California Small Business Grant Program and CalSavers Retirement Program

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In a recent webinar hosted by Treasurer Ma and Senator Wieckowski, the discussion revolved around two important programs for small businesses and employees in California. The first program highlighted was the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, which provides grants to small businesses affected by the pandemic. The second program discussed was the CalSavers Retirement Program, which requires businesses with five or more employees to participate in a retirement plan if they do not offer one directly.

California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program

The webinar began with Senator Wieckowski encouraging small business owners to take advantage of the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program. This program offers grants, not loans, of up to $25,000 to eligible small businesses impacted by the pandemic. The grants are intended to provide financial assistance without placing any burden of repayment on the recipients.

Round six of these grants opened on April 28th, and Senator Wieckowski emphasized that even if a business is currently closed but expects to reopen, they are still eligible to apply. The program has already awarded a total of $11 million to 900 companies in the 10th Senate District in previous rounds, demonstrating its effectiveness in supporting small businesses during these challenging times.

CalSavers Retirement Program

The second program discussed during the webinar was the CalSavers Retirement Program. This program aims to address the issue of retirement security among workers in California, particularly women who make up two-thirds of retirees living in poverty. CalSavers provides a professionally managed retirement savings program for workers, helping them build assets and gain financial stability.

Under the new legislation, all businesses with five or more employees are required to participate in CalSavers if they do not offer their own retirement program or savings plan. The program offers a portable Individual Retirement Account (IRA) that can move with employees as they change jobs throughout their career.

One of the significant benefits of CalSavers is that it places no financial responsibility or employer fees on businesses. Therefore, small businesses can provide retirement security to their employees with minimal assistance. By participating in CalSavers, businesses can level the playing field with competitors who offer retirement plans, attracting potential employees who prioritize retirement benefits.

The Role of Treasurer Ma

Treasurer Ma, who oversees CalSavers, expressed her support for the program during the webinar. She highlighted the importance of retirement savings and financial resiliency in both the short and long term. As Treasurer of California, Ma is responsible for managing the state’s finances and overseeing the investment of funds.

She emphasized the dedication of the CalSavers program in helping employers and employees navigate these uncertain times. Once businesses register for CalSavers, they have no other financial or legal liability. Treasurer Ma encouraged attendees to reach out to them for any questions or assistance regarding the program.

Overview of CalSavers Program

Jonathan Herrera, the Outreach Manager for the CalSavers program, provided an overview of how the program works during the webinar. He acknowledged the challenges that employers currently face and assured them of CalSavers’ commitment to providing support and flexibility.

The program addresses the issue that nearly half of Californians are projected to retire into economic hardship, primarily due to a lack of access to a workplace-based savings program. CalSavers aims to address this issue by offering a simple and portable solution for employers to provide retirement savings benefits to their employees.

Under the legislation, any California business with at least five employees that does not currently offer a qualified retirement plan is required to register for CalSavers. The program is designed to be plug-and-play, ensuring that employers can provide their employees with access to savings without the traditional fees and liabilities associated with employer-sponsored plans.


The webinar hosted by Treasurer Ma and Senator Wieckowski focused on two important programs for small businesses and employees in California. The California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program offers grants to businesses affected by the pandemic, while the CalSavers Retirement Program ensures that businesses provide retirement savings options to their employees.

By participating in these programs, small businesses and employees can secure financial support and plan for a better future. California State Treasurer Fiona Ma and Senator Bob Wieckowski are committed to assisting businesses and individuals throughout the process.

For more information or to apply for the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, visit the ca website. To learn more about CalSavers and how it can benefit your business and employees, visit the CalSavers website or contact the CalSavers Outreach Manager, Jonathan Herrera.

Sources: California State Treasurer’s Office

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