Our city's location in the heart of the Bay Area, the best public university and a highly educated workforce make Berkeley an ideal place for new companies. Berkeley is already home to nearly a dozen co-working spaces and more than 150 start ups. All entrepreneurs are encouraged to work with our Office of Economic Development, which offers expertise in commercial real estate, financing, economic data, green business, and marketing. Whatever your business is, we want your company to thrive.
Mayor Arreguin has made the promotion of small businesses a priority by introducing the Small Business Package, which seeks to reduce obstacles for new businesses, provide financial support, promote buy local policies, and create tax incentives to attract and retain locally-owned businesses.
In line with Berkeley’s values of economic sustainability and workers’ rights, the Mayor has also pushed for more worker cooperatives. In February 2016, the city passed a resolution to support the growth and development of worker co-ops.
Upcoming legislation will revise the business permit application to allow registration as a worker cooperative, give preference to cooperative businesses for local contracts, create business tax and land use incentives, and develop educational materials to support new cooperatives and encourage existing businesses to consider the model as they evolve.
Berkeley has a storied past with co-ops, including the Cheeseboard Collective, Alchemy Collective, Biofuel Oasis and Berkeley Free Clinic. With this legislation, the city hopes to to create even more co-ops and become a national leader in worker-owned and operated businesses.
Berkeley's economy is enriched by its diverse and flourishing arts scene. As a councilmember, Jesse secured funding for various organizations, including the UC Theatre, Kala Arts, and various arts grants.
Mayor Arreguin is committed to working with arts groups throughout the city to expand resources for local artists, despite federal threats to cut funding.
As a result of the Mayor's advocacy, Berkeley increased its Civic Arts Grant Program to $500,000, the largest amount in city history. This program distributes grants to local artists and arts organizations. The Mayor also helped lead efforts to dedicate revenue from Short Term Rental taxes to support the arts.
With expanded funding for the arts, and a new Berkeley Cultural Plan, Berkeley is uniquely positioned to support existing artists and expand performing and visual art throughout the city.
The Mayor is deeply committed to providing all Berkeley residents equitable opportunities for success. In addition to continued partnership in the Vision 2020 Initiative, alongside Berkeley Unified School District, Berkeley Community College, and UC Berkeley, working to close the achievement gap in education, Mayor Arreguin is also working to expand vocational training and career options for Berkeley’s young people and other residents.
The Mayor believes in offering training that leads to productive and stable careers. Berkeley students already benefit from workforce development programs, including internships with Bayer and with Rising Sun Energy Center, and our office supports continued collaboration with these community partners.