Category Archives: California Capital In The News

California Capital FDC launches new Sacramento Valley SBDC

March 9, 2022 | After a year-long application, vetting and onboarding process, the Sacramento Valley Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is open for business, and California Capital Financial Development Corporation (FDC) is thrilled about the opportunity to host the program. 

In January of 2021, the NorCal Small Business Development Center program sent out an open request for proposals to host SBDC service centers within its 36-county territory for the purposes of delivering no-cost one-on-one advising and free or low-cost trainings to small businesses.  

The SBDC is the largest technical assistance provider for small businesses in the U.S. and is part of a national network of nearly 1,000 centers, which are funded by grants through the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA).  In California, these are supplemented by the State of California’s Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).    

Previously called the Capital Region SBDC, the renamed Sacramento Valley SBDC is one of 16 service centers in Northern California where small businesses can get the help they need to start and grow their enterprise. 

“Coming out of the COVID business crisis, the SBDC recognizes the need for innovative approaches to entrepreneurship,” said NorCal SBDC Associate Region Director Ann Johnson-Stromberg. “Every partner has something different to offer and we are excited about this one with California Capital.” 

The SBDC is the largest technical assistance provider for small businesses in the U.S. and is part of a national network of nearly 1,000 centers, which are funded by grants through the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA).  In California, these are supplemented by the State of California’s Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).   

In 2020, the NorCal SBDC provided workshops to 39,575 attendees, and no-cost, one-on-one advising to more than 26,000 small businesses through its combined 20 service centers and regional programs in the northern half of the state.  The positive economic results included assisting clients access an unprecedented $539 million in loans and investment capital last year. The program also helped clients start 316 new businesses, created 8,500 new jobs and helped increase sales by nearly $266 million. 

SiewYee Lee-Alix, an experienced business advisor and former program development manager with California Capital FDC, was hired in January to lead the newly launched center in Sacramento that will provide services to small businesses in Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba Counties. 

“SiewYee’s deep knowledge of the business development landscape complements her passion for connecting small business owners to the resources they need, and seeing them thrive,” said California Capital FDC president and CEO, Deborah Lowe Muramoto. “As an integral part of the California Capital FDC team, she used her expertise in procurement and program development to help small businesses remain open and even expand during the COVID-19 pandemic.”  

SBDC Day is Wednesday, March 16, 2022. SBDC Day is a national, collective proclamation of the impact America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) have on the success of our nation’s dreamers, innovator, and doers: America’s small businesses.  

For more information on Sacramento Valley SBDC or to apply for SBDC Services, visit or call (916) 655-2100. 

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About the California SBDC Program

The California Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Program is the leader in providing small business owners and entrepreneurs with the tools and guidance needed to become successful. Local SBDCs provide comprehensive and expert guidance on issues such as start-up basics, financing, business and marketing plan development, exporting, technology advising, procurement and government contracting.  One-on-one advising is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and local partners and is offered at no cost. Consulting is supplemented by low-cost or free seminars and conferences. These services are delivered throughout California via an extensive network of 49 Small Business Development Centers. The California SBDC network serves more than 65,000 small business owners annually. Learn more by visiting: 

About SBA 

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. Small business is critical to economic recovery and strength, to building America’s future, and to helping the United States compete in today’s global marketplace. Although SBA has grown and evolved in the years since it was established in 1953, the bottom line mission remains the same. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands and Guam. 

California Capital Named As Recipient of First Foundation’s ‘Supporting Our Communities’ Grant Program

February 17, 2022 | First Foundation Inc., a financial services company with two wholly-owned operating subsidiaries, First Foundation Advisors and First Foundation Bank, recently announced the recipients of its ‘Supporting Our Communities’ philanthropy initiative. California Capital Financial Development Corporation was named among the list of awardees. 

In its ninth year, First Foundation continues to build the legacy of its philanthropy programs through an expanded Supporting Our Communities initiative that includes grants for organizations that are working on the community development pillars of affordable housing, work force development, community service, economic development, and entrepreneurship.

“We are grateful to accept a 2022 Supporting Our Communities grant from First Foundation,” says Deborah Lowe Muramoto, president and CEO of California Capital FDC. “With this support, California Capital will continue to provide business advising, training, and access to capital for entrepreneurs and small businesses, to meet the diverse needs of communities throughout our region.” California Capital’s mission is to provide capital and capacity to serve communities, which these services are geared towards.

“We are thrilled to continue our ‘Supporting Our Communities’ initiative this year and gain more nonprofit and community partners throughout our regions,” said Scott F. Kavanaugh. “As we grow we always want to stay close to our founding principle of remaining connected to the communities in which we live and serve, and develop meaningful relationships with these wonderful partners who are helping when it matters most.”

The goal of the program is to drive community growth and sustainability in low- and moderate-income communities through small business development, entrepreneurship, access to affordable housing, and financial literacy education.

​​This year’s list of nonprofit recipients was compiled to include thirty organizations that are focused on causes important to First Foundation. More than half of the grants were selected based on specific programmatic requirements that will fund programs and services in the community.

The 2022 Supporting Our Communities grant recipients include:

“As the philanthropic landscape continues to change, First Foundation enhanced its commitment to connecting to our community through nonprofits,” said Sylvia M. Figueroa, Director of Community Development & CRA Officer.

