Solano success accelerator
Serious Growth Support for Solano County Businesses
This 6-week SOLANO SUCCESS program is a unique opportunity for Solano County businesses to experience fast-paced growth planning, complete with support from an expert SBDC Business Advisor — and bonus capital to expand your business.
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The Solano Success Accelerator is a special program funded by ARPA (the American Rescue Plan Act), with the goal of helping our businesses recover and thrive in Solano County.
Successful applicants will participate in an intensive curriculum PLUS weekly business advising to overcome any challenges you may encounter. Businesses that complete the program will also receive $4,000 in capital to be used for business recovery and growth.
Solano Success includes six (mandatory) online sessions over six weeks, while working one-on-one with your expert Business Advisor:
Session One – Accelerator Fundamentals Introduction
(Online via Zoom)
An overview of accelerator fundamentals including:
- Introduction to Solano Success process, expectations, and resources
- Takeaways from a business accelerator
- Achieving new business goals and objectives/overcoming barriers and pitfalls
- Moving to the next level
- Minding your mindset to generate solutions
- Creating a Pitch to raise funds; building a Pitch Deck with key components
Session Two – Building from The Ground Up
(Online via Zoom)
Participating business owners will dive into business growth strategy including:
- Mission and vision review and development
- Describing your company
- Identifying and screening opportunities
- Pitch deck development
Session Three – Business Organization/Operational Plan
(Online via Zoom)
Focuses on the organization, leadership and team:
- Optimizing business concept and organization
- Cultivating innovation and positioning
- Unique value proposition
- Align and culture-set your team to a higher purpose
- Leadership and continuity planning
- Legal structure/liability protection
Session Four – Branding and Competition
(Online via Zoom)
Covers competitive strategy development:
- Competitive analysis
- Market strategies and tactics
- Principles of effective branding
- Optimizing sales prospecting/growth hacking
- Opportunities to review draft pitch decks
Session Five – Financial Plan /Financials and Funding
(Online via Zoom)
Understanding financials to analyze and improve your business:
- Using the Income Statement, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Analysis reports
- Preparing financial projections
- Efficiencies and maximizing performance
- Managing the cash flow cycle to improve your cash flow
- Preparing for funding
Session Six – Pitching your Business
(Online via Zoom)
Solano Success wraps up with an online presentation of your pitch deck to an audience of participants and stakeholders.
This process replicates the real-world process to obtain funding. After successful completion, you’ll receive a $4,000 capital infusion and continue working on your business as part of a monthly Entrepreneur Business Roundtable.
Solano Success Snapshot
- 6-week training program
- Provides business success support & capital
- Ends with a final ‘pitch presentation’
- Businesses that complete all components receive a $2,500 grant to use for business purposes
- Selection by random lottery (business verified to meet the criteria)
Is Your Business Eligible?
Your business must meet ALL of the criteria:
- Located/based in Solano County
- Open and earning income prior to Jan. 1, 2022
- Has a current Solano County or city business license
- No more than 50 employees (no minimum)
One application per business, per person, and per household. See additional details in the Eligibility section of the FAQs, below.
Solano Success FAQs
Program Overview: About Solano Success
How many businesses will participate?
Solano Success has space for 100 businesses to participate, each receiving a $4,000 grant.
How long does the program run?
The entire Solano Success program starts in 2023 and ends July 30, 2024, or when all ARPA program funds to run the program have been exhausted (whichever is sooner).
When will the business training be scheduled?
The first and second Solano Success accelerator groups met in January and April 2023. A Spanish-speaking accelerator was also in spring, 2023. Additional Solano accelerators are scheduled for 2024.
You can sign up for our newsletter to make sure you receive notices about application dates and other updates.
How is Solano Success funded?
This special program is funded entirely by ARPA (the American Rescue Plan Act), from funds distributed to Solano County with the goal of helping our businesses recover and thrive in Solano County. For this reason, it is only available to existing businesses in Solano County.
Is the program online or in-person?
The six weeks are entirely online, once a week.
In addition, you will meet weekly with your business advisor (online via Zoom, via phone, or in-person as you two arrange).
Note: Participation in all sessions is required to receive the $4,000 grant funding.
Is the program free?
Yes, it is free; there is no cost to participants. Completing business owner participants will receive a $4,000 grant for their businesses.
Is Solano Success available in Spanish?
Yes, there will be options in Spanish.
Note: Please complete the Spanish application from the “Aplique Ahora” button below.
How do I get notifications about this program?
Please join our mailing list and sign up for our newsletter.
Who do I contact if I have any questions or issues?
You can contact Brianna Boyd via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Eligibility: Are you Eligible?
Who can apply/participate?
Small businesses located in Solano County are eligible to apply and participate if the business meets ALL of the criteria:
- Located/based in Solano County
- Open and earning income prior to Jan. 1, 2020.
- Has a current Solano County or city business license (or a state license for childcare providers)
- Has no more than 50 employees (no minimum)
- Was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
- Applicant may not be a Solano-Napa SBDC or Solano Workforce Development Board employee or Business Advisor
Note: If selected, you will need to provide supporting documentation for the above requirements.
Note: The business owner must apply, limit one application per business, per person, and per household.
Can I take the program more than once?
No. And under no circumstances can an individual or business receive more than one grant. Trying to do so may disqualify you from the program.
Can I apply for both the English the and Spanish trainings?
No, trying to do so may disqualify you from the program.
I live in Solano County but my business is in another county. Is my business eligible?
No, your business must be licensed in Solano County, as the funds for this program are from ARPA (the American Rescue Plan Act) allocation to Solano County.
I live in another county, but my business is in Solano County. Is my business eligible?
Yes, as long as your business meets all the criteria.
I have a business with multiple locations in multiple counties. Is my business eligible?
