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Small Business Advisory Board

The City's Small Business Advisory Board is charged with advising the Mayor and City Council on any matter that will enhance the capability of small businesses in San Diego to succeed, such as the formulation of laws, policies or procedures that may affect the management, operation or financial stability of small businesses. There are 11 board members appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council.


The Small Business Advisory Board was established in July 1982 to develop a cooperative and supportive atmosphere between the independent business community and the City of San Diego. The board was established at a time when small businesses were considered to have a minor impact in the overall scheme of economic development. By supporting the advisory board's creation, city leaders made a strong statement about the unique role of small businesses in the development of jobs. This decision is now considered extremely proactive, especially bearing in mind the significant role small businesses have played in San Diego's economic recovery. The foresight of the San Diego City Council has prompted other cities in the United States to attempt to duplicate the program.

Board Members

The Small Business Advisory Board, comprised of an eleven-member, unpaid board appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council, represents key small business organizations, such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce, as well as leaders in the small business community. The staff of the City's Economic Development Department, in addition to their department responsibilities, serve as staff to the board, carrying out specific projects initiated by the board. Current board members are:


Jeff Barger
Vice President | Business Center Manager
California Bank & Trust

Tristan Barnum
Wildfire Systems

Shane Beard (Vice Chair)
FASTSIGNS® San Diego / Mira Mesa

Donna DeBerry
Chief Executive Officer 
Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce 

Austin Evans
Life Law Partners, LLP

Michelle Gray (Chair)
President | Dean
Gray Sourcing | Business and Information Technology, San Diego Community College District

Sarah Mattinson
Olive Cafe & Olive Baking Company

Jason Paguio
President & Chief Executive Officer
Asian Business Association

Natasha Salgado
Community Engagement Coordinator
Logan Heights Community Development Corporation 

Jim Schneider
Executive Director
College Area Business District

What Types of Issues Does the Board Address?

Advocating regulatory relief and policy reform is high on the list of issues that the Small Business Advisory Board addresses. The board works with the City to reduce regulations, streamline the permit process and reduce taxes for small businesses. Recent highlights of issues and accomplishments include:

  • Guiding the efforts of the Economic Development Department staff in the development of the Small Business Enhancement Program
  • Promoting the reduction of the Business License Certificate (business license) fee from $70 to $34, for business with 12 or fewer employees.
  • Working in cooperation with the City's Fire Department on the interpretation of rigorous fire codes to provide more flexibility in dealing with unrealistic safety measures for vitally needed affordable housing in the San Diego community.
  • Monitoring of combustible, explosive and dangerous material policies and improvement of inspection projects.
  • Easing of sign code enforcement for major construction projects in conjunction with the Office of Small Business's Infrastructure Impact Program staff, City Code Enforcement representatives, and members of the small business community.
  • Reducing, in partnership with the City's Police Department, regulations for reporting requirements and 30-day holds of merchandise for secondhand dealers.
  • Testifying before the state Legislature's Revenue and Taxation Committee which helped cut by 25 percent the Minimum Franchise Tax for corporations with gross receipts of $1 million or less.
  • Coordinating a successful partnership between the Police Department, the alarm industry and small businesses to develop new regulations to help reduce the staggering number of false alarms that plague the community.

Annual Reports

PDF icon 2018 Annual Report


The Small Business Advisory Board typically meets the third Friday of every month and any member of the public is invited to attend. Meetings convene at 9 a.m. at the Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., San Diego. See posted Board Meeting Agenda for specific location. Individuals and representatives of community groups may appear before the board to address challenges impacting small businesses.

During the current State of Emergency and in the interest of public health and safety, Board or Commission members will be participating in Board or Commission meetings by teleconference. In accordance with the Executive Order, there will be no members of the public in attendance at the Board or Commission meetings. We are providing alternatives to in-person attendance for viewing and participating in Board or Commission meetings. In lieu of in-person attendance, members of the public may submit their comments online.


Meeting Videos


External Committee Agendas

Internal Committee Agendas