Manufacture: San Jose to deliver support to small manufacturers in San Jose’s underserved neighborhoods as part of the City’s Small Business and Manufacturing Recovery Initiative funded through the Cares Act

The U.S. Department of Commerce recently awarded $1.17M in Cares Act recovery assistance to provide technical support to small businesses and manufacturers in San Jose, CA, and to mitigate some of the hardships brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will support the comprehensive Small Business and Manufacturing Recovery Initiative through a partnership between the City of San Jose, the San Jose Downtown Association, and Manufacture: San Jose (MFG:SJ). The assistance will target communities most impacted by the pandemic, including Downtown, Central, and East San Jose.

MFG:SJ, a groundbreaking initiative launched in 2018 by SFMade, helps manufacturing companies start, grow, and stay in San Jose to create jobs for the local community.


“There’s been a huge escape of manufacturing skill, talent, and know-how. A lot of companies that manufactured in the Bay Area in the old days moved overseas. We need to do what we can to keep the US and the Bay Area strong. SFMade and Manufacture: San Jose can play a crucial role in helping to protect and grow this sector.”Roger Malmrose President & COO Green Circuits


“Manufacturing is a huge part of what goes on in San Jose,” said Chris Burton, Deputy Director, Office of Economic Development, City of San Jose. “Everybody thinks about tech, but our niche in tech is making stuff. We’ve always had a broad base of manufacturing, and small, artisanal manufacturing is becoming a huge part of our identity. That’s why we partnered with SFMade to create Manufacture: San Jose.”

Although only two years old, Manufacture: San Jose has already made great strides to connect low-income residents to jobs with local manufacturers through the Hiring Made Better workforce program; create opportunities for youth through paid internships and industry exposure through the YouthMade and Inside Manufacturing programs; provide technical, one-on-one assistance to manufacturers; and build a stronger, more connected manufacturing sector through quarterly industry forums in partnership with the Silicon Valley Manufacturer’s Roundtable.

There are more than 1,300 manufacturing companies in San Jose that collectively employ more than 60,000 people, and the industry “offers an important opportunity for a diverse mix of our residents,” according to Burton. “Supporting the industry in underserved communities is especially important, because the service sector—restaurant, hospitality, retail—has been hit the hardest during the pandemic, and those jobs may not come back.”


“Manufacture: San Jose actually caused me to think in a different way about how our business was run by separating how we approach the front end—the retail side—of the business and the manufacturing back end of the business. This allowed me to focus on optimizing manufacturing, which led to the launch of our wholesale business.”Nathan Pendleton, Owner, Nox Cookie Bar


By targeting the City’s underserved neighborhoods, the Small Business and Manufacturing Recovery Initiative will accelerate MFG:SJ’s efforts to create pathways to careers in manufacturing for people who lack four-year degrees or face other barriers to work. MFG:SJ will also use the funds to build a stronger, more diverse community of manufacturers in the City.
The Small Business and Manufacturing Recovery Initiative will increase MFG:SJ’s capacity and allow it to provide a range of services to businesses owned by people of color and those who employ individuals from the impacted neighborhoods, including:

  • conducting business health checks;
  • providing tailored, one-on-one advising and business analysis services;
  • helping small manufacturers secure and deploy capital;
  • connecting manufacturers to the City’s ecosystem of local resources and service providers; and
  • creating networking and educational opportunities to build a stronger, more connected community of manufacturers.

MFG:SJ will also provide hiring and workforce development support, including helping manufacturers recruit, re-hire, and retain diverse employees; and connecting job seekers to workforce development partners who will provide training and skills development to prepare applicants for open positions in the industry.

“We are honored to partner with the City to support manufacturers in the neighborhoods that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Michael Erickson, Regional Director, Manufacture: San Jose. “Manufacturing is one of the last middle-wage industries and is vital to address the increasing equity gap in the Bay Area. Empowering more diverse residents to participate in the manufacturing economy and developing locally-grown and owned manufacturing businesses will help to ensure inclusive communities have effective pathways to economic opportunity.”

“Manufacture: San Jose has had a huge impact on raising awareness, pulling the community together, and hammering home how important manufacturing is in San Jose,” said Burton. “And at a time when everybody is going to be looking at costs and whether or not it makes sense to have a business in such a high-cost location, any sort of continued support that we can give to make it easier for businesses to stay, operate, and thrive in our community is critical. This is some of the most important work that we do.”