In June 2020, the California Legislature approved Assembly Bill 82 (Chapter 14, Stats. 2020), which established the Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development (SEED) Initiative to be administered by the California Workforce Development Board within the Labor and Workforce Development Agency. The Employment Training Panel, also within the Agency, is administering SEED on behalf of the Board.
Founded in 2006, Immigrants Rising transforms individuals and fuels broader changes. With resources and support, undocumented young people are able to get an education, pursue careers, and build a brighter future for themselves and their community. For more information, visit immigrantsrising.org.
SEED funding is open to California residents who are starting or growing a business in California that addresses a social problem or community need.
Applicants must identify with at least one of the following:
Yes. SEED funding is only available to California residents starting or growing a business in California.
SEED funding is only available for people doing business in California. However, businesses do not have to be registered to apply for SEED funding.
We will consider applications for businesses that address a variety of needs, target diverse populations, and employ different strategies. We will consider new business ideas that include a detailed business plan and budget.
Applicants can engage in any of the following types of business: a sole proprietor, independent contractor, 1099 employee, C-corporation, S-corporation, cooperative, limited liability company, partnership, or limited partnership.
We are open to supporting businesses that serve and advocate for undocumented people. We are also open to supporting businesses with broader potential impact, as we are certain that undocumented entrepreneurs have ideas that could benefit society in countless ways: projects that strengthen families and build community; projects that advance educational achievement; and projects that broaden economic opportunities; and projects that improve public health or the environment.
We want to support businesses that are sustainable. A sustainable business is one that will continue to grow and function beyond SEED funding. Sustainable projects must demonstrate an understanding of upcoming challenges and uncertainties, and articulate a plan for how to address these challenges and uncertainties. We will evaluate both financial sustainability (steady flow of funding or revenue generation) and programmatic sustainability (ongoing relevance of programs and services).
Most importantly, the projects must create positive social change, as well as be designed and led by undocumented people.
SEED funding is not available for people starting non-profit organizations.
Read profiles of our Previous Entrepreneurship Fund Grantees
Social entrepreneurs undertake enterprises that are centered on solving social problems in their communities while simultaneously generating revenue.
We are looking for undocumented entrepreneurs who have the passion, determination, and leadership skills necessary to lead social change businesses that are innovative, important, impactful, and sustainable.
Read profiles of our Previous Entrepreneurship Fund Grantees.
We define the term “undocumented” broadly to include all immigrants who reside in the United States without legal status, including all of the following categories:
Definitely not! We believe that entrepreneurial talent is not limited to undocumented young people with DACA, and that undocumented young people who do not yet have work authorization can still lead entrepreneurial projects. Any undocumented* person is eligible to apply for SEED funding.
*See above for our definition of undocumented.
Yes! We recognize that the undocumented community is very diverse. We welcome and strongly encourage proposals that reflect and respond to that diversity. We are especially interested in proposals from project leaders from the African and Asian diasporas and from leaders who identify as LGBT, queer, or transgender. We also strongly encourage applications that address the needs and concerns of diverse communities.
There is no age limit.
We will consider requests for one-time, non-renewable grants of $5,000 or $10,000.
The $5,000 grants will be available to individuals starting or growing a business with annual gross business revenue/gross receipts less than $100,000 in the 2021/22 taxable year.
The $10,000 grants will be available to individuals growing a business with annual gross business revenue/gross receipts more than $100,000 up to $1,000,000 in the 2021/2 taxable year.
We will disburse $1.5M in funding through $5,000 or $10,000 one-time grants.
We are open to providing support for a wide variety of expenses directly related to your business:
Ineligible Uses of Funds
Yes! SEED awardees will be provided with a wide array of technical assistance offerings, join a national network of undocumented entrepreneurs and freelancers, and get media exposure for their projects.
May 15, 2023 Level 1 Application deadline
May 31, 2023 Invitation to Level 2 Application
August 5, 2023 Level 2 Application deadline
September 5, 2023 Notification of award (tentative)
September 30, 2023 Disbursement of funds to selected grantees (tentative)
November 30, 2023 Deadline to spend funds and submit evidence (tentative)
You will receive an email notification from SEED Staff to let you know that you’ve been invited to Level 2 of the SEED Grant Application Process.
Being invited to Level 2 and completing the requirements of the SEED Grant Application process does not guarantee that you will receive the SEED Grant. Level 2 is an opportunity for you to engage with the SEED Team further, and participate in submitting additional information. This does not guarantee that you will become a grantee.
Yes. You must complete all modules in the Spark entrepreneurship course (spark.immigrantsrising.org), and receive your certificate to apply for SEED funding.
No. If you are working in a team, you must select one person to submit one application. Do not submit multiple applications for the same business.
No. Each individual will only be eligible to receive one grant. We encourage you to concentrate your efforts on a single business.
We recommend you gather the following materials before you begin:
You can apply between March 29th to May 15th.
The criteria below will be used to evaluate SEED funding applications:
If you are NOT selected for a SEED grant, you may submit another grant application in the next funding cycle. If you already received a SEED grant, you may NOT apply to receive a second grant.
Fantastic. We would love for you to support our work. You can make an online donation to Immigrants Rising here.
You can learn more about entrepreneurship on our site at immigrantsrising.org/makingmoney.
Watch this short film to learn more about Immigrants Rising’s entrepreneurship programming!