L.A. stories of inspiration and success

L.A. stories of inspiration and success

LA City hosts a pop-up assistance center to aid local business owners who were negatively impacted by the I-10 closure and the fire that created the crisis
On November 20-21, 2023, the City of Los Angeles partnered with government agencies and community-based organizations to provide resources, assistance, and services to businesses suffering from economic hardships from the 10 freeway closure. EWDD's Southeast, East, and Hollywood BusinessSource Centers (BSC) were in attendance on both days to provide in-person resources to impacted business owners. The BusinessSource Centers spoke with and assisted business owners Francisco Torres and Carina Quinto.

Francisco Torres, owner of Torres Produce, explained that in the fire they lost trucks, forklifts, and other essential machinery needed to transport their businesses' produce. Due to this loss, they had to halt operations and are concerned about how they will find the funds to buy back all that was lost, pay rent, and pay their employees. Torres hoped to attend this event to receive information about loans or grants. "Whatever the City thinks is a fair amount for a grant or loan, it would be of great help," Torres expressed.

Carina Quinto, owner of MCA Diesel, faces similar hardships. In the fire, Quinto lost her office, her inventory and two of her clients’ trucks. Carina relies on the business, left to her when her husband passed from COVID, to support herself and her family. “I'm not working right now, and I have five kids and I don't know what to tell them. It's uncertainty.”

To aid in assisting more affected businesses, representatives from the Southeast BSC canvassed the streets in the damaged area providing close to 50 businesses with flyers about this resource event. When business owners became aware of the emergency event, "the [business owners] were ecstatic about this, grateful that they can access all of these resources in one place,” said a Southeast BSC representative.

The Local Business Assistance Resource Center is only the first step to recovery. Available to all businesses are 10 BusinessSource Centers located throughout the City of Los Angeles that provide services such as access to capital, entrepreneur programs, one-on-one counseling, and much more to help businesses succeed. EWDD’s Microenterprise Grant program is also accepting applications until December 10, 2023. This grant program offers grants of up to 5,000 to eligible microenterprises in the City of Los Angeles that need financial assistance recovering from the pandemic.

EWDD’s BusinessSource Centers offer resources to microenterprises, small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in the City of Los Angeles. These efforts work to revitalize the local economy by helping business owners launch viable businesses, grow revenue streams, and stabilize to create jobs. Visit EWDD’s BusinessSource Centers and learn how EWDD's Business Services can help businesses of all sizes.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from November 2023. Read this issue and more.