Community Development Block Grant
Success Stories

Los Angeles, CA - Mayor Richard Riordan

Entrepreneurial Training Program

The City of Los Angeles Entrepreneurial Training Program provides low- and moderate- income individuals seeking to establish businesses with business management training which covers such aspects of successful business planning as marketing, accounting, cash flow analysis, personnel management, sales, inventory control, legal issues and licensing. Program services also are available to owners of fledgling businesses seeking expansion which will create jobs to be filled by low- and moderate-income persons. Training is targeted to residents and business owners located in economically disadvantaged City areas such as State-designated enterprise zones, the Empowerment Zone, the South Central Enterprise Community and City redevelopment areas.

The Entrepreneurial Training Program was originally developed to address issues which arose through the City's participation in commercial financing, revitalization, and business incentive activities. City staff observed that a large number of local business owners were not prepared to access these services fully, due largely to a lack of adequate business planning. Further, there appeared to be potential to develop the kind of business management expertise among local residents that would allow them to become self-employed.

The Program coordinates its efforts with complementary programs which provide business technical assistance and financing, including: the City-operated Business Assistance Center Program which provides individualized consulting, referral and loan packaging services to business owners in economically disadvantaged areas; small business and micro-loan programs; and the Los Angeles Community Development Bank, which is an additional source of business capital. The Program offers training modes designed to meet the varied cultural and language needs of City entrepreneurs and has established a network of training partners with expertise in assisting the diverse clientele within their neighborhoods; this network reaches residents and business owners in African-American, Hispanic and Asian communities. The training partners which conduct all of the direct program activity - including outreach, screening/intake, training and follow-up - include a broad range of local organizations such as economic development corporations, universities and colleges, and a church. They combine expertise in business management with an ability to serve persons who are often unaware of, or reluctant to access, the range of business development now available.

CDBG has provided the majority of funds for the Program - currently $800,000 - and has enabled the City to bring business management assistance to most disadvantaged City areas. An additional $500,000 in public and private funds has been awarded to program partners within the past three years as a result of the CDBG investment. Between 1995 and 1998, the Program graduated 1,400 participants, started 275 businesses and created 387 jobs. The average cost per job/business start-up was approximately $4,000.

Contact: Jasper Williams, Interim Director, Industrial & Commercial Development Division, (213) 485-2952

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352

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