Diversity and Entrepreneurship in California: An Undergraduate Research Symposium

Business owner hangs OPEN sign on business door
Friday, October 8, 2021
9:30am to 4:30pm
Registration Link:

Event Organizers: Dr. Christine Trost (ctrost [at] berkeley.edu) and Megan Collins (meganjcollins [at] berkeley.edu)

Watch a recording of this event.

The pandemic has had disproportionate impacts on diverse entrepreneurs in California and across the nation. While local, state and federal aid has helped some businesses recover, many business owners continue to face structural and financial barriers to growth and success. This symposium will highlight original research by UC Berkeley undergraduates who have spent the summer investigating challenges and opportunities facing women- and POC-owned small businesses and diverse entrepreneurs in the Bay Area and California. 

A keynote panel of leading experts and advocates will kick off the symposium with a context-setting discussion of the inequities faced by POC-owned small businesses, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the road to recovery. Graduate and undergraduate researchers from the Center for Community Innovation at UC Berkeley will present their recent spatial analysis of BIPOC-owned businesses across the Bay Area. In the afternoon, IGS's Diversity and Entrepreneurship Fellows will present findings from their summer research in two concurrent sessions. These presentations will cover inequitable distribution of Covid-related small business loans and grants, how POC-owned food service businesses responded to challenges caused by the pandemic, the impact of Covid-closures and relief opportunities on women-owned businesses, inequities in local policies designed to support small business growth, and other related topics. Invited respondents will synthesize research findings and provide feedback.

The presentations offered at this symposium will inform and enhance our understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing POC-owned small businesses and diverse entrepreneurs in California and inform future research.

This is a hybrid event: participants are invited to attend in person at Moses Hall on the UC Berkeley campus, or remotely via Zoom Webinar. All attendees, whether in person or virtual, are required to register

This event is sponsored by the Institute of Governmental Studies, the Robert T. Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service, and the Center for Community Innovation, with generous support from the Wells Fargo Foundation.

AGENDA: (Click on the sessions below for more information about speakers, timing, location, and Zoom Webinar links for those joining remotely.)

Welcome and Opening Remarks

IGS Library (109 Moses Hall)

9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

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G. Cristina Mora, Co-Director, IGS and Associate Professor of Sociology, UC Berkeley
Jenny Flores, Head of Small Business Growth Philanthropy, Wells Fargo

Christine Trost, Executive Director, IGS and Director of the Robert T. Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service

The Road to Recovery: Addressing Inequities and Displacement of POC-Owned Small Businesses in California

IGS Library (109 Moses Hall)

9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

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Bianca Blomquist, Senior California Policy & Engagement Manager, Northern California Outreach Manager, Small Business Majority
Tara Lynn Gray, Director, Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA)

Sarah Treuhaft, Vice President of Research, Policy Link

Moderated by: Esperanza Pallana, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Community Vision

Break

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Mapping Vulnerability of BIPOC-owned Businesses in the Bay Area in the Wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic

IGS Library (109 Moses Hall)

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

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Laura Schmahmann, Ph.D. student and Graduate Student Researcher, Center for Community Innovation, UC Berkeley

with Hannah Moore and Rachel McCarty

Break

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

POC-Owned Restaurants: Economic Relief and Sustainability During the Pandemic

IGS Library (109 Moses Hall)

1:00 PM - 2:10 PM

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Presentations by: Layla Dargahi, Michael Diaz, Nancy Kim, Tanvi Saran

Respondent: Leticia Landa, La Cocina

Moderated byNoah Cole, MPP Candidate, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley

Ethnic Businesses and Communities: Responses to Hardship and Barriers Faced During the Pandemic

Harris Conference Room (119 Moses Hall)

1:00 PM - 2:10 PM

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Presentations by: Pedro De Anda Plascencia, Jimmy Nguyen, Nyanga Nyandemoh, Kai Serrano Eusebio, Minh Anh Van

Respondent: Cathy Adams, President/CEO Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce

Moderated byNicole-Marie Cotton, Doctoral Candidate, African American & African Diaspora Studies, UC Berkeley 

Break

2:10 PM - 2:30 PM

Women-Owned Businesses and Industries: Economic Relief During the Pandemic

Harris Conference Room (119 Moses Hall)

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

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Presentations by: Erin HamillAllyson Velez

Respondent: Jill Finlayson, Director, Expanding Diversity and Gender Equity in Tech Initiative, UC Berkeley

Moderated by: Nicole-Marie Cotton, Doctoral Candidate, African American & African Diaspora Studies, UC Berkeley

Local Policy: Contracting, Cannabis and Nonprofits

IGS Library (109 Moses Hall)

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

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Presentations by: Nabil AzizJosh Kay, Leslie VasquezVictor Vasquez

Respondent: Elizabeth Redman Cleveland, Chief Strategist, Sustainable Growth, City of Berkeley

Moderated by: Noah Cole, MPP Candidate, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley

Closing Remarks

IGS Library (109 Moses Hall)

3:30 PM - 3:45 PM

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Christine Trost, Executive Director, IGS and Director of the Robert T. Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service

Reception

Moses Hall Courtyard

3:45 PM - 4:30 PM