Striving to Help Our Local Community
About the Solano College SBDC
The Solano College Small Business Development Center is one of over 1,000 SBDCs, nationwide, set up through the Association of Small Business Development Centers, to assist small business owners and managers start, buy, assess, manage, improve, expand, grow or sell their company. We offer Solano County business owners and residents:
- Affordable and Free Small Business Assistance
- Workshops Presented at Convenient Locations Throughout the County
- 12-Week Small Business Training Program - Featuring NxLeveL™ Entrepreneurial Training
Our Focus is Solano County
Our territory includes potential, start-up and existing small businesses in Solano County. Funding to support the SBDC is provided through the US Small Business Administration (SBA) on the federal level, California Community Colleges Workforce Development Program on the state level and from many cities and private partners on the local level. Examples of local sponsors include the cities of Benicia, Dixon, Fairfield, Suisun City, Vacaville, Vallejo; Solano Community College District, County of Solano and more!
Existing Business Owners
If you have an existing business, we encourage you to give us a call. The SBDC offers free, confidential one-on-one advice provided by expert business advisors spanning a range of business experience and expertise.
To start, complete our online Counseling Information Form. Click on the Request Services tab on the menu at the top of this page. Upon review of your application, a staff member or business advisor will contact you to discuss your request. Please allow up to one week for a response.
Solano County Micro-Enterprise Assistance Program
Solano County offers a local Micro-Enterprise Assistance Program to help micro-enterprise businesses located in unincorporated areas of the County.
Micro-Enterprise Program Eligibility Requirements
To participate, your company must be a micro-enterprise business (with five or fewer employees) and your (the business owner) total household income must meet the low-to-moderate income criteria for Solano County. See eligibility table for Solano County on the Micro-Enterprise Assistance Program Application.
Services Available to Eligible Micro-Enterprises
Upon completion of required documentation and other tasks, eligible micro-enterprises can participate, FREE of charge, in a four-part series of small business development workshops:
- How to Start Your Small Business
- Writing Your Business Plan
- Marketing Essentials for Every Small Business
- Borrowing Money for Your Business: What You Need to Know
Our four-part workshop series give micro-enterprise companies the foundation, tools and information they need to research, plan, build and maintain a successful business. In addition, to complement and support the free workshop series, eligible participants may receive FREE one-on-one counseling advice from a SBDC Business Advisor to assist with the start-up, re-start, current operations or expansion of your new, recently started or existing small business.
Micro-Enterprise Loan Fund
In addition to free small business training, eligible micro-enterprise companies have access to a Micro-Enterprise Loan Fund. The MEL Fund provides "micro" loans ranging from $5,000-$50,000. Loan proceeds may be used for equipment, inventory and working capital to start-up, improve or expand your company. Our SBDC Business Advisors are available to assist you in preparing your loan application and to provide follow-up technical assistance after you receive your loan.
How to Apply as a Solano County Micro-Enterprise Company
To apply for the Solano County Micro-Enterprise Assistance Program, all applicants must complete a Counseling Information Form AND a Micro-Enterprise Assistance Program Form. If income eligible, further documentation is required to support income, other household information and your current business status. Qualified applicants will meet with a SBDC "CORE" Business Advisor for an in-depth Business Assessment to identify your company's specific business needs. During your initial business consultation, a "Scope-of-Work" is developed for you and your SBDC Business Advisor to work on together to achieve measurable and specific business outcomes such as:
- Launching a New Business
- Writing Your Business Plan
- Implementing a Marketing Strategy
- Obtaining a Business Loan
- Hiring New Employees
Additional counseling opportunities are available to business owners interested in meeting with a "Specialist" Advisor for on-going support and completion of your Counseling Scope-of-Work. In every case, counseling services, although limited--remember, we're here to help you help yourselves--are always FREE of charge!
For Questions or Additional Assistance:
Kelly Penwell, Director