Access Plus Capital is proud to announce its participation in the California Dream Fund grant program as an authorized training center. Our intensive Ready, Set, Launch! program satisfies the mandatory business education requirements outlined by the State of California, and those who successfully complete Ready, Set, Launch! will be eligible to apply for the $5,000 or $10,000 Dream Fund grant.
Aspiring entrepreneurs and new small business owners looking to receive the Dream Fund seed money should apply to this pre-requisite entrepreneurial training course by completing the application found on this webpage.
Please call Pamela Mostert at (559) 263-1361 or email email@example.com if you have any questions regarding the Dream Fund or are in need of assistance completing the application.
Dream Fund Informational Webinars:
Learn more by attending a Dream Fund Zoom meeting. Join us on Mondays and Wednesdays for an informational Zoom meeting and Q&A.
April 1-15: Application window for cohort #1
April 30: Applicants for cohort #1 notified
May 16 – July 5: 12-week Ready, Set, Launch! program (cohort #1)
July 22: Cohort #1 graduation; Apply for Dream Fund grant
Eligibility for The Dream Fund Micro-Grant Program
- Attend and graduate Access Plus Capital’s Ready, Set, Launch! Entrepreneurship Training Program or another entrepreneurship training program offered by a center approved by the State of California.
- For Ready, Set, Launch! you must attend at least 10 of the 12 weekly 90-minute workshops. You are also required to attend one-on-one consulting sessions.
- You must develop a budget and a comprehensive road map (business plan) for your business.
- You MUST NOT have filed any official California business documents (such as a business license, fictitious business name statement, corporate or LLC documents, etc.) for your business BEFORE July 2019. If you never filed paperwork or filed on or after July 1, 2019, you will be considered a new business and will be eligible to apply.
- BEFORE the program ends, you must acquire ALL necessary permits to operate legally AND at least one of the following: made a first sale; hired at least 1 employee; created a business banking relationship; spent money on business expenses (including legal and accounting fees)
- Agree to inform Access Plus Capital about the progress of your business for at least one year.
- Once the training program is completed, upload all required documentation to Lendistry for grant application submission and grant disbursement.
Participation in APC’s Ready, Set, Launch! Training Program does not guarantee an award of the grant. Determination of grant eligibility is based upon the items listed in the eligibility criteria including any valid supporting documentation plus successful completion of the Ready, Set, Launch! training program or a training program offered by another approved facility.
Application Selection Process
- APC Ready, Set, Launch! program applications open – April 1st
- APC application window closes – April 15th
- Applications received by APC will be evaluated and scored by a judging panel with priority given to minority, underserved, low-wealth, veteran, and women-owned businesses in the following three industries: e-commerce, service, brick, and mortar. Please make sure to provide the correct contact information. A member of the evaluation team may reach out for clarification or additional information.
- Applicants selected for Ready, Set, Launch! cohort #1 will be notified the week of May 1st.
- Cohort period: May 16 – July 5
- One-on-one consulting – Business Plan Complete
All grant eligible program graduates must apply through Lendistry for the Dream Fund Grant and have funds dispersed no later than December 30, 2022.
About Access Plus Capital
Access Plus Capital is a non-profit, community development financial institution (CDFI) providing low-barrier, easy access small business loans, grants, business education, and coaching services to historically excluded and disinvested communities. Our mission is to eliminate economic barriers to financial success through fair and equitable community investment, and since our inception in 2008, we have helped hundreds of entrepreneurs realize their dreams. Our services cover 14 Central Valley counties: Fresno, Madera, Merced, Mono, Inyo, Tulare, Kern, Kings, Monterey, Mariposa, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne.
Whether you are starting a business in Fresno County, expanding in Kern County, or franchising throughout the Central Valley, we can provide the funding and business expertise you need.
About Ready, Set, Launch!
Ready, Set, Launch! is a state-approved entrepreneurial education program created by Access Plus Capital to prepare aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners to qualify to apply for a grant from the California Dream Fund. Access Plus Capital’s Ready, Set, Launch! prep program meets the educational requirements outlined by the State of California for owners seeking the $5,000 or $10,000 seed money grant. Following successful completion of this training and consulting program, cohort participants will be eligible to apply for the grant. You will not be able to apply for the California Dream Fund grant without completing an approved educational program offered by a participating training provider such as Access Plus Capital.
