Want to start a business in California?

This page is dedicated to the best resources for starting a business in California.

Register Your California Business

Think of your business entity like the engine of a car. Depending on the kind of engine you have, you'll be able to go down different terrains and operate at different speeds. The business entity you choose will impact the legal protection you have, the taxes you pay and more. Choose wisely!

California LLC

If you're wanting the most small business friendly structure with more flexibility and no double taxation, look into this guide.

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California Corporation

If you're wanting a business structure more suited for bigger businesses and raising outside investment, look into this guide.

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California Non-Profit

If you're looking to make a positive social impact, look into this guide.

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California DBA

If you're looking to operate under a name other than their own, look into this guide.

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CALIFORNIA SBDC

The California SBDC provides a wide variety of tools, resources, and guidance to small business entrepreneurs in order for their venture to succeed in a highly competitive economic state. Technical assistance and personalized professional consulting are just some of the lined up assistance programs to help entrepreneurs. Add to that the free or low-cost training, workshops, and seminars, and you have the perfect arsenal to start a business in California.

GO-BIZ

The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development or GO-Biz is the official go-to resource for all your small business requirements. It provides a number of links to the various non-profit and government tie-up organizations that help facilitate the startup and formation of small business for the entire state.

CALIFORNIA BUSINESS PORTAL

When it comes to completing the assortment of requirements for starting a business, the California Business Portal should be the guide you need to have. From registration requirements to corporate filing tips to forms, samples, and fees, everything is on here. Related links relevant to the startup process are also provided in this resource.

CALGOLD

CalGold is an online tool small business entrepreneurs can use to find the necessary information on all kinds of permits and licenses needed to start a business. This tool also supplies contact information from different federal and state agencies in charge of specific licenses or those agencies that issue these permits.

MY OWN BUSINESS

My Own Business offers free entrepreneurship education through courses and learning modules. With My Own Business, you can easily learn how to begin your dream business and go through all the steps with free resources, from starting it up to plans of expansion. Each of the courses is divided into several parts with relevant lessons for optimal learning.

EAST BAY SCORE

The office of the East Bay SCORE provides small business entrepreneurs with the proper resources and personalized business counseling so that startups are off to a good start. The East Bay SCORE also schedules regular free workshops and seminars on various aspects of setting up your business. To boot, the counseling and mentoring that the business experts of SCORE provide not only give valuable advice, but also a clear cut direction as to how to bring your business to success.

SBA LEARNING CENTER

The SBA Learning Center is the ideal environment to learn as much as you can as a startup entrepreneur. It provides a host of various learning courses that help entrepreneurs on different areas of running a business. From how-to courses on federal contracting to writing a business plan to basic accounting, the SBA Learning Center has got it covered.

CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF STATE BUSINESS PROGRAMS

For all aspects related to your business requirements in California, the state’s Business Programs directory is a great source. From information you need to learn about business programs in general to forms, sample forms, and filing fees for each requirement to processing times for these obligations, you can find everything on here.

SMALL BUSINESS CALIFORNIA

Small Business California is a pro-active and non-partisan business organization whose main goal is to improve the overall health of California’s small business industry. To address the needs of small business owners and improve the business environment, SB-Cal provides entrepreneurs with the needed resources to start, grow and expand their business. It also conducts annual surveys to know the progress of small businesses in the state as well as provide current and up-to-date business news.

SOLANO

The Solano College Small Business Development Center is a government initiative under America’s Small Business Development Center. It is one of the 900 SBDC’s set-up in the entire county that helps small business owners and entrepreneurs, start and manage their growing startup to success. Some of the services offered by Solano include small business assistance ranging from affordable to free services, workshops, a 12-Week Small Business Training Program, a small business library, free advice and mentoring and so much more.

SMALL BUSINESS MAJORITY

Small Business Majority is a business advocacy organization that focuses on helping startups solve common small business problems. The organization further assists small business owners by providing them with the resources and tools that they need. Small Business Minority aims to build two things: income and independence for target populations such as women, minorities, youth, veterans and immigrants.

CALIFORNIA SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

California Small Business Association is a volunteer and non-profit organization with the primary goal to give small business owners a voice in California as well as the federal government. The association is a strong advocate of small business issues, making sure that they are addressed in and efficient and timely manner. They also provide entrepreneurs with useful resources and information.

