Grant program launches with ‘Equity Fund’ for women-owned businesses
The application period opened Friday for a financial recovery grant program for microenterprises in Los Angeles, along with a specific “Equity Fund” to support women-owned businesses.
“While women lost jobs at an alarming rate during the pandemic, we saw female entrepreneurship begin to boom. Women who were stuck at home found other ways to make an income, build businesses and support their families,” said Council President Nury Martinez. “Through these Equity Fund grants, we can help women continue to build and grow their businesses right here in Los Angeles.”
The Microenterprise Recovery Grant Program will provide grants of up to $15,000 to businesses with five employees or less, including the owners, located in Los Angeles. Businesses must also be for-profit and in need of financial assistance to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of $8.5 million will be distributed, with $1 million set aside in the Equity Fund to specifically target women-owned microenterprises.
Martinez’ office cited data from the National Women’s Business Council that found that women lack equitable access to business financing. While the U.S. has 165 women and about 12 million women-owned businesses, global venture capital and equity financing for women-led startups decreased to about 2.3% in 2020.
The Women’s Equity Fund is aimed at closing the funding gap and leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs in Los Angeles.
“Women-led businesses have historically faced tremendous hurdles to achieve success, and there are troubling signs that they may be slower to recover from the pandemic’s economic fallout,” said Carolyn Hull, general manager of the Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department. “The Women’s Equity Fund improves their ability to bounce back and continue to contribute to the city of LA’s vibrant small business community.”
People must submit their application before April 15, provide documentation confirming their eligibility and explain how the grant funds will be used for COVID-19 recovery business expenses. Documentation must also be provided in the future that shows the grant was used toward those expenses. People can use the funds for operating expenses, including but not limited to payroll, lease payments, insurance and inventory.
More information is available at bit.ly/MicroenterpriseGrant.