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Starting, Growing, or Relocating Your Business
- Starting Your Business
- Find a Business Location
- Zoning Requirements
- Tax benefits through the Oakland Enterprise Zone
- Licenses and Permits
- Oakland Business Tax
- Employee Recruitment
- Free Architectural Assistance
Starting Your Business -- The Business Assistance Center
Starting a business in Oakland is easier than ever with the opening of the City of Oakland's first one-stop Business Assistance Center (BAC). The center helps entrepreneurs and existing business owners streamline the process of starting, relocating and growing a business in Oakland.
Let the BAC be your first point of contact in starting you business. A self-administered assessment form helps guide the BAC staff in tailoring assistance to your specific needs. Click here to use the assessment form.
Visit BAC’s information-packed site at www.OaklandBAC.com. Or call (510) 238-7952.
Find a Business Location
To find out about all the resources available to help you find the best location for your business, visit the Business Assistance Center.
Contact the Zoning Division to obtain zoning clearance for your business location.
Receive tax benefits through the Oakland Enterprise Zone
If you locate your business in the Oakland Enterprise Zone, which covers a large portion of the city, you may qualify for a variety of dollar-for-dollar tax credits to offset your California state income taxes. The largest single benefit is the Enterprise Zone Hiring Credit, totaling up to $37,440 per qualified employee over a five-year period. Other benefits include Sales and Use Tax Credits, Business Expense Deductions and Net Operating Loss Carryovers. To learn more, visit the Enterprise Zone site.
Licenses and Permits
Research the licenses and permits you may need for your business at California Government: On-line to Desktops (CalGOLD). This simple-to-use program will help you determine which local, regional, state and federal licenses and permits you will need for your business operation.
Oakland Business Tax
All businesses, residential rental properties and commercial properties must have an Oakland Business Tax certificate to do business in our city. Contact the Business Tax Unit for detailed information and applications.
If you need help in recruiting qualified employees, visit our Workforce Development page.
Free Architectural Assistance
Free architectural assistance and 50% matching grants are available to property and/or business owners for eligible Facade and Tenant Improvement projects. The program enhances the visual appearance of targeted commercial districts by helping to rehabilitate commercial and mixed-use buildings.
Façade improvement Grant funds can be used to rehabilitate historic façades, exterior repairs, windows, painting, cleaning, signage, awnings, exterior lighting and landscaping.
Tenant Improvement Grant funds may be used for interior improvements to vacant commercial spaces that have been vacant six months or longer and have a prospective tenant.