City of Tustin CEO Moms
Training and Grant Program

About the Program

As part of the Tustin Cares Program, the city of Tustin has partnered with the Orange County Inland Empire Small Business Development Center Network (OCIE SBDC) to expand OCIE SBDC’s online CEO Moms training program into the Tustin CEO Moms Training and Grant Program (CEO Moms Program) — a growth program for women by women. The CEO Moms Program will provide growth opportunities through training and funding to woman-owned small businesses located in Tustin. All eligible woman-owned businesses are invited to apply. Woman-owned businesses that have previously received alternative sources of funding such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan, State, County of Orange and/or city of Tustin grants are eligible to apply. The program is based on the availability of funds, program guidelines and submission of all required information and supporting documentation. Small businesses with a minimum of two (2) employees — including the owner, and a maximum of fifty (50) employees (full and part time) may be eligible to receive a grant of up to two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) after attending four (4) mandatory two hour each virtual training sessions and one (1) mandatory one-on-one business consulting session. The grant must be used to cover the day-to-day business operating expenses. 

Due to the success of the City’s previous small business training and grant programs funded through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), the Tustin City Council budgeted additional city funds to continue providing opportunities to expand small business training and grant programs. The City’s Economic Development Department will be responsible for oversight of the CEO Moms Program and disbursement of funds will take place through the City’s Finance Department. The City’s program partner — the OCIE SBDC — will be responsible for program administration, application processing, training, one-on-one consulting, and for review and approval of financial and business documentation for disbursement. City staff is obligated to fulfill the terms and conditions of the funds as established the program guidelines.

CEO Moms is a program provided by the OCIE SBDC, in partnership with the city of Tustin, and is a cohort-style series for women entrepreneurs to actively work on scaling up and expanding their businesses. In this four-part series, women entrepreneurs will:

  • Hone their skills to better use their financial data to drive their business, identify and adjust areas to improve cash flow, profitability and future planning.
  • Research and identify primary and emerging customer segments and build a plan around attracting them.
  • Identify competition and strategic partners for opportunities to collaborate and maximize market share. Learn effective ways to expand their team of employees and resource partners. 
  • Understand the various Woman-Owned Business Certifications as they relate to winning business in different arenas. Identify opportunities for adding equity or debt capital to scale more deliberately.  
  • Showcase their business in a digital presentation with cohort members.

Examples of who will benefit from this program:

  • Brick and Mortar (retail, restaurant, or service)
  • Professional Services (CPAs, accountants, attorneys, insurance and real estate agents, consultants, etc.)
  • Home-Based Businesses (daycare, online retail, established side-hustles)
  • Cottage Food Operators, Home Cooks, Caterers, etc.

This cohort is for women, taught by women. Although “business is business”, women often approach the process differently and many times have a variety of other obstacles and responsibilities. Attendees can expect highly interactive and vibrant discussions with the instructors and other cohort members.

  • A total of four (4) two-hour mandatory Zoom training sessions. In the event a business misses one of the mandatory training sessions, they can make it up by scheduling an additional 1:1 consultation meeting with their OCIE SBDC consultant. If a business misses two (2) or more mandatory training sessions, they will then be ineligible to receive the $2,500 grant.
  • One (1) mandatory 1:1 consultation meeting with a SBDC consultant in between cohort meetings/sessions


Program Outline

The CEO Moms Program covers the following topics with a focus on building growth strategies:

Session 1

  • Understand and use your financial data to drive your business including ratios, financial key performance indicators (KPIs) and profit & losses (P&Ls)
  • Marketing platforms and marketing KPIs
  • Develop and evolve your plan

Session 2

  • Growth marketing
  • What problem is your business solving?
  • Let’s use research
  • Understanding your customers
  • Finding your customers and getting them to respond

Session 3

  • Identify competition and strategic partners
  • Develop opportunities to collaborate and maximize market share
  • Create an all-star team of employees and resource partners

Session 4

  • Certifications for woman-owned businesses
  • Projecting your growth
  • Funding your growth plan
  • Artificial intelligence

The City reserves the unqualified right, in its sole and absolute discretion at any time: (1) to amend or terminate this program with no recourse for any proposing applicant; (2) to choose or reject any or all applications received in response to this program; (3) to modify the application deadlines; (4) to request additional information of the applicants as deemed necessary and appropriate by the City; (5) to conduct further due diligence with applicants or any third party; (6) to modify the City’s objectives or the scope of the program; (7) to modify program requirements, general terms and conditions, or eligible activities; and/or (8) to disqualify any proposing applicant on the basis of any real or perceived conflict of interest that is disclosed or revealed by materials submitted or by any data available to the City.

