Valley Works: Doing business in California

FRESNO, California

The governor has created the Office of Business and Economic Development, with the intent of not only bringing companies to California but streamlining the process for those already doing business here.

You could say that Dr. Vernice Nellon is proud of how far her business has come.

Dr. Nellon said, "I've been able to do a lot of projects in a short period of time that I've been in this industry so I've been able to gather my experience from that quickly and people are recognizing that."

Although Unlimited Energy Solar Solutions has been around since 1984, Nellon took it over three years ago. She is one of the few women who own a green business, and was invited to the White House last year to participate in a discussion on the industry.

Dr. Nellon said, "It's been a venture; I lucked out having family and friends backing me up and supporting me taking me to this next level."

But Dr. Nellon says she knows a lot of small business owners who haven't been as lucky, they don't have that support. She acknowledges what many have been saying for a long time, it's not easy starting a business in California.

Dr. Nellon said, "With just the documentation and the funding that required, the taxes that take place and what is required for you to run a business, it can be very, very overwhelming."

The criticism hasn't gone unnoticed, the state is reaching out to business and individuals who want to do business here.

Barbara Vohryzek said, "We are here to serve California and California businesses are our customers and so I think it's very important for the customer to have access to the people who are here to serve them."

Vohryzek is a small business advocate with the governor's Office of Business and Economic Development, known as Go-Biz and Fresno was the first stop on her brown-bag lunch tour reaching out to small businesses.

Vohryzek said, "What can we do at the state level to assist business in interacting with the state in complying with regulations licensing, permitting, what are the things we can make easier for small businesses."

Dr. Nellon was at this meeting, she came like the others to learn about the new health care law and how it might impact business. She is also looking to expand and was excited to learn about funding to train new employees.

"As a small business we are always looking for additional funding to get to that next level," said Dr. Nellon.

Most of those here agree that Go-Biz Is a good thing, but say the state still has room for improvement.

Business owner Rick Snow said, "I don't think Sacramento has got it yet, now they may be starting to wake up, but they are still very groggy."

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