Wells Fargo awards $1.25 million grant to Together for L.A., focused on diverse-owned small business

Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund awards $1.25 million technical assistance grant to Together for L.A., focused on small business recovery & resilience

LOS ANGELES, CA (June 9, 2021) – Wells Fargo has awarded a grant of $1.25 million through their Open for Business Fund to Together for L.A., the Los Angeles collaborative for small business recovery & resilience, to address the COVID-19 economic crisis by significantly expanding business technical assistance services to LA County’s small businesses and microenterprises led and owned by women and Black, African American, Latinx, Asian American, American Indian, and Alaska Native people, focused on those in low and moderate income (LMI) communities.

The founding members of LA Collaborative include the grant’s lead applicant and fiscal agent Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Local Initiatives Support Corporation Los Angeles (LISC-LA), The Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, and The Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD), which are working together to advance a more equitable, sustainable and resilient economic recovery.

Together for L.A. will serve businesses with multilingual and multicultural programs and resources critical to small business survival, reinvention and recovery via substantial outreach and engagement campaigns, webinars and workshops to teach best practices, and will provide one-on-one technical assistance which will be delivered both online and in community. This program will be one of the largest efforts, not just in Los Angeles or California, but across the nation, to reach and serve LMI BIPOC businesses and help them reopen, reinvent themselves and recover through the provision of various forms of technical assistance.In close coordination with the County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs and the City of Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department, the five Together for L.A. partners have been serving thousands of diverse small businesses since the inception of the pandemic. With the generous proceeds of this grant they will be able to deliver their best-in-class technical assistance programs well into 2022 with a new level of communication, coordination and collaboration for the benefit of an unprecedented number of diverse small businesses in LMI communities across LA County which are still at risk due to the extraordinarily long and deep economic disruption wrought by the pandemic. This new, Wells Fargo-funded phase will launch in July 2021 and continue for a full year.

Through these direct assistance programs, businesses will receive help overcoming challenges related to capital and liquidity, expenses, legal matters, broadband internet, workforce, health protocols and other operational challenges, while enhancing revenue opportunities and overall resilience so businesses are able to better withstand future economic shocks.

“The toll the pandemic has taken on LA’s small business community has been devastating. We are grateful to all the organizations who have come together to help small business owners keep their doors open throughout this ordeal,” said Gregg Sherkin, Wells Fargo SVP Southern California Social Impact and Sustainability. “Though there is light at the end of the tunnel, there’s still a long way to go and we also need to be sure that small businesses are prepared for any future crisis. Collaboration will be critical and we are thrilled to support the work of Together for LA to make Los Angeles the most inclusive and resilient region for small business in the United States.”

Read media coverage in San Gabriel Valley Tribune

LAEDC CEO Bill Allen said, “Simply reopening our economy does not equate to full recovery of small businesses and jobs lost to the pandemic, especially those in our historically disadvantaged communities of color.  As a banker to businesses large and small, Wells Fargo understands that well and we are grateful for their support and partnership in focusing our collective efforts on the recovery of our region’s women and BIPOC owned small businesses and microenterprises.”

L.A. Area Chamber president & CEO, Maria S. Salinas said, “Since the pandemic began, the Chamber has been laser focused on ensuring the small business community and microenterprises had access to the resources they needed to survive the pandemic. Now, as our economy is on the cusp of reopening, these same businesses require support, guidance and resources not only to continue to survive but thrive. The Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund grant ensures Together for L.A. can do just that.”

“Local businesses, the pillars of our communities, have been hit hardest by the pandemic — and it is crucial that we ensure that they all have access to an equitable recovery,” said Tunua Thrash-Ntuk, Executive Director of LISC LA. “The Open for Business Fund grant will help in financing these recovery efforts and we are grateful to be partnering with an institution like Wells Fargo who understands the role diverse businesses play in Los Angeles’ resilient economy.”

“We are proud to join with the leading business organizations in the County to work together to address the critical resilience issues in our region, ” said Dr. Lucy Jones, Founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society. “As we begin to emerge from the disaster of the pandemic, we must continue to work to build resilience to the next disaster. The work of Together for L.A. will serve the region well for what we might face next, be it earthquake or some other disaster.”

“Over the years, Wells Fargo has been one of the leading businesses in the country in assisting small businesses to get through disasters, and the company’s support for the LA Collaborative builds on this heritage. Together for L.A. will not only deliver valuable technical services to some of the most vulnerable and distressed small businesses in the region, it represents a giant step forward in how public-private partnerships for economic recovery get done. The Institute for Sustainable Development is proud to endorse and support this initiative,” explained Stephen Jordan, CEO of The Institute for Sustainable Development.

The Together for L.A. collaborative is doing this work in recognition of the fact that Los Angeles County is home to more than 1.3 million small businesses, including more women and BIPOC owned small businesses than any other county in the nation. These employer and non-employer establishments provide the majority of jobs and income for the ten million residents of America’s most populous and diverse county and tens of thousands of these enterprises remain at significant risk due to the disruptions caused by the pandemic.  As of March 2021, small business revenues in LA County are still down by more than 30%. Together for L.A. is committed to working as a combined force to advance a more equitable economic recovery.  Businesses are encouraged to request assistance at the Together for L.A. webpage.

About Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC): Celebrating its 40th year, public-benefit, nonprofit LAEDC drives action in support of a reimagined Los Angeles regional economy that is growing, equitable, sustainable and resilient, and provides a healthy and high standard of living for all.  www.laedc.org

About LA Area Chamber of Commerce: With a mission to advance opportunities and solutions for a thriving regional economy that is inclusive and globally competitive, with a promise to be bold, transformative, inclusive and responsible, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in the LA region. www.lachamber.com

About LISC LA: LISC LA is one of 35 local offices of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national organization that works with residents and partners to forge resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. www.lisc.org/los-angeles/

About Institute for Sustainable Development: The Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD)’s mission is to help communities and small businesses survive and thrive for the long-term in the face of extreme events and chronic stresses.  www.isdus.org

About Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society: Fostering the development of more resilient communities, the Dr. Lucy Jones Center leverages partnerships with scientists, government agencies, business leaders and community organizations to operationalize resilience action. https://drlucyjonescenter.org/


Media contact:  Lawren Markle, LAEDC, [email protected] , 213-236-4847

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