Norcal SBDC Dream Fund Program

Grants of up to $10,000 will soon be available to new business owners in California through a new initiative called the Dream Fund.

The NorCal SBDC Network is teaming up with the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GoBiz) to provide eligible small businesses the opportunity to apply for a grant award of $5,000 to $10,000.

The $35 million Norcal SBDC Dream Fund Training Program is open to all businesses that started on or after July 1, 2019.

All businesses that meet the eligibility criteria are required to complete a small business training program provided by NorCal SBDC before applying for a microgrant of up to $10,000.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Must be a business registered in California after July 1, 2019
  • Must be currently in business by the end of this program, meaning the business has made a first sale, hired at least one employee, has created a business banking relationship, or has spent money on business expenses
  • Business must complete all required trainings
  • Business must complete at least one one-on-one counseling session with a SBDC advisor

There is no deadline to apply for the Dream Fund but the grant program will be on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. The first training series, set to include approximately 500 business owners, starts on April 7. Once that class is full, applicants will be enrolled in the June training session. If funding is still available in the fall, there will be a third training session in October.

For those that enter the Dream Fund Training Program, training sessions will occur as live webinar broadcasts. There will be seven webinars of between 90 minute and three hours in length, offered over a course of five weeks. 

All eligible participants who complete training and counseling before funds are fully expended will be recommended to apply for a Dream Fund grant through the state’s funding partner, Lendistry. Completing the training does not guarantee a business owner a grant award.

Businesses will be able to apply for up to $10,000. The grant amount is predetermined by the program rules and is based on business type:

  • Brick-and-Mortar – $10,000
  • Childcare – $10,000
  • Construction Trades – $10,000
  • Green Technology/Infrastructure – $10,000
  • Manufacturing – $10,000
  • Professional/Scientific/Technical – $10,000
  • Agriculture, Wildfire Mitigation/Forestry – $10,000
  • E-Commerce/Marketplace – $5,000
  • Service/Cottage Industry – $5,000
  • Small Lab/Makers Space – $5,000

For more information on the Dream Fund, visit www.norcalsbdc.org/dream