Berkeley’s unique location as the heart of the Bay Area and the home of the best public university in the world makes the city an ideal location for new business ventures and economic innovation.
Berkeley’s many small businesses collectively provide thousands of jobs. Mayor Arreguin has made the promotion of small businesses a priority by introducing a Small Business Package.
This proposal 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 arts funding.
As a result of the Mayor's advocacy, an additional $140,000 will be spent on the Civic Arts Program, which distributes grants to local artists in fiscal years 2018 and 2019.
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 the Mayor's office supports continued collaboration with these community partners.