To be eligible to apply for the CEO Moms Program, a business must meet certain criteria that has been established by the city of Tustin. 

General Terms and Conditions

The business applicant must meet the following minimum requirements to be considered for grant funding:

  • The business must be a woman-owned, at least 51% unconditionally and directly owned and controlled by one or more women, for-profit business and physically located in Tustin;
  • The business can be either commercial or home-based;
  • The business must have generated at least $50,000 in revenue for 2022;
  • Residential or real estate projects including short-term rental operators are not eligible;
  • The business must have an active Tustin business license since the first quarter of 2022 (January – March 2022);
  • As of July 1, 2023, the business must have at least two (2) employees – including the owner – and no more than a total of fifty (50) full-time and part-time employees;
  • The business must be in good standing with the City (current on bills, no liens or judgements, etc.), unless directly correlated to COVID-19 impacts;
  • The business must submit the application and all required supporting documentation; 

* City employees and elected and appointed officials are not eligible to participate in this program.  

Eligible Expenses

Funds must be used to cover expenses for the business. The primary expenses include such items as rent or mortgage expense, utilities, inventory, marketing, business planning, payroll and benefit costs, or other operational expenses for the business (“Eligible Expenses”). Any use of funding other than that to support the business is strictly prohibited.

The following is a nonexclusive list of expenditures that shall not constitute Eligible Expenses payable from the grant amount:

  1. Damages covered by insurance.
  2. Expenses that have been or will be reimbursed or recovered through other funding programs, such as the reimbursement by the federal government pursuant to the CARES Act or contributions by States to State unemployment funds.
  3. Reimbursement to donors for donated items or services.
  4. Workforce bonuses other than hazard pay or overtime.
  5. Severance pay.
  6. Legal expenses or settlements.

The City of Tustin and the OCIE SBDC shall not discriminate upon the basis of sex, age, race, creed, color, religion, national origin, marital status, ancestry or physical handicap in accepting applications and processing program applications.


The CEO Moms Program application includes information about the small business, the number of employees in the business, location of the business, amount of time in business and revenue generated in 2022. The application and Grant Agreement will require the following attestations: 

  • The business is owned by a woman.
  • As of July 1, 2023, the business has a minimum of at least two (2) employees – including the owner – and does not exceed a maximum total of fifty (50) full and part-time employees.
  • The business generated, at minimum, $50,000 in revenue during 2022 and is able to produce financial records to show the revenue generated. 
  • The business must maintain records through December 31, 2029.


Application Period

Applications must be submitted online only and will be accepted from 9 a.m., Monday, January 22, 2024, to 11:59 p.m., Sunday, February 4, 2024. The applications period will close promptly at 11:59 p.m. on February 4, 2024. Applications received online after this due date and time will be considered late and will not be accepted.

The application will be available on this webpage at the opening of the application window. Please complete the entirety of the application and ensure all of your information is correct. If required fields are not complete, you will receive an error notice that will prevent you from submitting the application. For best results, we recommend using either Chrome, Safari, or Firefox. After submitting your application, you will receive an email confirmation.

The City intends to disburse $62,500, equaling 25 grants. The City anticipates the number of applications will exceed the amount of funding available for disbursement. In the event there are more than twenty-five (25) applicants, the City will implement a lottery system for all eligible small businesses. Once applications have been pre-approved, they will be assigned a number and entered into a random lottery for selection. The first 25 businesses selected will be notified beginning February 15, 2024, and will then be asked to submit all required business and financial documentation for review and verification. The first of four mandatory classes will begin on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, from 10 a.m. to noon.  

Upon pre-approval and notification of selection for funding, the first 25 businesses will be required to submit the following documents by February 26, 2024, for review and verification in order to be eligible to receive the grant:

  • The most recent monthly bank statement; and
  • Current City of Tustin Business License.


