Making the workplace a more welcoming place for everyone in 2023!
Support and resources
Our small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, and they are vibrant commerce that provides jobs and opportunities for our residents. Please see the following information, resources, and links to help Santa Clara County's small businesses.
Transgender, nonbinary, intersex, and gender expansive (TGNB) populations experience high levels of stigma and discrimination in the United States relative to their cisgender (i.e., non-TGNB) peers. One important area in which stigma and discrimination impact TGNB people is in employment. Anti-TGNB bias, binary gendered expectations, and lack of affirming policies can influence all aspects of job and career development for TGNB people and can severely limit the opportunities that TGNB people have to pursue meaningful and financially stable career paths. This may be compounded further for TGNB people who have other marginalized identities related to race, ethnicity, immigration status, disability, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, and age. According to a report funded by the County of Santa Clara, Office of LGBTQ Affairs:
- Forty-three percent (43%) of participants reported difficulty finding work in their field in Santa Clara County, and 76% of those participants attributed this difficulty to their TGNB identity.
- Workplace discrimination against TGNB people living and working in Santa Clara County is common. In this study, 70% said they had experienced anti-TGNB discrimination or were not sure. During the interviews and focus groups, many participants expressed that they suspected discrimination, but there was no way to prove it.
- Participants described anti-TGNB discrimination when applying for jobs. Twenty-five percent (25%) have been told directly that they would not be hired because they are TGNB, and 27% said that they are frequently rejected by potential employers without explanation, even when they are clearly qualified.
How do you make your business more welcoming?
- The word often used was "supportive," which includes policies and benefits, but also a workplace that is openly and publicly supportive of TGNB people rather than simply being tolerant.
- Participants noted that supportive workplace environments recognize the unique concerns of TGNB employees yet, at the same time, do not make a big deal of a person's gender identity or expression. This includes having supportive supervisors who serve as role models for being TGNB-affirming, attention to pronouns, access to all-gender restrooms, DEI trainings that include TGNB topics, and ERGs or other groups for LGBTQ+ employees.
- The majority of participants (80%) have transitioned socially, medically, and/or legally while employed. Supportive workplaces have policies in place to assist employees who are transitioning and healthcare coverage that includes gender-affirming medical services.
Resources to become a more supportive employer
- One of the easiest things to do to start being a more supportive place of business is to request an all gender bathroom sign for your business! You can request a sign for your business through the Office of LGBTQ Affairs
- You can request a employer training through the County Behavioral Health Services Department LGBTQ Wellness Program
- A guide to pronouns for the TGNB community from the Santa Clara Trans Care Coalition
- You can find TGNB job seekers, and employers
San José Small Business Rent Relief Grant 2.0
The City of San José is providing grant funding of up to $15,000 to support small businesses with outstanding rent and utility debts related to Covid-19. Enterprise Foundation / Access SBDC will begin accepting applications for Phase 3 of this program on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, at 8:00 am (Pacific Daylight Time); the application portal will stay open till funds are exhausted.
America’s Small Business Development Center, SBDC
SBDC is part of a 40-year national legacy committed to small business success. They provide unparalleled access to no-cost expertise from entrepreneurs who have seen it all, Access SBDC provides small businesses with the solutions they seek and the confidence they need to realize their dreams.
Access SBDC is proud to be a part of the greater NorCal SBDC network and work together to support local entrepreneurs and small businesses with the tools and insights to start, grow, and pivot their businesses.
Santa Clara County Library District’s small business resources guide
The SCCLD provides outstanding resource guide for local small business. Their guide helps support entrepreneurs and small business owners. This guide is put together by librarians and provides resources for start-ups and entrepreneurs on the topics of business research and education, creating and writing a business plan, financial and legal issues, and marketing. Plan, build, and improve your small business.
New County Ordinance allows food entrepreneurs to operate out of their own homes
On March 14, 2023, the Board of Supervisors adopted a new ordinance to permit mini restaurant businesses – called Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations, or MEHKOs – throughout the County.
Food industry entrepreneurs can apply for a permit that allows them to legally prepare, cook, and sell food out of a private home kitchen. These small-scale home-based operations offer an easy and affordable way to start a restaurant business.
Apply online with County of Santa Clara Department of Environmental Health
Hazardous Waste Disposal Program for small businesses
The Very Small Quantity Generator, VSQG, program provides businesses that generate small amounts of hazardous waste a convenient way to properly dispose of hazardous materials.
The VSQG disposal program is a drop-off service for businesses that generate fewer than 220 pounds, or 27 gallons, of hazardous waste per month, from paint and motor oil to batteries and propane tanks. The VSQG program is cheaper for small businesses than contracting with a private company to pick up and transport their hazardous waste, and it’s easy to use.
Roughly 300 businesses use the program every year, with capacity for more businesses to take part. Nonprofits and property managers are also eligible to participate.
County of Santa Clara provides $6 million in relief to small food businesses
The Department of Environmental Health will issue $5.85 million in credits to approximately 5,400 food facilities to help small businesses that were severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, plus $140,000 for private home kitchens.
On March 14, 2023, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to provide $6 million in relief to small food businesses, including $5.85 million for restaurants and other food service facilities that were hit hard by public health restrictions and market changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Resources for businesses and workers - impacted by COVID pandemic
If you are a business owner or employee of a business that has been affected by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), here are some resources that can help. Many cities have also posted their own resource pages, so be sure to check the websites of your local municipality.
Superior Court of California, Santa Clara County - Small Business Program
The Superior Court of California, Santa Clara County recognizes the vital importance and impact that the Small Business community has on California's local, regional and statewide economies.
County of Santa Clara - Businesses
California Green Business Network - Santa Clara County
Silicon Valley Strong - Small businesses
AnewAmerica Women’s Business Center - San José
Anew America changes lives through creating economic opportunities for targeted communities. Many women, minorities and immigrants face economic insecurity with no means to accumulate wealth. AnewAmerica leverages entrepreneurship to train and coach individuals to start their own business to support economic growth for themselves and their communities.
More info on AnewAmerica