NFIB California Podcast with Tara Lynn Gray

Date: June 14, 2021

The new director for the California Office of Small Business Advocate discusses the resources available to small-business owners and takes a post-pandemic look ahead

Tara Lynn Gray, the state’s new director of the Office of Small Business Advocate, sat down with NFIB California State Director John Kabateck for a half-hour discussion about what resources are available to small-business owners and what lessons were learned from the pandemic.

“My office has run the largest small business relief grant program in the nation,” said Gray. “Started out originally as $500 million and then another $2 billion was added to it.”

Further, the state came up with $6.2 billion in tax relief for small businesses, an $895 million small-business credit initiative, and a $35 million dream fund for starting a business. Gray takes issue with the claim of the state’s lack of competitiveness. “I think California is getting a bad rap. When we look at the benefits of being here, it far outweighs the detractions.”

Were it not for the opportunity to take her significant small-business knowledge and experience to a wider forum, Gray was quite content to remain in Fresno, where she was serving as president and CEO of Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce and doing volunteer work for the Fresno DRIVE initiative, a first-of-its-kind program involving 300 community organizations working to improve the local economy.

On the podcast, Gray praised the work of the California Small Business Development Council, which the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) partially funds. GO-Biz includes Gray’s office.

“We are, really in California, blessed to have so many resources and so much depth and breadth in the ecosystem to support small business,” said Gray. “It’s unmatched anywhere else. That’s why we turnout more high-tech companies, that’s why we do more in terms of innovation.”

And the one lesson Gray is taking from the pandemic? “The value of small-business technical assistance programs.” Gray recommended keeping up with the latest information on small-business resources at the following two links.


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