As the Governor’s Small Business Advocate, I have been hearing firsthand about the challenges facing California’s small business owners in this troubled economy. The state’s budget system is also facing a tough financial crisis, but Governor Schwarzenegger is pushing for economic stimulus to aid businesses large and small across the state. He’s also very concerned with hearing from the business community about what issues they’d like to see the state tackle to help in this climate.

That’s why the Governor is welcoming small business leaders to the first-ever Governor’s Conference on Small Business and Entrepreneurship in Los Angeles next week on November 18 & 19.

Patterned after the White House Conferences on Small Business held in Washington occasionally since 1981, the Governor’s Conference will bring together leaders from all the sectors of the California economy by region, business sector, ethnicity, and generation. The diversity of the state’s small businesses will provide the breadth of vision for better and more inventive ways that the state can work with small businesses to pave the way to greater prosperity.

In spite of the current economic slowdown, we know that the future of the state’s economy has enormous potential. In emerging fields like biotechnology, nanotechnology, alternative fuels and energy sources, along with traditional sectors applying new technology like film and entertainment, education, communications, finance, and construction, significant opportunities for productivity growth and profitability can be glimpsed. The potential for our state’s aggressive climate control policies, like AB 32, to encourage invention and application of new carbon-free energy and fuel sources has also yet to unfold.

I believe that given the dramatic events of the past several months impacting the global financial structure, there is no greater moment than now to call upon the collective wisdom of California’s entrepreneurs and small business owners to propose new ways to build our future. The power of creative men and women to develop and produce newer and better goods and services is truly the driver of economic recovery.

The conference will deliberate on a series of draft proposals for improving state policies in areas ranging from access to capital to workforce development. They will distill these down to a top ten working list and present them to the Governor for consideration as part of his small business agenda going forward.

It’s been my honor to serve small businesses as their advocate. I am looking forward to doing a better job once I hear what their leaders and colleagues have to say next week.

Anyone interested in attending the conference can register here.