Elected officials discussed ways small businesses can tap recovery money

Last year was brutal for many businesses. Restaurants and stores closed for many months. Companies reported massive losses and layoffs. Thousands of small businesses permanently closed their doors.

Several elected officials discussed Thursday, June 3, resources available to businesses from federal, state, and local government programs during the “CD12 Business Resiliency” webinar hosted by Los Angeles City Council John Lee. Among guests were U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, Assemblymember Suzette Martinez Valladares, and L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

Fernando Nieto, program manager at the Los Angeles County Office of Small Business, encouraged business owners to explore Los Angeles County’s Small Business Concierge program, designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs and people who are starting up a business. The program offers various services, including help with obtaining permits and identifying potential sources of funding. Nieto said his team helps with developing a business plan and connecting companies to resources that will help them achieve their goals.

Another program, known as the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, or PTAC, provides one-on-one technical assistance, information, and training to small businesses in Los Angeles County and offers help in navigating government contracts and working with federal, state, and municipal agencies. Business owners can connect with a counselor by signing up here.

Another program launched by the city last year called LA Optimized hires photographers, videographers, and graphic designers to help brick-and-mortar businesses impacted to adapt to the digital marketplace and launch or improve their websites. Businesses can apply for assistance here.

The city will offer multiple resources to businesses after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an $11.2 billion spending plan this week for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The new budget includes:

$2.5- million for the LA Optimized program to help businesses get digitized;
A permanent Al Fresco dining program with $1.9 million in grants;
$25 million the Comeback program, featuring $5,000 grants to pay off debt, new equipment, and payroll;
$5 million to help revitalize tourism and hospitality industries;
$1.3 million to help street vendors clear bureaucratic hurdles and purchase modernized carts that will let business owners get the permits; and
$3 million for the Cannabis Social Economy program.

Leila Lee, Community Business Manager with the mayor’s office, encouraged businesses and landlords who need legal assistance to contact L.A. Represents, a coalition of law firms and attorneys who provide free legal advice to people impacted by the pandemic, including tenants, domestic violence victims and low-income individuals with employment, consumer debt, and bankruptcy issues.

“It can be very difficult for a lot of small businesses even to engage in conversations with your landlord,” she said.

Here’s a list of additional resources available to business owners:

Los Angeles City programs

Los Angeles City Emergency Microloan program ($5 million);
COVID-19 LA Relief Fund ($40 million); and
Restaurant and small business fund ($50 million – pending City Council approval).

Los Angeles County programs

LA COVID-19 Relief Fund ($60 million); aand
Small Business Stabilization program.

State programs

CA COVID-19 Relief Grant;
CA Rebuilding Fund;
CA Employment Development Dept. Work Sharing program;
CA iBank Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee program;
CA iBank Jumpstart Loan program; and
California Capital Access Program (CalCAP).

Federal programs

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL);
Emergency Economic Injury Grant (Targeted EIDL Advance);
SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP);
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant;
Restaurant Revitalization Fund;
SBA Debt Relief/SBA Express Bridge Loan; and
Main Street Business Lending Program.

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