About the California Dream Fund Program
The California Dream Fund Grant Program was established in 2021 by Senate Bill No. 151 to provide microgrants to seed entrepreneurship and small business creation in underserved small business groups that are facing capital and opportunity gaps.
The California Dream Fund Program is a one-time $35 Million grant program that will provide microgrants up to $10,000 to seed entrepreneurship and small business creation in California. This program is administered by CalOSBA and disbursed through the California Small Business Technical Assistance Expansion Program (TAEP) Network of Centers.
To participate in the program, entrepreneurs can apply for an intensive startup program developed by one of the participating TAEP centers. After successful completion of the program and all requirements, business owners will become eligible to apply for one grant of up to $10,000
Frequently Asked Questions
The California Dream Fund is a one-time $35 million grant program to seed entrepreneurship and small business creation in the State of California. The $35 million is dispersed to new California business owners in $5,000 or $10,000 increments. Completing an in-depth business education program is required of business owners before they can apply for a Dream fund grant.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners will complete an intensive training program offered by an approved center, such as the Ready, Set, Launch! program offered by Access Plus Capital.
After completing the education program, filing the state-required business formation documents, and completing a business “opening activity” (such as hiring an employee, opening a business banking account, making a business purchase, or making your first sale) new businesses will be eligible to apply for the Dream Fund grant with Lendistry through a separate application process. A code from the training center will be required to submit the Lendistry application.
If you have any questions about this process please call Pamela Mostert at (559) 263-1361 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ready, Set, Launch! is Access Plus Capital’s state-approved Dream Fund education program. Each participant will be expected to attend at least 10 classes and complete assignments in their course workbook. Each participant will also be scheduled for one-on-one coaching sessions. The program is 12 consecutive weeks long, with an additional optional week scheduled as a make-up session. The classes are held in the evening over Zoom and are 90 minutes long.
Although the workbook and application forms are in English, instruction and workbook translation into other languages is available. Please contact Pamela Mostert at (559) 263-1361 or email@example.com to request translation services.
You can only miss two classes during the 12-week program, meaning those admitted into the Ready, Set, Launch! program must attend at least 10 of the 12 weekly sessions. There is one make-up class scheduled.
The classes are 90 minutes long (about 1.5 hours) each week through Zoom.
Classes will be via Zoom.
There is no charge to apply for the Dream Fund grant or the pre-requisite educational program. Access Plus Capital’s Ready, Set, Launch! Entrepreneurial training program is free.
Registering your business means having filed entity documents:
- For a corporation or S corporation, you would have filed Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws.
- For a limited liability company or LLC, you would have filed your Articles of Organization and Operating Agreement.
- For a Limited Partnership or General Partnership, you would have filed a Partnership Agreement.
- As a Sole Proprietor, you would have filed a Fictitious Business Name Statement or a city business license.
Participation in the Training Program does not guarantee an award of the grant. Determination of being awarded the grant is based upon the items listed in the eligibility criteria including any valid supporting documentation and successful completion of the training program.
The program was created to provide seed money to start-up and new businesses. If you are not sure if your existing business can be considered “new” or not, call Pamela Mostert at (559) 263-1361 for help making the determination.
Priority will be given to minority, underserved, low-wealth, veteran, and women-owned businesses in the following three industries: e-commerce, service, brick and mortar.
To be eligible to receive the grant you must:
- Be considered a new business (established after July 2019)
- Have a written business plan and budget.
- Have completed an approved education program such as Ready, Set, Launch!
- Have performed at least one “opening activity”
To apply and be accepted into the Dream Fund entrepreneur training cohort, you click the apply now button above. Once you complete the 12-week program, we will help you apply for the Dream Fund Grant.
You can only receive the Dream Fund grant once. Although you could potentially participate in more than one organization’s program, we ask that you do not. Only a limited number of spots are available in each program and if you are accepted and enrolled at two agencies, it means another business owner has been denied the opportunity to participate in the program and earn eligibility to receive a grant.
After you complete the program, you can only receive one grant.
The curriculum is written anticipating you have no experience in owning a business or business knowledge. There is required weekly reading and homework to be completed before the next class that will build off each other in completing a business plan.
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.