Santa Cruz SBDCAptos, CA

Small Business Resources

Santa Cruz County Online Resources:


General Online Information:


How-to Online Information:

  • OpenCounter Start your business in Santa Cruz, CA
  • Start Up Guide from the Santa Cruz SBDC
  • has business planning samples and processes online, as well as webinars
  • Business Plan Outline from the Small Business Administration
  • is the definitive destination for business planning information on the web. Find, view, download and edit sample business plans optimized for the Web


Business Licenses, Permits and Regulations:

Home-based businesses operating in the unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties do not require a business license. However, because each county has different requirements and zoning regulations, be sure to check with us.

License and Permit Information for Santa Cruz County (pdf file)

City of Santa Cruz: Licenses and Permits for Businesses and Business License Tax


Financing a Business:

We work closely with local lenders and have information on the various loans available, including:

  • All SBA Loan Programs
  • Micro-loans for start-up and existing businesses
  • Agricultural loans
  • Export financing

Read: How To Qualify For A Loan

Opportunity Funds For Client Loans

Non-Profit Startup Resources
There are a couple options available to you to assist in the incorporation process as finding free help for this will be difficult:

  • You can hire an attorney or paralegal to help.
  • Do it yourself: 
They have a great book listed on this webpage that will walk you through the incorporation process and the forms you need to submit to the state and IRS.

If you want to hire an attorney you can call the Santa Cruz Bar Association for a referral at (831) 425-4755 or online at
Cabrillo College Extension:

Additional resources:

Compass Point

Setting up a 501(c)3

Grow Santa Cruz

Flexible Term Loan Financing for City of Santa Cruz Businesses

  The City of Santa Cruz Redevelopment Agency and the National Development Council (NDC) have established and capitalized Grow Santa Cruz to assist eligible small businesses within the city of Santa Cruz to obtain the financing from $50K to $300K for working capital, equipment, construction, land or buildings.
In order to qualify for these loans, a business must be:

~ A for-profit existing business
~ Financially healthy and in need of expansion capital

For more information and an application package please contact:

J Guevara, Economic Development Coordinator
337 Locust Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 420- 5154

The City of Santa Cruz



Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration, established in 1953, provides financial, technical and management assistance to help Americans start, run, and grow their businesses.

California Community Colleges Economic and Workforce Development Program
The Economic and Workforce Development Program provides a variety of solutions for business development and workforce training needs. It delivers everything from basic jobsite skills to advanced biotech training. It assists thousands of people – from small business to aerospace giants. To stay ahead of that “technology curve,” successful ventures, both public and private, realize the value of promoting education and enhancing employee skills. They need customized education, training, and onsite learning as well as information and sound advice for the planning and marketing of goods and services. Delivered through California Community Colleges, the Economic and Workforce Development Program strengthens on-the-job performance and business competitiveness, making California’s economy stronger. The program has a track record of success and brings in outside investment. It responds to regional economies and provides access for California Community College student.

Cabrillo College
The mission of Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz County, California is to deliver quality education responsive to the needs of the community and to facilitate open access and achievement for all students.

Community Education and Corporate Training at Cabrillo College
Community Education and Corporate Training provides a wide variety of classes and programs to the general public and also to companies for the exclusive benefit of their employees.


Government Agencies:

Worldwide Government Information Servers

Local Government:
Capitola City Government
Santa Cruz County Government
Santa Cruz City Government
Doing Business with the City of Santa Cruz
NEW! Santa Cruz City Business Gateway
Scotts Valley City Government
Watsonville City Government
Monterey County Government

State Government:
California State Government
State Government Agencies: an alphabetical list of state agencies on the Internet.
California State Legislative Information
California State Senate: includes link to user's guide and tutorial on how to find legislative information; also provides a link to legislative bill searches.
California Electronic Government is a comprehensive list of California governmental Web sites (e.g., budget, DMV, California Air Resources Board, etc.) and California municipalities, including descriptions of what is available at each site and links to out-of-state sites.
California Employer Advisory Council - specifically geared to helping employers.

Other Agencies:
Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council


Chambers of Commerce:


Helpful Links:

Consumer Affairs

Employer/Employee Relations

Government Resources

Federal Resources
State Resources
Local Resources


Group Activities: Trade Shows, Seminars, Events


International Resources:

International Trade


Internet Business Tools:

Google Apps and other small business tools for website development and blogging

Find anyone!

Online yellow pages:

Money Tools:



Apply Now

It all starts here. Complete the application and submit your request. A member of the SBDC will follow up with you and help you achieve your small business goals -- at no cost to you.
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Funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the California Governors Office for Business and Economic Development, and other private and public partners;  and nationally accredited by the association of SBDCs.