LOS ANGELES — A new loan program led by Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets initiative aims to give small business owners the boost they need to open their doors, grow their companies, and create good-paying jobs. Great Streets Great Business is a $4 million business assistance partnership between Mayor Garcetti’s Great Streets initiative and the Valley Economic Development Center (VEDC), a local non-profit financial institution. Mayor Garcetti launched the new program today alongside L.A. City Councilmember Curren Price.
“Small business owners inspire us because their stories reflect the best of our values — courage, hard work and a commitment to serving our neighbors,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Community businesses are the beating heart of our economy, and they deserve our support. That’s what Great Streets Great Business is about.”
Great Streets Great Business will support small businesses located along L.A.’s first 15 Great Streets corridors by providing easier access to capital than a standard business loan. It will also provide resources like site selection and lease negotiation assistance that give businesses the chance to put down roots and thrive in their communities. The loan program will prioritize community businesses, and offer loans of $1,000-$250,000 to qualifying applicants.
“I’m delighted that the Mayor’s office has launched a new small business assistance and attraction program for North Figueroa Street as part of the Great Streets program,” said Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who played a leading role in developing the initiative. “This will help retain and revitalize small business, create economic opportunities and foster a sense of community for the Highland Park business corridor.”
“As a former entrepreneur, I have a deep and very personal passion for serving small businesses in the Ninth District,” said Councilman Curren D. Price, Jr., who chairs the City Council’s Economic Development Committee. “One of the first initiatives I spearheaded coming into office in 2013 was to form a Business Resource Center because I understand the importance of having access to business development tools. I’m honored to lend my support to Mayor Garcetti’s Great Streets Great Business program because it helps promote the growth of local, small and emerging businesses citywide. Entrepreneurs need capital, services and training and this initiative offers just that.”
Great Streets Great Business is just the latest of Mayor Garcetti’s efforts to support small businesses across Los Angeles. Last year, he announced a $250,000 grant from the Small Business Administration to help fund the development of online tools that will help get small businesses off the ground faster and more efficiently. Mayor Garcetti also launched a Small Business Academy that provides guidance to small business owners learning how to bid successfully for City contracts.
Great Streets Great Business is a close collaborative effort between Great Streets and VEDC. VEDC will work with L.A.’s BusinessSource centers to coordinate free workshops and one-on-one consultations, and provide assistance with site selection and lease negotiation. They will also contribute by providing business loan underwriting, and canvassing all 1,400 businesses on the first 15 Great Streets corridors to offer needs assessments and technical assistance to businesses.
“Great Streets Great Business recognizes the need to attract and retain new businesses such as restaurants and retail stores that can transform busy, but underutilized commercial corridors throughout Los Angeles by generating foot traffic,” says Nishen Radia, Chairman of the Board, VEDC. “These enterprises are essential in creating a sense of community that may be missing or dormant in these areas, and will stimulate progress in surrounding neighborhoods as well.”
In addition to VEDC, Great Streets Great Business is made possible by the Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department and the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, with support from AT&T.
About Great Streets
Mayor Eric Garcetti launched the Great Streets Initiative in October 2013 to transform streets across the city into more vibrant public spaces. A Great Street is a street that serves as the center of a neighborhood, where people can walk, meet, learn, and play on a daily basis. The Great Streets Initiative’s goals include improving safety and access, increasing economic activity, and encouraging community engagement. For more information, including a full list of Great Streets corridors, visit www.LAGreatStreets.org.