In addition, the OCIE SBDC will provide the selected businesses with the following documents to complete and submit by February 26, 2024:

  • W-9;
  • Direct Deposit Form (includes voided check which matches account and routing numbers listed on Direct Deposit Form. Grant funds are directly deposited into your account); and
  • A signed Tustin Small Business Grant Agreement, which includes business impact statement and self-certification.


Although selection is not guaranteed, businesses should begin to collect the required documentation in order to expedite the approval process in the event they are selected.  


The application will be reviewed by the SBDC to determine application completeness and preliminary eligibility. The application must be complete by the application submittal deadline date of February 4, 2024, 11:59 p.m.


The City of Tustin is expecting the CEO Moms Program to have an overwhelming number of applications. If the number of applications far exceeds the amount of funding that is available for disbursement, the City will implement a lottery system for all eligible small businesses. Once applications and eligibility have been approved, they will be assigned a number and entered into a random lottery. The first 25 potential grant recipients will be contacted by email, phone and/or letter starting February 15, 2024.

Verification and Eligibility Determination

Upon pre-approval and selection, the OCIE SBDC shall request the applicant submit all required documentation for review and verification for grant approval. The OCIE SBDC will assign a consultant to work with each individual grantee to assist with completing all required documentation. Grantees documentation will be submitted directly to the OCIE SBDC on a secured site. If the grant request meets the criteria for program funding, all required documentation must be submitted by February 26, 2024, by 5 p.m. to remain eligible.

Grant Disbursement

As each business applicant submits a complete set of required documentation, it will be reviewed and verified, and once the business attends all four (4) mandatory training sessions and one (1) one-on-one OCIE SBDC consulting session, funds will be disbursed to the business. In the event a business misses one of the mandatory training sessions, they can make up the missed session by meeting with their OCIE SBDC consultant for an additional one-on-one consultation. Businesses who miss two (2) or more mandatory training sessions will be deemed ineligible to receive a $2,500 grant at the end of the CEO Moms training. The City will award grant funds in a single disbursement. All grant funds shall be expended on Eligible Expenses by no later than October 31, 2024. Any portion of the grant funds not expended on Eligible Expenses shall be returned to the City by no later than November 30, 2024.

Grant Report

Eligible Expenses are considered necessary expenditures to operate the business. In the event a business does not expend the entire grant amount, the business will be required to return the remaining balance by November 30, 2024.
The business recipient shall keep documentation evidencing use of the Grant Funds. The City may request to evaluate the business’s compliance with the Grant program. If it is determined the business did not expend the funds consistent with the Eligible Expenses, it may constitute an Event of Default under the Grant Agreement.

Post-Grant Follow Up

The OCIE SBDC will continue to work one-on-one with each grantee, throughout the next twelve (12) months. If contacted by the City or OCIE SBDC, all awardees will be required to update the City on their business and if additional employees have been hired or employees retained. A twelve-month report may be created by the OCIE SBDC and the City of Tustin, to document the success of the program. By acceptance of the grant, the business agrees to comply with City information requests that may include use of photos or business logos.

Program Complaint and Appeal Process

Complaints concerning the CEO Moms Program should be made to the City of Tustin Economic Development Department. If unresolved in this manner, the complaint or appeal shall be made in writing and filed with the City Manager’s Office.

For additional information regarding the CEO Moms Program, please contact the following:

City of Tustin Economic Development Department
300 Centennial Way
Tustin, CA 92780
(714) 573-3117

For questions about the guidelines and application or assistance in completing the application and to set up a one-on-one consultation (at no cost), please contact the OCIE SBDC at:

Manal Richa, Director, CSUF SBDC
15375 Barranca Parkway, Suite A111
Irvine, CA 92618
(657) 256-3874

City of Tustin CEO Moms Training and Grant Program

Mike Daniel is the network director of the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC Network, which assists aspiring entrepreneurs and current business owners throughout Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Mike was formerly the director of the SBDC office at Long Beach City College. As business owner and entrepreneur himself, he started his career as the owner of a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory location in Manhattan Beach and went on to open a second location in Long Beach in 2001. In 2007, Mike sold the Manhattan Beach store for an above-market offer then invested in several additional locations as a minority shareholder. Mike further expanded his candy empire with venture located in Shoreline Village in Long Beach called Sugar Daddies Sweet Shoppe, based on fill-it yourself candy options.

Mike has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton.