Ecosystem Building: Los Angeles
Our team in the Los Angeles area is focused on supporting and growing the local small business ecosystem by serving the needs of women and Latinx entrepreneurs and connecting them with vetted resources. To this end, in 2018 we launched our Women’s Entrepreneurship Program in Los Angeles to provide guidance on topics like marketing; obtaining certification as a woman-owned business; networking, mentorship and procurement options; accessing responsible capital, including through crowdfunding; accessing resources to meet childcare needs; and more.
Our Women’s Entrepreneurship Program and Latinx outreach efforts in Los Angeles grew from needs we saw firsthand in the local small business community and sought to address. We organized roundtables to discuss how financial institutions can better support women-owned businesses, and upon learning that many women want to build relationships with lenders they can trust, we used our events to facilitate those relationships with our partners. We also found that many entrepreneurs are not yet loan ready and need additional help getting there. While we initially set out to connect entrepreneurs directly with lenders and other sources of capital, we have expanded our program to feature more technical assistance providers and resources on topics beyond access to capital, including money management, marketing and more.
We also are serving on the advisory board for The Valley Economic Alliance Women’s Collaborative Mentoring Program, which offers grants and education to economically disadvantaged women-owned businesses. We work with them to elevate women entrepreneurs in the community and host local events like the Women’s Collaborative Colloquium. We also serve on the planning committee for the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Economic Development’s annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Celebration, which drew more than 500 attendees last year.