Economic Development News from the East Bay | March 2021

This Women’s History Month marks a year that has been highlighted by the need for leadership, innovation, and collaboration like never before due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Women everywhere – including a number of East Bay women – were part of history.

Headlining that group, Vice President Kamala Harris became the first woman, the first Black American, and the first South Asian American to be elected Vice President. Jennifer Doudna won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her pioneering work in CRISPR gene editing, advances which are now being used in the fight against the coronavirus. Congresswoman Barbara Lee continues to make history, serving on several committees for which she is the only African American woman in the 117th United States Congress. Corrina Gould is the tribal spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan/Ohlone. Born and raised in her ancestral homeland, the Ohlone territory of Huchiun, she is a Co-Founder/Co-Director of the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust.

Read the full blog post where we highlight important organizations working to empower and celebrate women across the region, including AAPI Women Lead, Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame, Contra Costa Commission for Women & Girls, Scientific Adventures for Girls and many more!

As we mark the one-year point since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some signs of hope on the horizon as new resources and supports become available for business owners, families, and workers. On March 11, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, providing an array of investments and programs to help jump-start and sustain our economic recovery. (The National Association of Counties recently published this helpful summary.) Last month, the Governor and California Legislature enacted a stimulus package that included a variety of components to provide direct relief to individuals and families, assist small businesses, invest in additional childcare services and school reopening efforts, and much more.

The timing of these federal and state efforts is crucial, particularly as signs are emerging that the region’s economy and labor market may be stalling. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), now under the leadership of California’s own Isabella Guzman, has several different COVID-19 relief programs to help businesses access grants and loans to meet their capital needs. At the state level, the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz) has launched Round 4 of the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, with future rounds coming up very soon (Round 5 opens on March 25). The resources under the SBA and GO-Biz are just a few of the many resources out there for East Bay small businesses. To get more information and learn about others, make sure to visit our regularly-updated COVID-19 resource page.

The East Bay’s post-pandemic “reset” presents an opportunity to develop a bold vision for concerted actions that promote community-centered solutions to reimagine a region that enables access to economic opportunity for all. To this end, East Bay EDA is bringing together regional business and community leaders across various sectors to delve into critical issues and identify focused policy actions and strategies to meet the challenges ahead. This work will culminate in a regional economic analysis we will be releasing this fall called East Bay Forward, which we anticipate will serve as a roadmap for our region’s future.

Last October, the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, a nonprofit in Oakland, California, hosted a virtual event called “Beyond the Gig Economy.” The Presidential election was a week away, and a new law on the ballot, Proposition 22, promised to affect the fate of many of California’s gig workers. In 2019, the state’s legislature..." Read more.

The East Bay EDA Speaker Series continues to bring timely discussions in 2021. In addition to recent coverage in The New Yorker, the series recently featured discussions on East Bay Innovation and Resiliency, Biomedical Manufacturing and Public Health, Urban Reuse and Adaptation, and much more. Visit our events page to watch past recordings!

This week Contra Costa County opened COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for residents 50 and older. As the vaccine supply and distribution continues to evolve, we are encouraging our community to stay updated with the latest information. Please visit Alameda Health Care Services Agency and Contra Costa Health Services for the latest respective updates.

Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a comprehensive package of immediate actions that will speed needed relief to individuals, families and businesses suffering the most significant economic hardship due to COVID-19. These updates include relief for individuals and families, small businesses, fee waivers for licenses, child care resources, and more.
Business Resources

The California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC) is an income tax credit available to businesses that want to locate in California or stay and grow in California. Businesses of any industry, size, or location compete for over $180 million available in tax credits. The current CCTC application period closes on March 29, 2021.
Paycheck Protection Program

The SBA is currently offering Paycheck Protection Program(PPP) loans until March 31, 2021. President Biden announced program changes to make access to PPP loans more equitable. PPP is an SBA-backed loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more.