May 7, 2023
Lara Arsinian, DEO Communications
Empowering and Celebrating LA County’s Small Businesses During National Small Business Week and Beyond
Newly created LA County Department of Economic Opportunity Co-hosts First-Ever Regional Small Business Summit and Calls on Residents to Shop Local
Los Angeles, CA – During its inaugural celebration of National Small Business Week, the newly created LA County Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) hosted a weeklong series of free local events, community engagement sessions, and panel discussions to empower and celebrate the contributions of small businesses countywide, including the first-ever LA Region Small Business Summit presented in partnership with the City of LA.
The summit brought together more than 80 major local, state, and federal business service providers at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College on Wednesday May 3 and connected thousands of local small businesses to free, on-site support with grant applications, business certifications, consultations, procurement opportunities, legal aid, and more – all in one place!
Business owners were invited to attend panel discussions with local and regional experts, networking opportunities with industry peers, and keynote addresses by the City of LA Mayor Karen Bass, DEO Director Kelly LoBianco, Carolyn M. Hull (General Manager of the City of LA Economic and Workforce Development Department), and Gregg Sherkin (Wells Fargo Senior Vice President of Philanthropy and Community Impact) uplifting the critical role of small businesses and entrepreneurs within local communities. Educational panels throughout the day covered emerging topics such as access to grants, free advertising tools, workforce growth opportunities, connecting to capital, navigating contracting and subcontracting opportunities, and more to help break barriers that small businesses may face.
“Small businesses do more than sell a product – they are cultural anchors that bring communities together. While our local communities were in crisis, small business stepped up and showed up as they bore the brunt of the economic impact. And now, it’s our turn to help,” said Kelly LoBianco, Director of LA County Department of Economic Opportunity. “As National Small Business Week comes to an end, we want all small businesses in LA County to know that DEO will be here round the clock to help small businesses and entrepreneurs connect to new opportunities, create new pathways, and access new resources to help their recovery and growth. We can’t thank our partners enough, including the City of Los Angeles, for their support in the Small Business Summit and all our events celebrating and empowering small businesses throughout this week.”
The resource expo featured various DEO programs, services, and campaigns including Shop Local LA County, a new initiative launched on Saturday April 29 at Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles marking the start of National Small Business Week in LA County. Shop Local urges residents to support local small businesses by shopping local all year-round, and connects small businesses to a wide range of resources to support their digital and economic growth, including access to social media training, digital marketing support, coaching, and more. By highlighting the vibrant and diverse range of businesses that LA County has to offer, Shop Local amplifies the critical role small businesses play in driving growth and job creation within local communities.
Additionally, DEO staff and partners provided on-site technical assistance and application support for the Economic Opportunity Grant program throughout the summit. EOG offers $54 million in grant opportunities for nearly 7,000 microbusinesses, small businesses, and nonprofits ranging between $2,500 to $25,000. As part of the event program, DEO announced the selection of the first 1,000 microbusiness Phase 1 grant recipients, equaling to $2.5 million in grant funding directly into LA County’s small business community. The summit also featured Winifred Lee Richardson, owner of Gold One Words and recent EOG awardee of $2,500 Phase 1 grant to speak on her experience.
At DEO, small businesses can connect with the County’s Office of Small Business and the East LA Entrepreneur Center to access customized one-on-one business counseling, free legal assistance on topics including commercial tenancy, contract development, intellectual property and more, and specialized webinars, workshops, and trainings to help residents open and grow a business. Contact the Office of Small Business at 844-432-4900 or via email at OSB@opportunity.lacounty.gov.
To access DEO programs and services, visit opportunity.lacounty.gov. Visit shoplocal.la to learn more about Shop Local, and to access digital marketing training, calendar of events, social media support, and other resources that will support business growth. And visit grants.lacounty.gov to apply for Phase 1 of the Economic Opportunity Grant program still available for microbusinesses today.