Orange County / Inland Empire SBDC California Dream Fund Training PRogram

The OCIE SBDC Network is partnering with the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) to provide eligible small businesses the opportunity to apply for a grant award.
Businesses that have started on or after July 1, 2019 are eligible to apply for the California Dream Fund Grant.
To be eligible to apply, businesses can apply for an OCIE SBDC startup training program. After completion of the multi-week program and all requirements, business owners will qualify for the opportunity to receive a grant up to $10,000.

About the Dream Fund

The California Dream Fund is a one-time $35 million grant program providing grants up to $10,000 to seed entrepreneurship and small business creation for businesses started in California on or after July 1, 2019. The grant is available to qualifying businesses that meet all eligibility criteria and complete a small business training program provided by the OCIE SBDC.

Following completion of an OCIE SBDC approved program, businesses will be eligible to apply for the grant.

  • Eligible business owners sign up for a program below.
  • Once accepted into the program, attend every training session.
  • Business owners will have at least one consulting session with an OCIE SBDC consultant during the program.
  • After completion of training, consulting, and requirements, eligible businesses will be referred to the grantmaking entity, Lendistry, to proceed with granting of up to $10,000.

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Important Note:

The OCIE SBDC only be providing the required training programs and consulting support to businesses as they proceed through the application process but will not be making grant award decisions.

Grant Eligibility

  • Business must be located in Orange, Riverside or San Bernardino County
  • Business registration must have occurred on or after July 1st, 2019.
  • Complete an approved OCIE SBDC training program
  • Has begun one-on-one consulting with OCIE SBDC
  • Receive appropriate licenses and permits to start the business in the state of California
  • Complete California Dream Fund Approved business plan
  • Must have a “qualifying event” that starts the business
    • Must be formally registered to do business in Orange, Riverside, or San Bernardino County
    • Businesses can start the program without being registered but must be able to show proof of registration prior to being referred for a grant.
    • Business registration must have occurred on or after July 1st, 2019.
    • Entities must also demonstrate they are “in business” by having completed one of the following “Qualifying” events:
      • Has made their first sale
      • Has hired at least one employee, or
      • Has created a business banking relationship, or
      • Has spend money on business expenses (this includes legal and accounting fees) 
  • Must be a business with 5 FTE employees or less and $1 million or less in annual receipts.
  • Must attend a “How to Complete the California Dream Grant” webinar (After completing the training program and has begun one-on-one consulting)
  • Receive and complete Lendistry application (will receive link from SBDC, when all above items completed)
  • Must agree to complete required surveys
  • Must not be a current or former (within the last 18 months) staff or immediate family of an OCIE SBDC SBDC Network staff or consultant
  • Cannot currently own another business and meant for those starting their first business.
  • Must not have received a grant from the California Dream Fund previously, either from the OCIE SBDC or another participating program – only one grant per entity is allowed.

Important Note:

  • Grants are subject to fund availability, and while there is a discrete amount set aside for Orange County and Inland Empire entrepreneurs, the funds are finite and may be allocated before everyone that enrolls completes the required steps. Enrollment does not guarantee access to funds.
  • Additional screening steps may exist to verify identity (but not citizenship) to prevent fraud and abuse.
  • Individual grant funding amounts are predetermined and not subject to decision or revision by the OCIE SBDC SBDC Network or its partners.
  • Additional terms and conditions apply.

Dream Fund Steps to a Successful Grant:

  1. Complete an OCIE SBDC approved Dream Fund training program.
  2. Begin 1-on-1 consulting with an OCIE SBDC consultant.
  3. Complete the required documents:
    1. California Dream Fund approved Business Plan
    2. Complete all the necessary licenses and permits to legally start the business.
    3. Open a business bank account
  4. Attend an OCIE SBDC Application webinar (scheduled regularly throughout the program).
  5. Complete a survey at the completion of the training program (Form will be sent by OCIE SBDC Lead Center)
  6. Have a “Qualifying” event to start the business.
  7. Upload documents to Datarooms
  8. Receive a completion certificate and special Lendistry application code from the OCIE SBDC.
  9. Apply for the California Dream Fund.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

The California Dream Fund Grant Program (CDFG or Dream Fund) was created in 2021 by Senate Bill No. 151 to provide microgrants up to $10,000 to seed entrepreneurship and small business creation in underserved small business groups that are facing capital and opportunity gaps. These microgrants shall be made available to startup clients participating in intensive startup training and consulting with the centers that are designated by the Small Business Technical Assistance Expansion Program.

Your business is eligible for the opportunity to apply for the California Dream Fund if:

  • Business must be located in Orange, Riverside or San Bernardino County

  • Business must have started on or after July 1, 2019

  • Complete all trainings of an approved OCIE SBDC training program

  • Has begun one-on-one consulting with OCIE SBDC

  • Receive appropriate licenses and permits to start the business in the state of California

  • Complete California Dream Fund Approved business plan

  • Must have a “qualifying event” that starts the business

    • Must be formally registered to do business in Orange, Riverside, or San Bernardino County
    • Businesses can start the program without being registered but must be able to show proof of registration prior to being referred for a grant.
    • Business registration must have occurred on or after July 1st, 2019.
    • Entities must also demonstrate they are "in business" by having completed one of the following:
      • Has made their first sale
      • Has hired at least one employee, or
      • Has created a business banking relationship, or
      • Has spend money on business expenses (this includes legal and accounting fees) 
  • Must attend a “How to Complete the California Dream Grant” webinar

  • Must agree to complete periodic surveys sharing business performance data.

  • Must not have been employed by the Norcal SBDC Network or one of its centers in the past 18 months or be immediate family of an employee.

  • Must not have received a Dream Fund Grant being offered by another entity.

