Mr. Chicken Rotisserie on International Boulevard in deep East Oakland. Credit: Pete Rosos

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The City of Oakland is hosting a series of workshops to help small business owners apply for up to $15,000 in federal cash advances. The relief payments, offered through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan fund, are available to small businesses and nonprofits located in low-income areas, including much of Oakland. Unlike a loan, the one-time payments do not need to be repaid.

INformational workshops

Thursday, July 29

81st Avenue Branch of the Oakland Public Library (1021 81st Ave.)

Sessions at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 4

81st Avenue Branch of the Oakland Public Library (1021 81st Ave.)

Sessions at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Thursday, August 5

West Oakland Youth Center (3233 Market St.)

Sessions at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Attendance is limited based on the number of computers at each location. The workshops at the 81st Avenue library are capped at 25 and the sessions at the West Oakland Youth Center are capped at 13.

Attendance is limited based on the number of computers at each location. The workshops at the 81st Avenue library are capped at 25 and the sessions at the West Oakland Youth Center are capped at 13.

Those interested in attending any of the workshops should first register online. Attendees should also know or bring the following information to the session: your business classification, a tax identification number, a copy of your most recent federal income tax return, and a copy of the commercial lease for your business if you have one. A full list of required documents can be found here. 

Business owners who need an interpreter should contact Gil Gonzales of the Economic & Workforce Development Department at ggonzales@oaklandca.gov or call 510-244-4852 five days in advance of the workshop they’ll be attending. The Small Business Administration offers information on the advances in several different languages such as Spanish, Mandarin, and Vietnamese here. 

The workshops will be led by Gil Gonzales, a FUSE Corp fellow working with the city’s Economic and Workforce Development Department. The city may decide to schedule future workshops if these ones prove popular, according to Harry Hamilton, a marketing coordinator for the department.

A majority of Oakland neighborhoods are considered to be low-income by the Small Business Administration, and businesses in these areas qualify for the assistance. To see if your business is in a qualifying area, you can check the SBA’s online mapping tool

Ricky Rodas is a member of the 2020 graduating class of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Before joining The Oaklandside, he spent two years reporting on immigrant communities in the Bay Area as a reporter for the local news sites Oakland North, Mission Local, and Richmond Confidential. Rodas, who is Salvadoran American and bilingual, is on The Oaklandside team through a partnership with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.