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Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development Micro-Grants

Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development (SEED) is an initiative funded by California’s Employment Training Panel aiming to support the entrepreneurship of immigrants and limited English proficient entrepreneurs who face significant employment barriers, increase California’s economic diversity and help spur business innovation across the state. 

The SEED Initiative provides entrepreneurial training, technical assistance to target populations and micro-grants of up to $ 7,500 to support them in starting or maintaining a small business in California aimed at addressing a social problem or meeting a community need.

Caravanserai Project, in partnership with Uplift San Bernardino at the Making Hope Happen Foundation and Get in Motion Entrepreneurs, joined the SEED Initiative in June 2022 and was awarded a $2 million grant. The SEED Initiative is a 24-month program and our goal is to support over 200 Latin@ entrepreneurs in the Inland Empire of California.

As part of the SEED Initiative, Caravanserai Project and its partners will provide entrepreneurial training and technical support to Inland Empire based Latin@ entrepreneurs (for profit, nonprofit or sole proprietor). The successful graduating entrepreneurs are eligible for micro-grants of up to $ 7,500

Eligibility for the Entrepreneurship Training Program

  • Individuals with limited English proficiency and Spanish native speakers, regardless of immigration or citizenship status;
  • U.S. citizens or individuals who are neither U.S. citizens nor lawful permanent residents (including those who may not be lawfully present in the U.S., and individuals who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS);
  • Participants must be residents of the State of California and preference is given to Inland Empire based early-stage or advanced Hispanic entrepreneurs;
  • Participants can be for profit, nonprofit or sole proprietor entrepreneurs.
  • Must have a decision-making role in the venture (founder owning at least 51%, CEO, Executive Director etc.)
  • Individuals located in California.
  • Applicants must be fluent in Spanish language. 

Eligibility for the SEED Initiative Micro-grants (up to $7,500 each)

  • Attend and graduate the Business Readiness Training Program  and the technical assistance coaching program (16 hours over 8 weeks);
  • Be in compliance with California’s regulations regarding small businesses;
  • Preparing a business plan and comprehensive strategy about the venture’s next steps and use of funds;
  • Proven track record (filed taxes, business permits, investments, banking relations, sales, invoices, payroll, contracts, leases, documents that show that the venture has been active etc.) is required.
  • Agree to inform Caravanserai Project about the progress of their business for at least one year or until the business is no longer operating.
  • The applicants and businesses must be located in California.

How to join

1. Apply to the SEED Initiative

Between July 15 - September 30, 2022 for the 2022 cohorts.

2. Selection of Applicants

A selection committee will review the applications

3. Notifications Sent to Applicants

Acceptance emails and cohort group sent soon after applying.

3. Attend the mandatory Entrepreneurship Training Program and coaching

Multiple cohorts (in person and online) will be available throughout the SEED Initiative program. (Scroll down to learn more)

4. Submit Required Documents

Upon completion of the training and coaching sessions, meeting the program's requirements, and submitting required documents, successful graduates will be considered for a grant of up to $7,500

6. Micro-grants awarded

Distribution of the micro-grants is made by Caravanserai Project

Business Readiness Training Program 2.0

The Business Readiness Training Program 2.0 aims to provide Latin@ early-stage and more advanced entrepreneurs (for profit, non profit or sole proprietor) from historically marginalized and underserved communities the tools to launch and/or grow their small businesses. 

The program is highly interactive and is designed to create an inclusive and supportive environment for the participants in order to incentivize them to take action and apply in real time the information and tools acquired. The participants have cohort-based workshops as well as ongoing small groups (4-5 participants) meetings and coaching (16 hours over 8 weeks). At the end of the training, the participants are expected to present to the cohort their business based on a predetermined structure that reflects the topics discussed during the training and a clear road map showcasing the entrepreneur’s next steps and plans. 

Workshops

  • The basics of entrepreneurship topics: Product-market fit – startup/business life cycle – Business funding;
  • Customer discovery;
  • Competitive Analysis and Business Strategies;
  • Business planning and business road mapping;
  • Financial (budgeting, financial assumptions, planning and statements, pricing);
  • Team building, marketing and sales;
  • Scaling up: Innovation and technology for entrepreneurs;
  • The effective entrepreneur: Self-improvement strategies.

UPCOMING COHORTS 2022

applications for the 2022 cohorts are open until September 30th. 

Sept 6 – Oct 6

  • Online Format
  • Zoom
  • Time: Tuesday and Thursday evenings
  • Frequency: Once a week
  • 35 participants
  • Language: Spanish
  •  

Oct 11 – Nov 10

  • Online format
  • Zoom
  • Time: Tuesday and Thursday evenings
  • Frequency: Once a week
  • 35 participants
  • Language: Spanish

Nov 29 – Jan 19

  • Online format
  • Zoom
  • Time: Tuesday and Thursday evenings
  • Frequency: Once a week
  • 35 participants
  • Language: Spanish

COHORTS 2023

applications for the 2023 cohorts will be open between October 1 – December 1, 2022.

February – March*

  • Format – TBD (online or in  person)
  • Time: Evenings & Sat
  • Frequency: Once a week
  • 35 participants
  • Language: Spanish

*More specific details about the exact timeline will be announced soon.

April – May*

  • Format – TBD (online or in  person)
  • Time: Evenings & Sat
  • Frequency: Once a week
  • 35 participants
  • Language: Spanish

*More specific details about the exact timeline will be announced soon.

Contact us at seed2@caravanseraiproject.org with any questions or comments.

Frequently Asked Questions

The amount awarded is based on the application, progress during the training program and coaching sessions. Ventures that have been active for less than 6 months are eligible for up to $3,500 and are required to submit a business plan and a strategy demonstrating next steps how the funds will be used. Ventures that have been active for more than 6 months are eligible for up to $7,500. In this case in addition to a business plan and a strategy demonstrating how the funds will be used and next steps, they have to demonstrate uninterrupted business activity (documents such as but not limited to filed taxes, business permits, investments, banking relations, sales, invoices, payroll, contracts, leases, documents etc.). 

Yes. As SEED Initiative Partner, Caravanserai Project and it partners are selecting the recipients of the micro-grants and disbursing the funding to selected awardees.

Yes. Only entrepreneurs who successfully graduate the Entrepreneurship Training Program and attend the mentoring sessions and meet the rest of the criteria are eligible for micro-grants.

Up to $7,500 will be awarded as micro-grants.

No. The entrepreneur are eligible to receive only one micro-grant.

Any nonprofit or for-profit enterprises, including sole proprietors, are eligible to apply as long as they fulfill the requirements for the SEED Initiative. 

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