Yes, if your business is headquartered in Solano County and meets the other criteria.
Are franchisees eligible?
Yes, as long as the franchisee business is licensed in Solano County and meets the other criteria.
I am an independent contractor. Am I eligible?
You must be a registered business with an active business license and meet the other criteria to be eligible.
I have a registered business but have not generated revenue. Is my business eligible?
No, your business must be generating income since January 1, 2020.
Are all business entities (sole props, LLC, etc.) eligible?
Yes, all business entities are eligible to apply.
I have a legitimate business but not a business license; is it required?
Yes, you MUST have a current business license at the time of application — either from Solano County or from the city/town in Solano County where your business is located.
Grant Award: About the Funding
What is the grant amount?
Participants who complete this program will receive a grant of $4,000 that can be used to recover, grow and expand their business.
If I am awarded, how can I use the grant?
Funds must be used solely for business-related purposes. Participants will provide a grant plan in their application that they will self-attest to this stipulation.
Am I or is my business awarded the grant?
If you are selected and successfully complete the program, your business will be awarded the $4,000 grant to be used for business purposes.
Is the grant tax-free or is it subject to taxes?
It is not tax-deductible (i.e. it is recorded as income for tax purposes).
Application: How to Apply
How do I apply?
Apply online at the link above for the 2024 Solano Success Accelerators! Deadline to submit applications is Feb. 23, 2024 at 5 pm.
I was not selected in Round 1 in early 2023. Do I need to re-apply for Round 2?
No, you only need to apply once. Please do NOT reapply, you may be disqualified.
When is the deadline to apply?
The deadline to apply for Spring 2024 Accelerators is Feb. 23, 2024
Don’t miss any updates, sign up for our newsletter to make sure you receive notices about application dates and other updates.
Can I apply for multiple locations?
No, only one application per business, per person, and per household. If you apply for more than one location for your business, you may be disqualified.
I have more than one business; can I apply for each business?
No, only one application per business, per person, and per household. If you apply more than once, you may be disqualified.
We have multiple business owners/partners; can we each apply to Solano Success?
No, only one application per business, per person, and per household. If more than one person applies for the same business, you may be disqualified.
Selection: Who is Awarded?
How are applicants selected?
Selection of 100 awarded businesses will be done in 2 rounds over 2023-2024:
- For Round 1, all businesses that applied by the 12/2/2022 deadline will be eligible.
- Applicants will be selected in the order they appear in a random lottery and will need to show proof of eligibility per the criteria outlined above. If ineligible, the next in the list will be selected and checked for eligibility and so forth.
- For Round 2, the application will reopen and businesses who missed the original deadline may apply.
- All applicants who were not selected in Round 1 along with the new applicants will be part of a new random lottery with the same process as Round 1.
- Any subsequent rounds will follow the same process (i.e. open to new applicants + past applicants who were not selected will AUTOMATICALLY move forward to the next round. There will be a new random lottery to select participants).
How will I know if I’m selected?
You will be contacted using the phone number and email address you provided in your application.
Do I have to be an SBDC business client?
You do not need to be an SBDC client to apply, but if you are accepted, you must be a Solano-Napa SBDC client to participate. If you are not already a SBDC business client, you can sign up prior to the first session.
Note: There is NO COST to receiving help from the SBDC.
Expectations: Requirements If Selected
What can I expect?
If you are selected, you will develop and/or expand your business plans, receive one-on-one support working with a Business Advisor, and learn how to pitch your business to attract funding — all to support you in being more successful!
This is done in a training course over six weeks, meeting regularly on a weekly basis for sessions (six 1.5 hour sessions held online), PLUS working one-on-one with an assigned SBDC Business Advisor to help you plan and grow.
100 businesses will be awarded, taught in groups of up to 20 at a time. For the first group, the course begins on January 10, 2023 and meets every Tuesday 6-7:30pm. During each session, participants will learn about and be exposed to current industry best practices from expert Business Advisors from the Solano-Napa SBDC.
Outside of class time, you’ll meet weekly with your Business Advisor at a time you both arrange; this will provide you with one-on-one support to plan, improve and grow your business, and learn how to pitch your business to attract funding.
The final sixth session ends with all participants doing a pitch presentation. Participants who have completed all the components (weekly meetings including a final pitch, weekly meetings with a Business Advisor, and any required weekly work to plan your success) will receive an ARPA-funded $4,000 grant to grow and expand their business.
Are classes mandatory?
Yes, you must attend ALL six sessions over the six weeks in order to receive grant funding.
If I have to miss one of the meetings, how do I make it up?
You will not be able to make up a missed meeting. You can continue to attend the trainings but you will not be eligible for grant funding if you miss a meeting.
Are participants required to present at the end?
Yes, all participants must finish the program and present a business ‘pitch’ to qualify for grant funding. This final session is online via Zoom.
If I am selected to participate, how many hours per week will I have to dedicate to this program?
You can expect to work a minimum of 4 hours a week to grow and improve your business.
This includes 1.5 hours for the weekly session, 1 hour to meet with your Business Advisor, and an additional 1.5 hours to work on the weekly topic.
Will there be assignments or homework?
Yes, participants will be expected to complete assignments every week.
Will I be assigned a Business Advisor?
Yes, all participants will be assigned a Solano-Napa SBDC Business Advisor. Each participant will meet weekly with their assigned or existing Business Advisor (in addition to the regular weekly sessions) to receive support in progressing through through the program.
Meetings can be online, via phone, or in-person, as arranged by you and your advisor.
Where will the six weekly classes be held?
All sessions will be held online via Zoom.
If I am in the class, can my spouse/partner also participate in the training?
If your spouse/partner is a partner in your business, then they may attend the training with you (it is recommended but it is not required).