Together for L.A. is a strategic partnership to strengthen and support women and diverse-owned small businesses in L.A. County, as they strive to recover from the economic crisis wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. No cost technical assistance and connections to small business resources are made available through a generous grant from Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund.
Together for L.A. partners include 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, The Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD), City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County; who are working together to advance a more equitable, sustainable and resilient economic recovery.
Together for L.A. 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%. The Together for L.A. collaborative is committed to working as a combined force to advance a more equitable economic recovery.
Please click each organization’s name below to connect directly with each partner and learn about small business resources and programs.
Together for L.A. Partners:
News Announcement About Together for L.A. — June 9th, 2021
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.
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.
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.
Through these 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.”
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 via this 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. If your small business is in need of assistance, complete our business intake form to receive one-on-one consulting and support. This service is provided at no cost, as part of our mission to help small and diverse-owned businesses with access to capital, revenue strategies, layoff avoidance and resources to help you overcome challenges. www.laedc.org/coronavirus
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/
Contact Angela Amirkhanian, Program Manager at [email protected] for more information.
TOGETHER FOR LA: INITIAL WORK
Information below is from December 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has not only been a public health disaster, it has caused massive social and economic fallout throughout the United States and the rest of the world. The importance of small business to the region has been widely recognized by both the public and private sectors. Combined, local government, businesses, and community foundations have mobilized more than $204 million dollars toward COVID-19 small business relief efforts to date. This is the single largest metropolitan small business relief effort in the United States, followed by Chicago, New York, Miami, and Dallas.
Made possible thanks to the generous support of Wells Fargo, Together For LA: First Report on LA’s COVID-19 Small Business Response captures how this response has evolved, identifies key challenges, and provides insights and recommendations from a diverse range of small business owners and leading economic recovery assistance providers in Los Angeles. The report is authored by Institute for Sustainable Development.
Local Fox11 TV news profiles an example of a small business assisted through the collaborative effort profiled in the report.
Unemployment in LA County reached a high point of 21.1% in May with 716,000 jobs lost to date. As of October data, the unemployment rate had declined to 12.3 percent, a significant recovery, but still historically high. Much more needs to be done and the situation is tenuous for most small businesses in the region. Over 140,000 small businesses have applied for assistance to date in the LA region.
This report covers the challenges identified by public and private sector economic responders, and offers recommended next steps to increase the resilience of the small business community and the broader economy.
PRESS RELEASE ON DECEMBER 2020 TOGETHER FOR LA REPORT
Report on how Business and Economic Development Leaders respond to this and future crises
Keven Chavez [email protected]
TOGETHER FOR LA: REPORT ON LA COVID-19 ECONOMIC RESPONSE NOTES UNPRECEDENTED EFFORTS AND INNOVATIONS
Leading organizations in Los Angeles call for additional collaboration –
LOS ANGELES – Dec. 9, 2020 – From the moment the first round of Safer at Home orders were announced in March 2020, Los Angeles business, civic, philanthropic and government leaders mobilized rapidly to save the county’s hundreds of thousands of small businesses, microenterprises and even community serving non-profits and their millions of employees from potential financial ruin. An initial study highlighting the unprecedented response, and noting the importance of communication, coordination and collaboration amongst these leading Los Angeles institutions to manage a crisis of this scale in the nation’s most populous county, has been compiled and released by Virgina-based Institute for Sustainable Development.
Together for LA: First Report on LA’s COVID-19 Small Business Response aims to spread best practices on what types of support are helping small businesses the most so that those best practices can be replicated and supported with further collaboration from the public and private sector.
The report finds that Los Angeles County, Los Angeles City, and leading economic and civic institutions have led the single largest metropolitan response in the country – awarding over $204 million in grants and loans to stabilize small businesses, micro-enterprises and nonprofits across the county. In addition, area responders have provided valuable technical assistance, training, capacity building, trouble-shooting and other valuable services to help thousands of small enterprises reinvent themselves to remain viable in the face of the pandemic.
