Programs to Help GROW Your Business
Whether you’re a start-up or an established firm, The Valley Sierra Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has a wide range of programs designed to assist you in a variety of business areas. Funded through local, state and national grants, the SBDC provides valuable no-cost consulting and low-cost training resources.
Contact us at (209) 422-6416 to learn more.
Financial Resource Program
Are you exploring possible financial assistance for your company? Entrepreneurs and business owners can receive no-cost, confidential consulting on obtaining SBA loans, non-SBA loans, non-traditional lending, and non-owner equity investments.
Veterans Entrepreneurship Training
Are you a veteran with an idea for a business? The Valley Sierra SBDC offers a variety of no-cost resources to help you prepare for your new venture. These include Business Start-Up workshops, 4-week business Boot Camps, and no-cost consulting provided within Merced and Stanislaus counties for Veterans and their families. This program is offered in collaboration with CSU Stanislaus, EDD, Wells Fargo, Congressman Jeff Denham’s office, and local Veteran organizations.
Employer Assistance Program (EAP)
Looking for ways to help your business survive and thrive? If you are a local employer concerned about possible layoffs, struggling with day-to-day business operations, or are not sure what marketing efforts to take to grow your business, then consider applying to the EAP. Our expert team of professional business consultants can provide confidential assistance in all key business areas – at no-cost to you. Fully funded by local organizations, the EAP program can help employers identify hidden issues and help overcome challenges impacting your company.
Sonora Micro-Enterprise (SME)
Are you a Sonora-based business (or thinking about becoming one)? Offered to qualified start-up and existing micro-enterprise businesses within the City of Sonora, the SME provides specialized training and consulting to help business owners successfully operate and/or expand their business. Learn more at SonoraMicroenterprise.com.
Merced County Revolving Loan Fund (RLF)
A funding resource for Merced County residents. If you’re a Merced County resident exploring funding opportunities for your business, you can receive assistance applying for the RLF. All RLF-funded businesses are entitled to receive no-cost consulting, workshops and other business resources from the SBDC.
City of Modesto – Downtown Business Incentive Program
Would you like to start or relocate your business to the Modesto Downtown? As part of the City’s Downtown renaissance project, the City of Modesto is offering a variety of incentives to do just that! Application and business plan assistance will be provided to individuals and/or businesses who plan to open, expand or relocate their retail business within a specific downtown area. Upon meeting the program’s requirements, the City of Modesto will award $1,000-$2,500 in direct cash assistance to applicants, plus a refund of Mill Tax and a portion of local Sales Tax paid in the first full year in business. Additional program incentives include funds for façade improvement and City Fee exemptions.
City of Merced – Small Business Incentive Program
Would you like to start or relocate your business to the City of Merced? You can apply for $1,000 as a business within the City of Merced. Business plan assistance will be provided to people who plan to open or expand their retail business within the city. Upon meeting the program requirements, the City of Merced will award $1,000 to applicants.
Stanislaus/Merced County Low Income & Minority Resources
Empowering your business ideas. We offer specially-funded programs for low/moderate income entrepreneurs, minority, Hispanic and women-owned businesses with such programs as the Stanislaus/Merced County Business Empowerment Program, and the Stanislaus/Merced County Rural Business Assistance Program funded by Wells Fargo.
Workshops for Smart Business
Helping you to “work smart.” The Valley Sierra SBDC offers a variety of workshops throughout the year for all business owners and senior managers in Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Merced and Mariposa Counties. Workshops include business management, financial management, systems and operations, and assistance with access to funding. Visit the Calendar page to learn about upcoming workshops in your area.
Where Great Ideas Come to Life. The Innovation Challenge is an annual competition held in Stanislaus, Merced and Tuolumne Counties. Residents, students and business owners are invited to “pitch” their innovative product concepts and/or business ideas to a panel of expert judges. The winner in each county receives a $5,000 prize in cash and professional services to help grow their concept. Plus each of the three winners will be given the chance to compete in the 8-county San Joaquin Entrepreneur Challenge held each Spring. The SJEC has an annual prize package of $24,000.