September 7, 2022
Today's edition features:

  • A new grant application portal for microbusinesses
  • Updates on Palo Alto City Council actions relating to local streets and water conservation
  • Fiber Internet survey and deposit program
  • FireMed program for businesses
  • An opportunity for a free energy consultation
  • A chance to register for a free accelerator program

Keep reading to connect to business resources and updates.
County of Santa Clara Microbusiness Grant Application Portal Now Open 
The County of Santa Clara and the Enterprise Foundation are again accepting applications for the Microbusiness Grant Program, which will grant $2,500 to qualified businesses affected by COVID-19. The application portal will be open until the funds are exhausted. To qualify, microbusinesses must have been open in 2019, still be operational in 2022, have made less than $50,000 in total revenue in each of the last three years, and have less than 5 employees. Grants will be awarded by November 30, 2022.  
Palo Alto Streets Closed through December 31, 2023 
On May 16, 2022 Council moved to adopt Resolution 10039 and Resolution 10040 which authorized the City Manager to continue to close California Avenue from El Camino Real to Park Boulevard, and Ramona Street between Hamilton Avenue and University Avenue, until December 31, 2023. This decision was based in part on feedback gathered from the public engagement process, including a survey which received 648 responses from the community.  

City Council directed interim changes to the outdoor dining on closed streets on May 16, 2022. These changes included implementing an emergency access lane and requiring edge treatments around outdoor dining spaces on closed streets. The City Council also directed staff to work with businesses to transition from larger tents to smaller shade tents and umbrellas to provide a more open-air landscape. The installation of visual enhancements and aesthetic features is also under development to help increase foot traffic to local businesses. 

The City is working concurrently on a permanent parklet program, and evaluating alternative long-term options for the closed streets. 
City Seeking Input on Palo Alto's Fiber Effort, Exploring High-Speed, Broadband Internet Services
The City of Palo Alto is exploring providing high-speed, broadband internet services directly to your business as part of the Palo Alto Fiber effort.  

Strong community and business interest is an important factor for consideration as the City considers options related to locally controlled internet services. Share your input on potential services and other key elements by taking the Business Internet Survey or you can demonstrate support by submitting a $50 deposit. 
New Palo Alto FireMed Program Available for Businesses
Protect your business, your employees, and your bank account with Palo Alto FireMed. The Palo Alto FireMed program is a monthly subscription service that provides peace of mind in the event of an emergency. For as little as $20.00/month you receive unlimited zero-cost emergency medical ambulance rides from your business in Palo Alto for your employees. Next time there’s an emergency, you can focus on your business instead of worrying about the bill.  
Get a Free Consultation with the Business Electrification Technical Assistance Program
Want to maximize comfort for your employees and customers while minimizing your utility bill and your carbon footprint? The Business Electrification Technical Assistance Program provides a unique opportunity to receive: 
  • Free consultation and on-site assessments to identify energy efficiency options relevant to your business and facilities  
  • Help finding qualified contractors to complete efficiency upgrades  
  • Rebates for eligible products to help offset project costs  
  • Lower utility costs with more efficient equipment 
To qualify, you must be a non-residential customer who receives utility service from the City’s Utilities Department with a currently operational facility. 
New Water Conservation Regulations are in Effect
California’s severe drought continues, and current restrictions are in effect. Water waste is prohibited in Palo Alto, including runoff, use of a hose without a hose nozzle or shut-off device, non-recirculating fountains, and non-recirculating commercial car washes. In addition, new rules are in effect for businesses, construction, and restaurants. 
  1. New rule: No watering of ornamental lawns or turf. The State of California has banned the use of potable water (drinking water) to irrigate non-functional, ornamental lawns or turf at commercial, industrial, and institutional sites. Watering exceptions apply for functional turf (e.g. playing fields and golf courses). Irrigation is prohibited entirely for non-functional turf unless to protect the health of trees or perennial plants (non-turf), or to address an immediate health and safety need. 
  2. Watering days apply to ornamental landscapes. The two days per week rule applies to ornamental landscapes, which includes landscaping for purely decorative purposes, distinguished from trees, edible gardens or landscapes that are functional as well as aesthetic. For non-residential customers who irrigate by zone, irrigation of ornamental landscapes with potable water is permitted more than two days per week, as long as each irrigation zone within an individual property is irrigated no more than two days per week. 
  3. Restaurants provide customers with water only upon request. 
  4. Hotels and motels provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily. The hotel or motel shall prominently display notice of this option in each guestroom using clear and easily understood language. 
  5. Do not use water for construction purposes when non-potable sources are available. 
Registration Open for Free Small Business Accelerator Program
Capital Planning for Product Development, an upcoming four-session module from California's Small Business Development Center (SBDC), provides an opportunity to discuss accelerator strategies such as understanding your business funding needs, getting to know various sources of capital, and learning to plan for financial success as an entrepreneur. Sessions take place on September 13, 15, 20, and 22.  
Business Resources
Find business resources, opportunities for doing business with the City, COVID-19 assistance, and more at the link below.
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