CalOSBA Announces Formation of 2022 Entrepreneurship & Economic Mobility Task Force


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The California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA), part of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), announced the formation and leadership team of the 2022 Entrepreneurship & Economic Mobility Task Force (EEMTF), formed to propel inclusive entrepreneurship and to ensure that all California small businesses have access to the resources they need to grow and scale.

“As a business owner and technical assistance provider before my current role, I know all too well the challenges small businesses face. This Task Force will focus on addressing current challenges that include workforce and capital access constraints to support a continued sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis as well as look forward to opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship on a broad scale,” said Tara Lynn Gray, Director of CalOSBA.

Lenny Mendonca, owner of the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, has accepted the Chairmanship of the 2022 EEMTF. Serving alongside Mendonca as Task Force Vice Chairs are Gurinder S. Ahluwalia, Member of the Board of Hightower Advisors and InspereX and Maria S. Salinas, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Mendonca is the former Chief Economic and Business Advisor to Governor Gavin Newsom. He is also a Senior Partner Emeritus of McKinsey & Company, a lecturer on inequality at the Stanford Business School, and Founding Chair of the Coastside News Group. Over the course of his career, he has helped dozens of governments, corporate, and nonprofit clients meet their most difficult management challenges.

Mr. Mendonca stated, “I’m excited about the goals of this Task Force! And I know that with the assistance and experience of our Vice Chairs Ahluwalia and Salinas, we will work together to improve the success rates of California’s entrepreneurs and improve economic mobility in California.”

Gurinder S. Ahluwalia is Vice Chairman of the Board of InspereX, an Executive Advisor to Thomas H. Lee Partners and Lead Director of the Board of Directors for HighTower. Mr. Ahluwalia was a co-founder of 280 CapMarkets, a fintech capital markets company. He brings over twenty-five years of operating and financial services experience with a proven track record of building, fixing and growing businesses, most recently in wealth management.

“I am honored to be part of a team that’s aligned with the agenda of CalOSBA and I am interested in finding ways to ‘pay it forward’ through better inclusion,” said Mr. Ahluwalia.

Maria S. Salinas is the President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the largest business association in Los Angeles County representing member companies and serving the interests of more than 235,000 businesses across the Los Angeles region. Ms. Salinas took the helm of the organization in August of 2018 and became the first woman and Latina to lead the Chamber in its 132-year history. An accomplished businesswoman, entrepreneur and a determined community leader, Ms. Salinas’ business acumen and financial expertise provides her with the right experience to lead the L.A. Area Chamber.

“The Entrepreneurship and Economic Mobility Task Force highlights the power of effective private public partnerships working together to propel equity in opportunity for entrepreneurship ensuring all have access to the resources to start, grow, and scale which also helps our communities I am proud to lead as Vice Chair of the Task Force and invite regional business leaders to participate,” said Ms. Salinas.

The leadership team’s first task will be to select up to 21 additional Task Force members reflecting the geographic, demographic and economic diversity of California. The EEMTF will include successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders who can serve as a bridge from GO-Biz to the community of small business and startup owners, as well as leading working groups tasked with developing ideas and solutions to propel California’s next generation of innovative entrepreneurs.

The activities and deliverables of the 2022 Entrepreneurship and Economic Mobility Task Force will focus on three main subject areas:

  • Democratizing Access to Capital
  • Diversifying the Innovation Economy
  • Driving Economic Mobility through Entrepreneurship

The EEMTF builds on the work completed by the 2019 Entrepreneurship Task Force.


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