SBDC

America’s Small Business Development Centers is a nationwide network of associations that provide total small business assistance in the whole country and its territories. Primarily, the SBDC aims to provide free of charge, expert one-on-one business consulting services and low-cost business training and workshop events. More importantly, it is SBDC’s goal to provide small businesses with the requisite tools and resources to remain relevant in a highly competitive business market.

CALIFORNIA SMALL BUSINESS LOAN GUARANTEE PROGRAM

The California Small Business Loan Guarantee Program’s main goal is to provide the necessary funding to small businesses by way of loans to ensure that they can start their business sans the capital access barrier. An overview of the program, criteria for qualifying for the said financing option, and other information pertinent to the program are also discussed.

CAL-X CROWDFUND CONNECT

Cal-X Crowdfund Connect is a Santa Monica-based capitalist stock exchange that regularly promotes the meeting of local investors to local entrepreneurs to foster the growth of small business enterprises within the state. Cal-X heavily promotes women-owned enterprises and in fact, it has sponsored a number of women conferences.

TECH COAST ANGELS

Tech Coast Angels is recognized as one of the largest angel investment companies in the country, and has long been established with a reputation for providing startup entrepreneurs with a variety of assistance options aside from investing in hundreds of startup companies. Tech Coast Angels also establishes critical business connections, hands-on mentoring, helps raise additional venture capital funds, and more.

BAND OF ANGELS

Band of Angels is a seed funding company that is composed of high-tech executives who are looking for fresh, cutting-edge companies that show promise. The selection process to seed funding takes place every month with three startups for consideration and screened using the Band Deal Selection Process. Entrepreneurs of the startup usually go through examination and will have the chance to be funded by the most successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.

SMALL BUSINESS FINANCIAL DEVELOPMENT OF ORANGE COUNTY

The Small Business Financial Development of Orange County aims to give small businesses within the Orange County area access to much needed capital by way of state loan guarantees as well as other business development and capital programs. Special emphasis is placed on supporting small business owned by veterans, the disabled, and women.

MATTER

As a premier startup accelerator, Matter provides an excellent five-month kick-off program and fosters a strong community of peers. Matter helps entrepreneurs by providing the necessary investment, the office space, and a highly collaborative group to become successful. Matter’s boot-camp program is designed in a way to ready startups to raise funds as soon as demo day is finished.

Y COMBINATOR

Y Combinator is a seed funding company that pays for your startup expenses while you’re getting on your feet.  Through the Y Combinator program, the startup is moved to Silicon Valley and enrolled in a 3-month program where Y Combinator will work intensively with them to get the business going and to polish their elevator to investors. Twice a year, Y Combinator invests a fixed amount of money into a number of startups to accomplish this.

UPWEST LABS

Upwest Labs is an early-stage investor committed to helping fearless entrepreneurs build innovative, cutting-edge companies. Upwest Labs believes that more than just securing the startup’s funding, it is the long-term growth that’s even more important. With this in mind, Upwest Labs provides an ecosystem where everything needed for a startup to success is provided.

500 STARTUPS

Regardless if you’re just getting started or you’re in the early stages of your business, 500 Startups has the resources you need to accomplish your business goals. Through its 4-month accelerator program, you get to receive the benefits of being under the wings of 500 Startups. From excellent mentorship to hands-on meetings with business startup professionals to an awesome office space, everything will be provided by 500 Startups.

FOUNDERS SPACE

Founders Space is one of the leading incubators in the state and is recognized by Forbes as one of the top ten. As an incubator, Founders Space provides a comprehensive startup program taught by industry experts. This incubator company also has a large network of advisors, lawyers, marketing professionals and more to assist startup entrepreneurs. A free coworking space is also a given if you’re part of the Founders Space group.

IDEALAB

Idealab was initially created to make, build and run companies that defy the status quo. Idealab also has creative office spaces that are ideal for startups with up to 20 employees or so. The full-service office space has a unique and vibrant setting to inspire you to succeed and develop collaborations. Plus, excellent support services to cap it off.

STARTUPHOUSE

StartupHouse is a coworking space designed for new entrepreneurs who wish to work in a creative and open working atmosphere that will enable them to turn their ideas into successful projects. StartupHouse fosters a place where you have the freedom to work at your own pace and surround yourself with like minded professionals who are goal-oriented and hardworking. The coworking space is located at the heart of Silicon Valley, thus, it is highly accessible.