Blog Series: Meet Our Outreach Team - Bianca Blomquist
Small Business Majority’s Outreach Team advocates for entrepreneurs on two fronts: It supports policies that would benefit small firms, and it offers workshops and events that help small business owners grow their companies. Over the coming months, we’ll be sitting down with members of our Outreach Team to provide an introduction and let small business owners know how our team members can assist them.
This week we are spotlighting Bianca Blomquist, Small Business Majority’s Northern California Outreach Manager.
Q: What is your role at Small Business Majority?
A: I’m really fortunate to be an Outreach Manager in Northern California. It’s a unique place to work in this industry, specifically because of my proximity to the Bay Area and all the non-profits and mission-driven organizations that operate here. I have access to all these different organizations that are coming together to address the small business lending gap and the associated issues with a lack of lending in that space.
Q: What is your background?
A: I was born and raised in Minnesota, but prior to this job I lived in Washington, D.C., for almost 10 years. I moved there right after I graduated college with the goal of getting a job on Capitol Hill. I was only supposed to be in D.C. for six months, but I ended up falling in love with the political culture in DC.
I got an internship working for then-U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.). It was around 2010, which was a really interesting time because we were right off the heels of the economic crisis, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act had just been implemented. That was what made me interested in financial services issues in the first place. It wasn’t because I am particularly business-minded, but because of the equity issues in that industry.
Q: Why Small Business Majority?
A: What attracted me initially was the constituency. The common denominator in my work had been working families, but when I saw an organization that was advocating for small business owners I thought this would be a new constituency for me. But it’s also one that bridged a political divide that was becoming more and more apparent in D.C. in 2018.
Q: How do you support small businesses in Northern California?
A: Anyone can be a consultant for small businesses, but what I think makes us unique is we connect small business owners with resources that already exist, especially resources that are free or low cost and unbiased and trustworthy. Small business owners of all backgrounds are in a vulnerable position, and for woman-owned businesses or business owners of color, there are systemic barriers between them and success. If we want to have a direct impact on people who are struggling in America, small business owners are definitely that group.
The efforts California is making to change the way it treats its small business owners is unique. California is implementing policies like CalSavers, which is California’s new state-run individual retirement account for small business owners who don’t currently have access to a work-based retirement plan. I see it as an honest effort by the state to attempt to level the playing field for small business owners so they might attract better talent and retain their workforce.
Q: What have you learned as an outreach manager that you wish you could tell all small business owners?
A: I would say: “You are not alone.” There are other small business owners who are going through the same things you are, and there are people who have made the same mistakes and bounced back.