By Antonio Ray Harvey, California Black Media

Just in case Black businesses in the state are not aware, the California legislature recently passed the $100 billion California Comeback Plan. It is the biggest economic recovery package in California history.

And in it, there are billions of dollars in cash relief for small businesses.

State Treasurer Fiona Ma and Small Business Majority, an advocacy organization founded by and for small business owners, are hosting a webinar to share information about the new entrepreneurship programs included in the California Comeback Plan. It will be held at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 25.

““As California businesses emerge from survival mode and embark on various stages of re-opening, now is the time to develop strategies that can help companies get the jumpstart they need and grow in innovative ways,” said Ma when she first announced the webinar series.

During the upcoming briefing, the leaders will also share information about how CalSavers, a free individual retirement account (IRA) for small business employers, can help small business owners rehire employees laid off due to the pandemic.

They will also talk about the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant’s reopening. That program, valued at more than $2 billion, has been providing grants of up to $25,000 to small businesses sand non-profits across the state.

California is home to 4.1 million small businesses, representing over 99% of all businesses in the state and employing nearly half of the state’s total workforce. About 1.2 million of them (29%) are minority-owned.

In June, Gov. Gavin Newsom visited two Black-owned small businesses in Oakland to spread the gospel about the California Comeback Plan, which Ma intends to also do during the webinar.

“This isn’t all about dollars and cents. This is about magical moments. This is about communities,” Newsom said, speaking of supporting Black businesses while he was standing in front of Graffiti Pizza in Oakland. “Small businesses are about communities.”

ZIPPIA, an online career support company, calculated that 10,287 Black-owned businesses operate in the state of California.

According to the June 2020 report by ZIPPIA, titled the “Most Supportive States for Black Businesses,” California ranked No. 4 before the onset of the pandemic. But those numbers fell in the first half 2020 after being impacted by a sluggish economy that is now looking to rebound more than a year later.

Based on information from the United States Census’ Annual Business Survey, California’s Black businesses hire roughly 81,530 employees, according to ZIPPIA.

Topics up for discussion during the webinar will include the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program and when to apply; the Microbusiness COVID-19 Relief Grant Program and the California Venues Grant Program (both new); and CalSavers, a free workplace-based retirement program.

A question-and-answer session will follow the discussions.

The California Comeback Plan was designed to provide support for small businesses to recover from the pandemic. The plan invests an additional $1.5 billion in COVID-19 relief grants – bringing the total to $4 billion. That amount represents the largest small business grant program in the country.

Earlier this year, Gov.Newsom delivered immediate relief to small businesses, including a historic $6.2 billion tax cut for businesses — the largest state small business tax cut in the history of the United States, according to the governor’s office.

“When you talk about California roaring back you can’t come roaring about unless small businesses are fully back,” Newsom said during his Oakland visit.

For information and the webinar hosted by Small Business Majority, visit https://smallbusinessmajority.org/events