“Small businesses have been very hard hit across the country because of COVID-19,” Stephen Jordan, CEO of Institute Sustainable Development (ISD) said, “While the challenges are massive, Los Angeles area economic responders have stepped up, and they are continuing to build important and valuable support systems that should help significantly in the tough months ahead.”
The report highlights key challenges affecting the response and recovery in the first eight months of the pandemic:
- The unemployment high point in L.A. County reached 21.1 percent in May and more than 715,000 jobs were lost to the pandemic at the peak. As of October, the unemployment rate is 12.3%, down an impressive 42% from the peak, but still historically high.
Further, the report offers key learnings for responding to the needs of small businesses in future crises:
- It is important to build on positive initiatives to strengthen trust-building, information sharing, communication, coordination, division of labor and resource mobilization among Los Angeles area economic recovery and resilience providers.
- You cannot talk about recovery, until you define stabilization and integrate science and technical best practices with emotional and social support.
- More real-time data capture and analytics capabilities need to be built to identify service deserts, track minority-owned business access to capital, services and procurement issues, and identify opportunities for enhanced provision of services to entrepreneurs in low and moderate income neighborhoods to help them survive such crises and reinvent themselves to become more resilient to such economic shocks in the future.
- Capacity-building needs to continue to take place at multiple levels, including working with community organizations working with minority business associations, Business Improvement Districts, and other neighborhood business groups.
- Capital assets and venture capital for minority, Black, and women-owned enterprises and for Latinx businesses need to continue to be developed – not just in terms of helping entrepreneurs and start-ups, but also helping small businesses to acquire technology and scale.
- Small business recovery and resilience service providers need to be sensitive about the user experience in working with them, especially for the many small businesses with minimal technology/internet skills. Tools that simplify and reduce frustration with the process like the development of a common application that can be used by multiple organizations would be very helpful.
“At Wells Fargo, we felt the need to support a report that would provide insight to key learnings to navigate a pandemic, especially for those businesses most adversely impacted,” said Gregg Sherkin, Senior Vice President Wells Fargo Social Impact & Sustainability. “With commitments to small businesses through our local foundation and the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund, we continue to provide valuable funding and other critical resources to support LA County business owners as they work to keep their doors open, retain employees and rebuild.”
“Federal programs like the PPP and SBA’s EIDL program were critical to helping our small businesses survive the pandemic but they didn’t go far enough to address our smallest businesses, especially those BIPOC and women-owned enterprises in our low-and-moderate income communities and that’s where our collective work focused in LA County,” said Bill Allen, CEO of LAEDC. “The need remains great across our region and we hope all levels of government and sectors of society will help us keep up the fight to bring the resources necessary for survival to our most vulnerable communities in the months and years ahead.”
“Understanding the science of a disaster, how it progresses and why human beings respond the way they do, allows leaders and local businesses to better manage its impacts,” said Dr. Lucy Jones, Founder and Chief Scientist of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society. “Understanding reduces fear and provides tools for a more effective response.”
“The pandemic has been the most challenging crisis to hit the country, state and region in recent times. The health and economic crises have revealed the disparities within our communities. In response, we have seen that the bold collaboration between public and private sectors has been instrumental in ensuring the survival of our micro and small businesses that fuel this economy. The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce has supported small businesses with much needed resources and information, including technical assistance support to access capital as they navigate this pandemic. We believe the cross-sector collaboration that developed this report should be used as a framework for other regions on how to effectively leverage systems and resources to address this pandemic and any future crisis,” stated Maria S. Salinas, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
“COVID-19 has shone a light on the lack of safety nets available for diverse, women and Black owned businesses. While Los Angeles has mobilized in response, providing critical financial relief to those impacted by the pandemic, it is clear that removing barriers to resources and providing access to capital will be the key drivers in sustaining and growing diverse businesses,” said Tunua Thrash-Ntuk, Executive Director of Los Angeles Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LA LISC)
Community leaders say that small businesses are still suffering and under even further pressure from a new round of Safer at Home orders instituted in late November, and this work to help them react, reinvent and recover is likely to continue for the next twelve months, if not longer. Several initiatives are in process that build on the findings in this report.
More information can be found at TogetherForLA.org