Technical assistance and grant program launches for small businesses

June 30, 2023 /

The  Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Technical Assistance and Grant Program will be launching on July first to assist small businesses. The program is through State University Bakersfield’s (CSUB) Small Business Development Center and Division of Extended Education and Global Outreach, the Kern Community College District’s (KCCD) Bakersfield College (BC) Launchpad. and the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce.

Small businesses will have the opportunity to apply for grants ranging between $5,000 to $40,000 and technical assistance to help develop business plans according to NaTesha Johnson, director of entrepreneurship and workforce development for KCCD.  

“So, it’s not where we just give a check and say here you go. We’re providing the necessary educational resources for sustainability for our small businesses,” said Johnson. 

Eligible businesses are those with less than two years of operation, 10 employees or less, and established businesses with 25 employees or less. Businesses must operate within the city limits of Bakersfield and be within the designated census tracks for the grant. 

For businesses that are outside the census tracks, they may still be eligible if their household income matches the eligibility requirements. 

“Basically what we’ve learned from COVID is that you can have money to support the necessary needs of businesses but they still need that educational component which means understanding their business,” said Johnson. 

She continued to state that an entrepreneurial mindset is needed of understanding financial plans and marketing strategies. 

Johnson recommends any small businesses trying to get off the ground to get technical assistance rather it be from the KCCD Launchpad or any of the other partners. 

“Understand what your business looks like. The grant is not going to be helpful if you don’t know how to utilize the fund once you get it and what that looks like,” said Johnson. “Often times we run to the money but we don’t have a business plan. We don’t really fully understand what that means and it’s about economic sustainability.”

After getting the grant Johnson stated that the business will be able to use it towards different things like payroll, benefits, licenses, and permits. 

“We’re looking at job creation. That’s what this is really about is okay how can we build out and grow your business,” said Johnson. 

To apply to the grant, businesses can go directly to the sites for any of the partners working with the grant or email

After getting in contact with the launchpad they will hold a virtual intake orientation to see if the business is eligible for the grant or the technical assistance. 

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JaNell Gore

Ja'Nell Gore is a student at Cal State Bakersfield. In addition to writing for Kern Sol News she is a poet who loves any chance she has to perform and be with her community.