CAMEO Campaign Helps Unemployed be Your Own Boss! and Start Small Business!

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While today’s unemployment numbers show promise for the economy, the number of long-term unemployed remains steady. Let's focus on helping those with entrepreneurial potential to start their own small businesses and support CAMEO’s Help Unemployed BeYourOwnBoss campaign.

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We initiated the 'Help Unemployed BYOBoss' campaign, because California’s unemployment rate continues to remain much higher than the national average. Many unemployed people are capable of creating their own job.

August’s unemployment rate is 8.1 percent. About 40 percent of those who are unemployed have been jobless for more than 27 weeks – that’s 5 million people. If they can’t find a job, they can create their own and start their own small businesses.

“We need new options for the large number of people who can’t find a job and have been unemployed for over half a year. One option is to help those with entrepreneurial potential to start their own small businesses,” says Claudia Viek, C.E.O of CAMEO, California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity. “The Workforce Investment System must offer business skills training to those who want to start a small business to become their own boss.”

The federal government understands this and has set aside $35 million for states to implement a Self-Employment Assistance program. If California implements a program it will receive at least $5.3 million in federal money.

Under the SEA program, unemployed workers will be able to receive or maintain their unemployment insurance benefits while they start their own small businesses – a full-time job in its own right – without having to look for other full-time work. Currently, in California this is not the case.

“We initiated the Help Unemployed BeYourOwnBoss campaign, because California’s unemployment rate continues to remain much higher than the national average,” said Viek. “Many unemployed people are capable of creating their own job. California needs to apply for these federal funds and train the entrepreneurial unemployed to become their own boss. Self-employment creates at least one job per start-up that is for the owner, and creates jobs for others over time.”

Take for example, Andrea M. (not her real name) from Sacramento who called the CAMEO office. Recently, she was laid off from her job at a telecommunications company. Fortunately, Andrea has an entrepreneurial streak and had been moonlighting as a small business owner. After her nine-to-five, she would come home and work on her web company. Instead of waiting for a corporate job to open and be hired, she intends to grow her own job and run her business full-time. Her goal is to create her own income and get off unemployment. She also hopes to expand her business so that she can hire other people who can't find jobs.

According to a new report, The State of Independence there is a “conscious structural shift and recognition of a new model of work and engagement” and that is toward self-employment. The number of independent workers grew from 16 million in 2011 to 16.9 million in 2012. Self-employment is a labor market trend. The Workforce system needs to incorporate that reality into their training.

In California, to get funds to operate SEA, the legislature needs to pass a bill and our Governor Jerry Brown needs to support it. California leaders have the opportunity to assist the unemployed to become self-employed, create jobs, and reduce the unemployment rolls – all at the same time.

About CAMEO

CAMEO’s mission is to grow a healthy, vibrant, thriving environment for all entrepreneurs and start-up businesses by advancing the work of our statewide member network – the over 160 organizations, agencies and individuals dedicated to furthering the fortunes of micro-businesses in California. Our vision is to create economic opportunity for all entrepreneurs, to build wealth and strong California communities.

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Heidi PIckman
CAMEO
415-992-4484
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