The California Dream Fund
is a training and microgrant program
for California entrepreneurs
The Los Angeles SBDC is a designated training partner for the California Dream Fund.
The California Dream Fund Grant Program is a one-time $35 million grant program launched by the State of California to provide microgrants up to $10,000 to seed qualifying small business creation throughout California.
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How the CA Dream Fund Program Works
Businesses that meet eligibility requirements can apply for the microgrant (up to $10,000) by working with a designated training partner, such as the LA SBDC, to meet the Dream Fund’s qualifications.
Attend the Training Program
California entrepreneurs register to attend intensive startup training and 1:1 advising offered through a designated Dream Fund training partner, such as the LA SBDC.
Obtain permits & licenses; register your business
Register your business entity, and obtain all necessary permits and licenses to operate legally. LA SBDC small business experts can walk you through the process if you need assistance.
Launch Your Business
Participants in the program formally launch their business by making a first sale, hiring an employee, creating a business banking relationship, or spending money on qualified business expenses.
Apply for a CA Dream Fund Grant
After completing the above steps, new business owners will apply for the grant and submit their formal business plan to a state-appointed third-party grant administrator.
Please note: There is no guarantee of funding for participating in the training program. The state-appointed third-party grant administrator determines who receives a grant and for what amount.
Registration for the first training track, Ready, Set, Retail is now closed. Other Dream Fund training classes will be announced soon, including:
Restaurants & Food Services
CA Dream Fund FAQ
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LA SBDC CA Dream Fund Program
+ What is the LA SBDC’s role in the CA Dream Fund grant program?
Our role is to facilitate the CA Dream Fund training program and validate that the grant applicant’s business has been formally launched. Once business owners have completed the training program, they are eligible to begin the grant application process, administered through a state-appointed third-party grant administrator.
+ I’m not located in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara or Ventura County, can I still apply for the grant program?
Yes, businesses located outside of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties can apply to training programs offered by other CA Dream Fund partners. Download a PDF list of all designated training partners for this State-wide program here.
+ When will the LA SBDC’s Dream Fund training begin?
The LA SBDC is launching the first round of training in on April 26th, 2022. This training is designed to help Retail businesses that will be launched this year. Details will be announced soon.
+ Where will the training be held?
The LA SBDC Dream Fund training will be held online. You can access the training from your laptop or mobile device.
+ Will the Dream Fund training be available in multiple languages?
The LA SBDC will offer training in English and Spanish.
+ Which topics will be covered in the Dream Fund training?
The LA SBDC will provide training in business planning, marketing, licensing and permitting, accounting and cash flow, accessing capital, and more.
+ How long is the training?
The training program will consist of at least eight 60- to 90-minute online courses. The duration of the training from start to finish is 3 to 8 weeks.
CA Dream Fund Microgrant
+ What qualifies a business to apply for the microgrant?
In order to qualify for the Dream Fund microgrant, the business owner applicant must:
- Complete the small business training curriculum + at least one 1:1 advising session through a designated training partner, such as the LA SBDC
- Acquire the necessary permits and licenses to operate legally in California, including registering the business entity.
- Have at least one qualifying event to demonstrate business was launched: hire employee(s), form business banking relationship, make first sale, spend money on business expenses, access capital
- Agree to report on the progress of new business for at least one year
+ How can CA Dream Funds be used?
Funds can be used to:
- 1. Invest in working capital, equipment, and/or inventory
- 2. Apply for, or renew local permits and licenses
- 3. Pay expenses related to business formation and business operations
+ I am undocumented. Can I apply for the CA Dream Fund grant?
LA SBDC Program Eligibility
+ Can one applicant submit multiple businesses?
No. To ensure that funding reaches as many entrepreneurs as possible, applicants may only participate once.
+ Are you allowing proxies for the training program or does the same person need to attend all training sessions?
The business owner needs to complete the full training and advising program.
+ Are sole proprietors eligible for the program? What licenses/certifications will be required of a sole proprietor?
Yes. Sole proprietors are eligible. Sole proprietors will be required to provide a Fictitious Business Name (FBN) as part of their application.
+ Are gig workers like Uber and Lyft drivers eligible for participation?
No. Gig or contract workers, such as Uber or Lyft drivers, are not eligible for the CA Dream Fund program.
+ Are cannabis businesses eligible for participation?
No. Cannabis businesses are not eligible for the CA Dream Fund program.
+ Are family of employees who work for service providers eligible to participate?
Business owners who wish to apply for the grant may not be enrolled by, trained by, or receive consulting from a family member who is an employee at a Dream Fund Training and Technical Assistance provider.
+ If a business has a seller’s permit to operate a legal business, will they also need proof of a business license?
This would only be required if the city or county in which the business is operating requires a business license.
+ If an applicant established a business before July 1, 2019, and established a second business under that one after the July 1, 2019 date, would the new business meet the eligibility requirements?
No. The goal of the CA Dream Fund program is to fund new startup businesses. A business established under an existing business does not qualify.
+ Will those who participate in training programs provided by other designated training partners be eligible to apply for the CA Dream Fund via the LA SBDC?
No. To apply for the CA Dream Fund microgrant via the LA SBDC, you must attend and complete our training program. Reciprocity will not be offered.
The California Dream Fund Program is funded by the State of California and administered by the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA). Eligibility criteria applies.