As organizers of the first California Economic Summit met with literally thousands of Californians in fourteen regions of the state, they heard a familiar theme.
“It’s hard to find capital to start or to grow my business,” was a sentiment echoed by many in attendance across the state.
As a result, Summit Organizers have a fifth Action Team, called Smart Capital, that will focus on this important topic. The Team will be led by Glenda Humiston of the U.S. Department of Agriculture here in California. She has done considerable work in this area, particularly on behalf of rural residents of the state.
“We’re looking at helping improving access to capital across the board throughout California, but focusing on the topics that matter to regional clusters,” said Humiston.
The good news is a lot of public and private options already exist. People just don’t know about them.
Whether it’s a micro-financing idea for a small business or an infrastructure overhaul, there are a number of funding options that can be promoted at the summit. In addition, other ideas about how to develop and expand access to capital for Californians will be explored.
Ms. Humiston is part of the California Financial Opportunities Roundtable, also known as CalFOR. It is a partnership of USDA Rural Development and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. CalFOR has been working on this issue and will be releasing its report around the time of the Summit, which will be held May 11 in Santa Clara.
California has abundant natural resources, world class institutions and innovative citizens. Our state has proven in the past it can lead. The Summit has been organized to make sure California will lead again. Having access to capital is an important piece of that puzzle.
In addition to helping people understand best practices in accessing working capital, the Summit will concentrate on improving workforce development, expanding the state’s infrastructure, encouraging innovation and reducing regulatory uncertainty.
Californians are poised to act to improve job creation in the state. We expect the Summit to become an annual event.