  1. Complete an OCIE SBDC approved Dream Fund training program.
  2. Begin 1-on-1 consulting with an OCIE SBDC consultant.
  3. Complete the required documents:
    1. California Dream Fund approved Business Plan
    2. Complete all the necessary licenses and permits to legally start the business.
    3. Open a business bank account
  4. Have a "Qualifying" event to start the business.
    1. A sale
    2. Hire a W-2 employee
    3. Invest money into the business
  5. Complete a survey at the completion of the training program.
  6. Attend an OCIE SBDC Application webinar.
  7. Receive a completion certificate and special Lendistry application code from the OCIE SBDC.
  8. Apply for the California Dream Fund.

A qualifying event would include:

  • Must be formally registered to do business in Orange, Riverside, or San Bernardino County
  • Businesses can start the program without being registered but must be able to show proof of registration prior to being referred for a grant.
  • Business registration must have occurred on or after July 1st, 2019.
  • Entities must also demonstrate they are "in business" by having completed one of the following:
    • Has made their first sale
    • Has hired at least one employee, or
    • Has created a business banking relationship, or
    • Has spend money on business expenses (this includes legal and accounting fees) 

A small business is considered a business with 5 employees or less and $1 million or less in annual receipts.

Because funds are limited, this grant program is only available to businesses that complete all aspects of a cohort training program (including meeting with an SBDC consultant). The OCIE SBDC anticipates approximately 600-700 grants will be awarded through the OCIE SBDC California Dream Fund Training Program before 12/31/2022.

The program is first-come, first-served, and there is a possibility not all who complete the training and consulting will be eligible for the grant.

No, the California Dream Fund is first come-first serve. The OCIE SBDC estimates roughly 650 grants will be awarded from the region.

There is no deadline to apply, but the program is on a first come, first served basis. There is also limited room in each training program cohort so we encourage you to sign up as soon as possible.

Eligible entities will be able to apply for up to $10,000. The specific grant amount is predetermined by the program rules and is based on business type, subject to validation, and non-negotiable.

Grant amounts - $10,000

  • Brick and Mortar Business with a signed lease
  • Technology Company
  • Childcare Business
  • Manufacturing Business

Grant Amounts - $5,000

  • E-Commerce Business
  • Home-Based Business
  • Makers Space
  • Food/Catering Business (non-leased space)
  • Marketplace/Swapmeet
  • Mobile Beauty Business
  • Any sub-lease of space (Office, Beauty Salon, Swapmeet, etc.)

Each participant of the Dream Fund can only apply one-time for funding, no matter how many businesses they are planning on starting.

To qualify for the California Dream Fund, a participant must attend every session of the training program they sign up for.

The OCIE SBDC anticipates 600-700 grants will be awarded to businesses in the Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino region.

Neither income status nor citizenship status are questions that will be asked to determine eligibility. Applicants must be over 18 years old.

Starting your business is just a program away

TRAINING PROGRAMS

The OCIE SBDC is here to prepare you for successfully launching your business. Our suite of programs offer you the ability to choose an industry-specific program or general business program based on the type of business you are trying to start. SBDC programs include topics on business planning, finance, marketing, sales, human resources, licenses and permits and more. In less than 12-weeks, we will take you from an idea to an actual sale at one of our proof of concept platforms such as our e-commerce platform californiashopsmall.com, selling in a local marketplace or utilizing a commercial kitchen or local maker’s space. All programs are between 8-12 sessions in length and are led by our SBDC consultants and experts and offered at no cost throughout the Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino regions.

Ready to get started? Find the right cohort to make your California Dream a reality:

Beauty

Start and own your own cosmetology business. Beauty experts will take you through starting your business, securing a location, and marketing.

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Food & Drink

Starting a food truck, use a commercial kitchen, or open up a restaurant? SBDC’s EATS program starts you off with developing your concept for the business all the way through establishing it.

The next CFO series starts on Aug 3.

Marketplace

The fast-paced four-week program aids you in learning what it takes to run a business and allows you to operate a Marketplace vendor booth.

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Starting a Business from scratch

Unsure of where to begin when starting a business? SBDC Start will give you the information and skills to start your very own business.

LEARN MORE FOR UPDATES ON THE NEXT PROGRAM.

EN ESPAÑOL

¿No está seguro de por dónde empezar al iniciar un negocio? ¡Mi negocio! ¡Mi futuro! le brindará la información y las habilidades para iniciar su propio negocio.

 

Presione "aprenda más" para obtener mas información sobre el próximo programa.

e-commerce

Learn how to expand your business onto an e-commerce platform and reach new audiences and increase your sales on a local, regional, and national scale.

LEARN MORE FOR UPDATES ON THE NEXT PROGRAM.

Retail

Looking to open a brick-and-mortar business? Take your concept for a new store and make it a reality!

LEARN MORE FOR UPDATES ON THE NEXT PROGRAM.

Makers

Hobbyists, makers, and entrepreneurs- explore taking your idea to market. This program will take your product or concept and show you what it takes to run a successful business.

LEARN MORE FOR UPDATES ON THE NEXT PROGRAM.

tech

Have a minimum viable product or working prototype? This program will help you form your startup structure and prepare you to find funding. 

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Discover more programs

Note: Not all programs listed on the More Programs page may qualify for the CAlifornia Dream Fund.

Ready to take the first step in achieving your california dream?

Don’t qualify for the grant? The OCIE SBDC can still help your business. Schedule a 1-on-1 consulting session with one of our business consultants or take a look at our calendar of workshops and trainings covering a wide array of business topics.

NOT SURE WHERE TO START? GIVE US A CALL AT 1-800-616-7232 AND WE CAN HELP YOU FIND THE PERFECT FIT AND ANSWER ALL YOUR QUESTIONS.

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