The FinSmart Program is designed to support underbanked and unbanked small business entrepreneurs and their families improve both their business and personal financial knowledge and financial behaviors in order to promote financial independence and stability, advance economic mobility, and generate wealth. The program aims to support California-based small business entrepreneurs, whether they are planning to start a business or are already generating revenue, regardless of their industry focus, prioritizing historically under-served and under-resourced individuals.
The Program is designed to provide highly customized and individualized support to reflect the needs and interests of the participants.
Start-up and more advanced small business entrepreneurs and their families/business partners with limited financial knowledge. Preference is given to individuals from historically underserved regions of California, in general, and Inland Empire, in particular.
“Unbanked” is defined as an individual or household that has no checking or savings account at a bank or credit union. “Underbanked” represents those who may have a bank account but still rely on alternative financial services such as payday loans or check-cashing services.
The FinSmart Program is a cohort program that includes workshops and small group coaching and mentorship. Both the workshops and coaching/mentorships sessions are very interactive and customized to reflect the needs and interests of the participants.
Free of charge: The program is free of charge for California-based small business entrepreneurs.
The Program is funded by the CalMoneySmart, an initiative of the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation which began when Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 455 (Bradford) in October 2019. Senate Bill 455 created the Financial Empowerment Fund to fund a grant program for nonprofit organizations. Caravanserai Project joined the CalMoneySmart Program in August 2023.
Upcoming Spanish Cohort:
7 Workshops: November 6th – December 6th, 2023; 4 Coaching/Mentorship Sessions: January 1st-31st, 2024
Upcoming English Cohort
7 Workshops: February 19th – March 11th 2024, 4 Coaching/Mentorship Sessions: April 1st-31st, 2024
(Spanish Cohort Week 1 - November 6th, 2023; 5-7pm)
(English Cohort Week 1 - February 19th, 2024; 5-7pm)
The goal is to teach fundamental concepts such as budgeting, saving, and understanding income and expenses, tax obligations, the importance of keeping records for tax purposes etc. The workshop helps underbanked entrepreneurs understand how to track their cash flows, separate personal and business finances, and create financial goals.
Record Keeping and Bookkeeping
(Spanish Cohort Week 1 - November 8th, 2023; 5-7pm)
(English Cohort Week 1 - February 21st, 2024; 5-7pm)
This workshop demonstrates the significance of maintaining accurate records and financial documentation for their business, as well as at personal level. It also teaches basic bookkeeping skills and the use of accounting tools or software to track income, expenses, and profit/loss.
Banking and Financial Services
(Spanish Cohort Week 2 - November 13th, 2023; 5-7pm)
(English Cohort Week 2 - February 26th, 2024; 5-7pm)
The goal of this workshop is to educate about different banking options available to participants (opening a bank account, understanding different types of accounts), benefits of using formal financial services, personal and business credit. It also informs about best practices that an individual should adopt at business and personal levels in order to improve their financial standing. The workshop connects the participants to bankers in order to develop a personal relationship and eliminate any discomfort and anxieties.
Financial Planning and Goal Setting
(Spanish Cohort Week 2 - November 15th, 2023; 5-7pm)
(English Cohort Week 2 - February 28th, 2024; 5-7pm)
This workshop helps entrepreneurs develop a financial plan for their business that also suits their personal experience and resources. It encourages them to set realistic short-term and long-term goals, create a budget, and plan for emergencies or unexpected expenses. It teaches them the importance of financial discipline and regular savings from both a business and personal perspective.
Access to Financial Resource
(spanish Cohort Week 3 - November 27th, 2023; 5-7pm)
(English Cohort Week 3 - March 4th, 2024; 5-7pm)
This workshop focuses on helping for-profit and nonprofit entrepreneurs refine their customer/beneficiary profiles to better understand and connect with their target audiences. Participants will learn practical strategies to gather valuable insights, analyze customer data, and create detailed customer/beneficiary personas.
(Spanish Cohort Week 3 - November 29th, 2023; 5-7pm)
(English Cohort Week 3 - March 6th, 2024; 5-7pm)
This workshop creates awareness of memories or mindset about money to process anxiety and learn how to move forward with budgeting and money allocation. Entrepreneurs learn about the relation between money. The learning objectives are to provide steps to recognize financial barriers and overcome financial trauma and improve this relationship.
(Spanish cohort Week 4 - December 4th, 2023; 5-7pm)
(English Cohort Week 4 - March 11th, 2024; 5-7pm)
The final workshop focuses on reviewing the progress made since the beginning of the program as well as discussing and finding solutions to some of the challenges and setbacks faced. It also aims to build on these developments and establish the next set of expectations and benchmarks in relation to the topics discussed during the program.
(Spanish Cohort January 1st-31st, 2024)
(English Cohort April 1st-31st, 2024)
Up to 5 participants have the opportunity to zoom in on aspects that were discussed during the workshops. Each group will attend 4 customized and individualized coaching/mentorships sessions.