Item Coversheet
MEETING DATE:  3/22/2023Consent Calendar - Agreements  i.
TO:Honorable Mayor and City Council
FROM:Paul M. Saldana, Economic & Community Development Director
WARD:Ward(s) 1, 2, 3

Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Technical Assistance and Grant Program:

  1. Agreement with CSU Bakersfield Small Business Development Center and Division of Extended Education and Global Outreach ($94,411) for start-up and small business technical assistance.
  2. Agreement with Kern Community College District ($350,439) for start-up and small business technical assistance, subject to approval by KCCD Board. 
  3. Agreement with Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce ($55,150) for start-up and small business technical assistance.

Staff recommends approval of agreements.

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) into law to aggressively combat the Covid-19 pandemic and the corresponding economic crisis undermining the health and economic well-being of American workers. Within the ARPA, the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (“SLFRF”) provides $350 billion for states, municipalities, counties, tribes, and territories, including $130 billion for local governments split between municipalities and counties to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency or its negative economic impacts.


The City of Bakersfield received a direct allocation of ARPA funding to address the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic with programs focused on economic recovery and revitalization, particularly within disadvantaged communities. An allocation of the City’s ARPA budget will be used to fund the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Technical Assistance and Grant Program (“Program”), which will provide technical assistance and capital for entrepreneurs/start-up businesses and small businesses located within Qualifying Census Tracts (QCTs) eligible for ARPA funding. The Program’s allocated ARPA funding amount is $2 million, with $500,000 allotted for organizations providing business support services (“Providers”) to entrepreneurs/start-up businesses and small businesses.


The selected Providers, (1) California State University, Bakersfield, Small Business Development Center and California State University, Bakersfield, Division of Extended Education and Global Outreach (2) Kern Community College District, Bakersfield College’s Launchpad, and (3) Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce, stem from a review process of Provider proposals submitted from the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) posted on November 18, 2022 (attached).


Proposals were evaluated based on the merits of their proposed project readiness, compliance and consistency with ARPA requirements, organizational capacity to deliver the project, quality of business services and financial management, and compatibility of the Project’s vision and implementation standards to contribute to the larger entrepreneurship ecosystem.   The three selected Providers will support the Program and assist in fostering a more equitable entrepreneurship ecosystem for the City of Bakersfield. Each Provider has proposed a unique project that will deliver essential business services and technical assistance to assist entrepreneurs/start-up businesses and established small businesses looking to grow and expand.




(1) California State University, Bakersfield, Small Business Development Center and California State University, Bakersfield, Division of Extended Education and Global Outreach (“CSUB”)


Overview. CSUB requests $94,411 for a training and consultation program that will support the maintenance and economic growth of small businesses within QCTs, in the early stages of their existence with special emphasis on businesses in the food service industry and other minority and women-owned businesses. CSUB identifies that businesses in low-income areas have historically served minority communities and are often run by members of those communities and intends to provide those owners with the resources to engage best practices to streamline their operations and work efficiently. The program will be implemented in three stages from April 2023 through March 2024 and expects to assist 35-40 small businesses and other interested participants.


Workplan Highlights.

  • Producing a list of vetted small businesses with a few years in operation in qualified census tracts and enlisting these businesses in the proposed program.
  • Offer classroom-style training to business owners selected from the vetted list (offered face-to-face, hybrid, or virtually).
  • Providing a one-on-one consultation with business owners, who have completed classroom-style training, to improve their management practices and increase their profitability.
  • The program and consultation services, delivered by EEGO and SBDC will teach best practices in business management including financial management, human resources management, and legal standards.
  • Participants will complete the program with solid resources to advance their small businesses and quality guidance and resources to participate in the City’s Grant Program.


(2) Kern Community College District’s Bakersfield College Launchpad (“KCCD”)


Overview. KCCD requests $350,439 to expand its existing business training and consultation services offered by Bakersfield College’s Launchpad. Funds will support their Entrepreneurship Academy and consultant partners to provide specialized training to participating entrepreneurs, particularly within Bakersfield’s disadvantaged communities (QCT).  KCCD seeks to increase the number of new entrepreneurs and successful small business owners in Kern County by focusing on providing economic recovery and revitalization resources tailored to the needs of the participating entrepreneurs. KCCD will target minority entrepreneurs and small businesses including women-owned, Black-, Indigenous-, and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned, and LGBTQ-owned businesses who experience disparities in businesses ownership trends in the community. Consultant partners incorporating into their proposed program that will help target these audiences include Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce, Kern Inclusive Entrepreneurship Hub, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and TDH International. The 18-month program will be implemented from April 2023 through September 2024 and expects to assist 140 entrepreneurs, in addition to other interested participants.


Workplan Highlights.

  • Develop an outreach and engagement plan to enroll participants in the Bakersfield Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Technical Assistance Program.
  • Hire Adjunct Faculty / Professional Experts to support Entrepreneurship Academy. Deliver educational opportunities, supportive services, and foster collaborations with area entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses within Bakersfield’s disadvantaged communities (located within the targeted qualifying census tracts).
  • Participants will have access to the valuable resources offered by Bakersfield College’s Launchpad, including one-on-one counseling and coaching with educational staff and industry partners, training for incubators and acceleration businesses, a co-working office space, entrepreneurial readiness through workshops, and no-cost noncredit courses.
  • Participants will also have specialized training to complete a business plan and guidance to apply for the City’s Grant Program.


(3) Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce (“KCBCC”)


Overview. KCBCC requests $55,150 to support its Small Business Academy training program, workshops, and one-on-one business counseling services for entrepreneurs and small businesses. The program will be implemented over the next 15 months, tentatively from April 2023 through July 2024.


Workplan Highlights.

  • Six-week sessions enhancing KCBCC’s Small Businesses Training Academy, with in-depth training on several business topics including finance, administration, marketing, and access to capital.
  • Three procurement and crisis management training workshops.
  • Individual consultation services based on clients’ needs.
  • Through their program, KCBCC seeks to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses in disadvantaged communities throughout Bakersfield, with an emphasis on African Americans and other minorities. KCBCC will serve as an essential bridge to connect communities of color with business resources and technical assistance provided by the City and other agencies.
  • Program participants will have access to technical assistance services tailored to their needs and stage in their business development and guidance towards participating in the City’s Grant Program.


Grant Program. The City's Grant Program will be funded by the balance of the ARPA funds ($1,500,000) allocated to this program. Staff is finalizing the program criteria and guidelines and anticipates launching the program next month. The grant will not be reimbursable, but will provide needed start-up or business expansion capital for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses. They must have solid business plans, be a recipient of technical assistance or other business training and made at least one significant business activity such as a sale, hired an employee, created a banking relationship, etc. The rest of the program criteria will be included in the final guidelines. 




The proposed projects offered by each Provider supports the City Council in achieving its strategic goal to strengthen and diversify the economic base by uniquely targeting entrepreneurs/start-up business and established small businesses experiencing disadvantages to support a thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem and stimulate participation for the City’s Grant Program. The proposed Project also helps the City in accomplishing the strategic goals, objectives, and implementation framework of the Economic Development Strategic Plan (EDSP) 2021. The EDSP identifies the establishment and enhancement of basic business and entrepreneurship support to help create and maintain young firms and the expansion of mid-sized companies as a prime opportunity for the city.


Staff recommends City Council approve the agreements to fund the Providers’ business technical assistance programs.

Notice of Funding AvailabilityBackup Material
Agreement - CSUB SBDCAgreement
Agreement - KCBCCAgreement
Agreement - KCCDAgreement