Oakland small businesses that we believe meet the Kiva Zip criteria and the City’s economic development goal of supporting entrepreneurship especially in East, Central and West Oakland. To find out more or to support a borrower please click the following link  https://zip.kiva.org/loans

If you have any questions or inquiries regarding the Kiva Zip Loan program please direct them to Aliza Gallo, Economic Development Manager, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , (510) 238-7405 or Juno Thomas Business Assistance Center Coordinator, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , (510) 238-4727.  

 

 

 
Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

ATTENTION: Small Business Owners
It is not too late to claim the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit!
As the March 15 corporation tax deadline approaches, it is important for small business owners to be aware of the various tax laws that can help with their businesses' bottom line.  Several tax laws are impacting small business tax returns this season and providing substantial savings, including the underutilized Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.To determine if your business or tax exempt organization qualifies for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, visit http://www.healthlawguideforbusiness.org consult with your tax preparer. More than 500,000 California employers may be eligible for this tax credit and yours may be one of them! 

 
Oakland Business is Green Business
Oakland is home to more than 130 certified Green Businesses, through the Bay Area Green Business Program.

Oakland Recycles is offering free technical assistance to Oakland businesses that are interested in becoming certified green businesses. To jump start the certification process, green business experts will be contacting Oakland businesses to introduce the Green Business Program and shepherd interested businesses through the certification process.

Distinguish your business in the marketplace as an environmental leader through the Green Business Program.

Interested in a free assessment? Need to know more? Contact Oakland Recycles at (510) 238-SAVE (7283) or email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Look us up on Facebook at Sustainable Oakland to keep up to date with the latest information from this project.
 
Take Your Business Global

    Small businesses seeking to grow their businesses and create jobs through exporting can turn to new, free educational videos created through a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration, Inc. Magazine and AT&T. Through the public-private partnership, a series of video modules has been developed to inspire and encourage American small businesses to actively pursue exporting and to educate them on how to do so.

     The video series, Take Your Business Global features five main topics that guide small businesses through the process of exporting:

  1. Getting Started in Exporting
  2. Planning for Export Success
  3. Connecting with Foreign Buyers
  4. Financing
  5. Five Case Studies of Successful Small Business Exporters
     The videos are posted at www.inc.com/exporting/.
 
Community Voices

As a small business person are you taking advantage of what Oakland offers. Click the link below to view a very informative article on the Business Assistance Center.

Oaklandlocal.com
 

 
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