The pandemic has left 30-40% of small businesses on the verge of failure. In response, we launched the Community Business Partnership, an initiative that seeks to provide strategic support to small businesses in communities across Northern California. Haas MBA students source projects, engage in training, and provide tangible solutions to real-world issues.

Projects range from:
  • Conducting outreach to identify pain points and develop small business programs
  • Sourcing speakers for webinars and workshops on Digital Marketing and Business Pivots
  • Addressing women business owners’ reluctance to access financial capital through financial literacy training and curriculum
  • Identifying a pipeline and strategy for small business financing options outside of typical micro-loan or crowdfunding recommendations
  • Devising the structure and raising community support for a vendor-owned Farmer’s Market in East Oakland
Community Business Partners include:
  • Berkeley Chamber of Commerce
  • Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
  • Pacific Community Ventures
  • Black Cultural Zone Community Development Corporation
  • City of Albany
  • Temescal Telegraph Business Improvement District
Hear more about how our students are going beyond themselves:

“Working with small businesses has been incredibly humbling. A number of the businesses we’re working with were very successful before the pandemic, and built that success through hosting in-person events and trade shows. All of that is off the table now so we’re working with them to develop a social media and a digital marketing strategy.” – Crystal Ang

“Our team is conducting a feasibility study for a Farmer’s Market in a Bay Area neighborhood to expand access to fresh, affordable food and create workforce development opportunities for youth.” – Juan Carlos Nunez

“We are working to help grocery stores in the Oakland Chinatown area impacted by the pandemic improve their business strategies. Small businesses are the lifeblood of the Chinatown community, and implementing technological changes to become more accessible to consumers can often be a challenge. It has been rewarding to learn more about the community and find ways to help out.” – Kelly Chu

If you are an MBA student interested in getting involved with the Community Business Partnership, express your interest here.

Small Business COVID response

In the Spring, Haas MBA students worked with the City of Oakland and community partners calling hundreds of small businesses, supporting them to apply for SBA federal relief

Read more