Whether you are interested in starting and growing your business, finding applicable incentives or looking for financial assistance to operate your business, the California Business Portal is here to help! Starting a business involves making many key decisions. This web page has been set up to provide you with information to help plan, prepare and operate your business.

Take a look at our Business Quick Start Guides for the 10 most common business types in California.

Business Relocation

Are you looking to relocate or expand your business in California and need some guidance on where to start? Click on the following tabs to learn about different resources and requirements to help your business grow in California. It is important to consider several factors when deciding on the location of your business, including ease of access, proximity to competitors and potential partners, and zoning and signage regulations.

You can use the California Business Portal Mapping Tool to help decide where to locate and to learn about business assistance programs, workforce development organizations, entrepreneurship support, and regulatory boundaries located across the state.

In addition, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) provides comprehensive confidential site selection services tailored to meet the needs of individual companies and consultants. As a part of this service, GO-Biz will analyze the factors affecting a company’s investment decision including taxes, human resources, training and workforce development, incentives, financing, utilities, permits, and specific real estate opportunities available in the state.

GO-Biz serves as a company's liaison to California's regulatory agencies and local governments throughout the state. If your company is looking to relocate or expand in California, please complete an online confidential Site Selection Worksheet and contact GO-Biz.




California Competes - The California Competes Tax Credit is an income tax credit available to companies that want to come to California or stay and grow in California.


New Employment Credit - The New Employment Credit is an income tax credit available to companies that hire full-time employees within designated geographic areas. 


Employment Training Panel - The Employment Training Panel (ETP) provides funding to employers for training associated with upgrading the skills of their workers.


New Employment Credit - The New Employment Credit is an income tax credit available to companies that hire full-time employees within designated geographic area.


California Preservation Incentives - A wide variety of local, state and federal incentives are available for property owners who opt to repair and rehabilitate historical resources rather than turn to demolition and new construction. To learn more, visit the Office of Historic Preservation website.


California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank) CLEEN Center - The IBank established the California Lending for Energy and Environmental Needs (CLEEN) Center to offer financing to public agencies and non-profit corporations to help achieve the State’s greenhouse gas reduction goals and increase market confidence in green investing.  


Industrial Development Bonds - Industrial development bonds are tax exempt securities issued by the  Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (I-Bank), the State Treasurer’s Office, local Industrial Development Authorities, or by Joint Powers Authorities for the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation and equipping of manufacturing and processing facilities for private companies.






The California Business Portal provides you with relevant information about local, state, and federal business registration processes, permits, licenses and certifications. Business types and activities generally determine the licenses and permits needed to operate a business legally. Information provided here can be used to help you in your research to determine what requirements you need to look into to start, maintain and expand your business in the State of California.

Registering Your Business
Generally, all businesses that wish to conduct business in California need to register and form their legal entity with the California Secretary of State's Office, file appropriate taxes, register as an employer, and obtain business licenses and other permits from appropriate cities or counties. Depending on your business type there may be additional permits, licenses or certifications that your business needs to acquire. You can also visit our Start A Business Guide web page.

Business Compliance and Regulation
Find information on how to help your business stay in compliance and continue operating in the State of California. Information provided will also help you identify registration requirements to relocate, change your business name and transfer ownership

Business Permits and Certifications

Depending on your type of business operations, there may be federal, state, regional or local permits, licenses or certificates that you would need to acquire. The following tools and web pages are provided to help you determine the requirements.




The California Business Investment Services (CalBIS) Unit provides no-fee, tailored site selection services to employers, corporate real estate executives, and site location consultants who are considering California for relocation and/or expansion. Our staff is available to help identify the advantages of considering California locations for business relocation and expansion.  

In addition to site selection, the CalBIS team assists businesses with a wide array of incentives, resources, and services including: 

  • Financial assistance and loan programs
  • Labor availability and education information
  • State and local permit assistance
  • Transportation and infrastructure information
  • Information on tax credits and other incentive programs
  • Economic and demographic data

Additionally, GO-Biz serves as a company's liaison to California's regulatory agencies and local governments throughout the state.

For more information on California’s strategic business advantages, state-sponsored initiatives and incentives, please review the  California Business Investment Guide

Services Offered


Visit the California Business Portal for resources and information to get your business up and running.




With over 95 percent of the world’s population and 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power outside of the United States, international trade and investment have become a critical component for California’s economic growth and engine for creating jobs. In 2015, California goods exports accounted for $165.4 billion. Further, international trade supported more than 775,000 California jobs, and foreign-owned companies employed over 631,500 workers in California.

To capitalize on this immense global opportunity, the International Affairs and Business Unit is the state’s primary point of contact for expanding California’s international trade and investment relations. The unit works to drive business for California and to address barriers to the Golden State's continued global economic strength. The unit provides critical support on issues relating to international trade and investment opportunities, foreign relations, international agreements and partnerships with the countries that have a friendly relationship with California.

Visit the California Business Portal for more information. 




The California Competes Tax Credit is an income tax credit available to businesses who want to come, stay, or grow in California. Tax credit agreements are negotiated by GO-Biz and approved by a statutorily created “California Competes Tax Credit Committee,” consisting of the State Treasurer, the Director of the Department of Finance, the Director of GO-Biz, and one appointee each by the Speaker of the Assembly and Senate Committee on Rules.



For fiscal year 2016-17, GO-Biz will accept applications for the California Competes Tax Credit during the following periods:

  • July 25, 2016, through August 22, 2016 ($75 million available)
  • January 2, 2017, through January 23, 2017 ($100 million available)
  • March 6, 2017, through March, 27, 2017 ($68.3 million plus any remaining unallocated amounts from the previous application periods) 

Please refer to the Notice Fiscal Year 2016-2017 for more information.