Just a few months ago, the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) and Mayor Eric Garcetti introduced the first 13 participants in Cohort 1 of the Founders Business Accelerator (FBA) program. Today, we celebrate the successful completion of the program for our inaugural business participants and the launch of the application process for our Cohort 2 2020 program.
The FBA is a small business and startup acceleration program designed to assist underrepresented small business and startup founders in low income neighborhoods in the City of Los Angeles grow their businesses. The FBA program recognizes the potential of small business owners and gives them the tools they need to succeed and grow their enterprises.
Prompted by the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and the strong support of Council Members Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Monica Rodriguez, the FBA program is part of a city-wide initiative for cultivating a more equitable economy for all Angelenos. “Small businesses are the beating heart of our economy—job creators that share Los Angeles’ innovative spirit with the world,” said Mayor Garcetti regarding the FBA program. “Working together with LACI, we’re ensuring small business owners have the tools they need to reach new markets, grow their bottom-line and thrive.”
The long-term goal of the FBA program is to create a collaborative innovation center for small business owners and facilitate future generations of change agents dedicated to making a positive economic and social and environmental impact here in Los Angeles.
FBA participant NanaEfua Afoh-Manin is the CEO of Shared Harvest Fund. Shared Harvest is the first student loan repayment benefit and rewards program that is mobile and available for independent workers. Nana shared that “the most valuable part of the FBA program was definitely the cohort, the family of people that would support what you’re doing and validate that yes, you are the person to get it done. The way I see my business making an impact in Los Angeles to significantly lower the number of student loan debt overall compared to most of the major cities. The real problem right now in Los Angeles when we’re talking about equity in an urban sector is that African American women still have the largest percentage of student loan debt. And we’re also the ones that are most impactful in volunteering and social enterprises. So this is an opportunity to take the shackles off and allow us to dream big and recreate what we want last time just to look like without that.”
LACI’s FBA program is helping Nana and the other 12 dynamic business leaders selected in Cohort 1 by providing invaluable mentorship as well as legal, human resources and marketing consulting services. Each cohort member was paired with a seasoned business mentor to help refine goal setting, manage finances and provide successful growth strategies.
Do you or someone you know have a small business that is dedicated to making social economic or environmental impact in their community? Applications for the Cohort 2 2020 FBA Program are currently being accepted.
Learn more about the FBA program, Cohort 1 or to apply for Cohort 2.