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Governor Newsom Highlights Investments in Entrepreneurship Initiative During Visit to Immigrant-Owned Small Business 

Governor Newsom and small business owners discuss the importance of SEED microgrants

SEED is a $30 million initiative supporting entrepreneurship for Californians facing significant employment barriers

California’s support for immigrants is bolstered by further proposed investments for a strong economy that embraces diversity and opportunity for all

HUNTINGTON PARK – Following meetings with world leaders at the Summit of the Americas, Governor Gavin Newsom, joined by California Labor Secretary Natalie Palugyai, today visited Sazon Bar & Grill, an immigrant-owned restaurant in Huntington Park which received financial support from the state’s Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development (SEED) initiative. SEED is a $30 million initiative supporting entrepreneurship and worker cooperatives as an opportunity pathway for Californians who face significant employment barriers due to limited English proficiency or immigration status.

“The California Dream should be available to all Californians, regardless of immigration status or background,” said Governor Newsom. “Zacil and Coco are proof that the Dream is alive and well in the State of California. We know that immigrants and their children are integral to California’s identity, and bring new talent and ideas to our economy. That’s why we’ve invested $30 million in our SEED initiative and are proposing more investments to support an economy with inclusive opportunity for all.”

Governor Newsom visits small business owners supported by state’s Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development initiative

Sazon Bar & Grill is a traditional Mexican street food restaurant owned by Zacil Pech and her mother Maria “Coco” Del Socorro Vazquez, an immigrant and single mother. After opening in 2021, they received a SEED grant and will be celebrating their one-year anniversary on July 10th.

“As the daughter of immigrants and California’s first Latina Labor Secretary, I know firsthand that immigrants shape our cultural identity and economic growth in powerful ways,” said Natalie Palugyai, Secretary of the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency. “Immigrants comprise a third of California’s workforce, and opportunities such as SEED grants reflect the immense value we place in providing this community and workforce with pathways to economic success.”

California is ranked as the most diverse state in the nation, with immigrants making up nearly 27 percent of the population and a third of the entire labor force. California is home to 829,369 immigrant entrepreneurs and 25 Fortune 500 companies founded by immigrants or children of immigrants, according to data from the American Immigration Council. Immigrants strengthen the state’s workforce across industries, from Fortune 500 companies to neighborhood microbusinesses.

In 2020, Governor Newsom proposed $10 million in one-time funding to create SEED – which was continued with a $20 million investment in 2021. SEED provides micro-grants, entrepreneurial training, and technical assistance supporting the start or maintenance of a small business. SEED also supports the creation and sustainability of worker-owned businesses and cooperatives, including support for the conversion of small businesses to employee ownership.

SEED is administered in partnership with nonprofit CBOs helping underserved communities in culturally and linguistically effective ways. The initiative assists individuals with limited English proficiency, regardless of immigration or citizenship status, as well as noncitizens including undocumented immigrants, refugees, and asylees.

Last year, Governor Newsom implemented the largest small business relief program in the nation, investing $4 billion in direct grants and $6.2 billion in tax cuts for California’s businesses. In this year’s state budget, Governor Newsom is proposing further investments in inclusive opportunity through:

  • California’s Care Economy: $1.46 billion to maximize a diverse and culturally competent workforce, improve job quality, increase career opportunities, and advance health equity, to help meet existing and future needs for a Healthy California for All.
  • Small Business Support: $650 million in grants and tax breaks to small businesses suffering from the pandemic, including an additional $150 million more for the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant Program and $60 million to help new businesses launch successfully, and create a more diverse and locally-based state economy.
  • Integrated Education and Training: $60 million over three years to expand the English Language Learner pilots in the Integrated Education and Training programs, combining contextualized English language instruction with vocational skills training for in-demand occupations.
  • Workforce Literacy: $20 million to expand workplace literacy training in contextualized English, digital skills, and technical skills training. This will build more skilled workforces and provide pathways to higher wages and better jobs for immigrants.
  • California Youth Leadership Program Language Justice Pathway: $10 million to expand learn-and-earn community change career pathways for community college students, including immigrant youth, through the California Youth Leadership Corps, a new statewide partnership between the Labor Agency, the Community Learning Partnership, selected California community colleges, local nonprofit organizations, and community partners.
  • Export Training Network: $2 million to support the statewide expansion of the Export Training Network, within the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), which develops programs and curriculum aimed at underserved business owners, including immigrant entrepreneurs and small business operators.
  • Business Quick Start and Navigational Guides: $600,000 to expand the number and availability of Business Quick Start Guides and develop navigational guides regarding the professional licensing process for immigrants, with additional translations for these resources and online services.
  • Grants for Local Government: $8.7 million for competitive grants to local governments to help immigrant populations navigate state and local services including workforce and entrepreneurship supports.
  • Immigrant-Focused Position: Ongoing funding for a position at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) to support statewide immigrant integration coordination.