First Foundation provides education, consultation, and strategic planning help to its nonprofit partners as they continue to navigate the current philanthropic environment. In addition to the cash grant, First Foundation provides in-kind professional guidance related to the organizations’ daily activities, including: fundraising; donor cultivation and stewardship; gift planning design; staff and board training; campaign planning; board building; development of critical policies and protocols; organizational planning; and counsel on ensuring best practices in their own fiscal matters such as cash management, wealth planning, and investment management.

“The strategic guidance and professional services our employees provide help nonprofits further their programs that we believe will create the types of communities we all hope to live in and take pride in.” said Emily Sukman, Community Engagement Officer.

Stay tuned for additional information about expanding Supporting Our Communities to serve the newly-entered Florida market. Given the timing of the close of the merger with TGR Financial just before year end, First Foundation plans to thoroughly examine the nonprofit landscape there and build upon existing relationships First Florida Integrity Bank has with local organizations.

Association of Women’s Business Centers Annual Meeting: California Capital Business Counselor Charles Thomas Wins Advisor of the Year, WBC Director Sophia Kanaan Joins National Board of Directors

September 16, 2021 | Yesterday morning marked two significant achievements for the California Capital Women’s Business Center (WBC). During the annual meeting of the Association of Women’s Business Centers, Sophia Kanaan, Director of California Capital’s WBC, was inducted into the association’s Board of Directors, and Charles Thomas was announced as the winner of the Advisor of the Year award.

Sophia holds a Masters in Public Policy from McGeorge School of Law.

The Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC) is the leading non-profit that sustains the national network of Women’sBusiness Centers, bringing together more than 100 WBCs across the country. As a newly inaugurated board member, Sophia joins not only the largest, but the most diverse Board of Directors in the organization’s history. This new position will allow Sophia to build on her passion for connecting small businesses and entrepreneurs with the resources and mentorship crucial to their success, and to take her leadership to the national level.

Charles Thomas began working at California Capital in February of 2015.

Charles Thomas was named as the 2021 Advisor of the Year for his years of work helping hundreds of entrepreneurs and small businesses at various levels of maturity to achieve and surpass their goals. In her nomination statement, Sophia Kanaan noted that Charles’s determined service to his clients is grounded in his philosophy of the Three Ps: positivity, purposeful action, and paying it forward. Charles first began peer-to-peer mentorship as a teenager, volunteering as a peer counselor for elementary and middle school students in under-resourced communities, and has maintained his mission to uplift individuals from all walks of life. Eight other highly impactful business advisors were nominated from across the country, which speaks to the depth of expertise represented in the organizations that comprise the AWBC. 

The accolades received, as well as our accomplishments and commitment to small businesses are a testament to our WBC Director, Sophia Kanaan and her leadership,” says Deborah Lowe Muramoto, President and CEO of California Capital. “We just celebrated her sixth anniversary with California Capital, and I am so proud to congratulate her.” 

 “And, a very well deserved congratulations to Charles Thomas, our WBC Business Counselor,” Deborah continues.  “Thank you Charles for your true commitment to helping small businesses turn their dream of business ownership into a reality.” 

These achievements are a testament to the commitment that the California Capital WBC team makes on a daily basis to continue providing excellent guidance and service to California’s ambitious and hard-working small business community. 

Congratulations, Sophia and Charles!

California Capital Receives Wells Fargo Open For Business Fund Grant, One of Three Regional Recipients

March 25, 2021 | California Capital FDC, Opening Doors, and Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) have received grants as part of the Wells Fargo Open For Business Fund program. The funds awarded to the three Sacramento-area Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are part of Well’s Fargo’s national effort to help small businesses recover and rebuild in the face of the economic effects of COVID-19. California Capital will receive a grant of $500,000.

The Open For Business Fund program is designed to foster an inclusive recovery for U.S. small business, paying special attention to access to capital and technical assistance for diverse businesses from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Many businesses in communities of color have less access to financing and other resources to help them survive.

California Capital seeks to bridge this disparity and reach women, minority, disabled veteran, and LGBT business owners and low to moderate income communities with financial services and technical assistance. The Open For Business Fund program focuses on increasing access to capital through CDFIs, technical assistance, and long-term recovery and resiliency programs. Through a Lending Center, Women’s Business Center, and Procurement Technical Assistance Center, California Capital offers these services to business owners in 28 counties across Northern California.

The Open For Business grant will allow California Capital to continue offering free technical assistance and business counseling, and to reach even more diverse business owners with financial services. With equitable access to these resources, California’s small business community will be empowered to rebuild and economic opportunity will be amplified.

Read the full press release here: Sacramento CDFIs California Capital, Opening Doors and Rural Community Assistance Corp receive $3M from Wells Fargo Open For Business Fund to Help Minority-owned Businesses Recover


California Capital’s Chief Lending Officer Interviewed on “Your California Life”

Judy Fletcher, California Capital FDC’s Chief Lending Officer, was interviewed on the ABC 10 program Your California Life on Friday, February 26. Judy spoke with host Aubrey Aquino about how California Capital has helped businesses adapt to the economic impacts of Covid-19, and provided insight on what options are available to small business owners looking for access to capital and technical assistance. Watch the full interview below.