County Program Offers Grants and Loans to Revive Small Business Economy
Nori Guerrero, her three sisters, and her mother run a family business consisting of full-service rental for events.
This ranges from tents, tables, chairs, lights, furniture and much more. So successful was they that in September 2019 they transferred the company to a larger location in Santa Fe Springs, a city in Los Angeles County.
However, the family little imagined that the coronavirus pandemic would put their future in check.
Orbit Event Rentals is one of the many businesses that has been affected since the 'Stay at Home' order given by California Governor Gavin Newsom was implemented.
His event contracts were primarily from Los Angeles County, the Unified School District (LAUSD), as well as universities and community colleges.
"For graduations all this was very busy," said Guerrero. “And suddenly all of our events have been canceled or postponed. It is a huge loss. ”
Concerned not only about their business future but also about tomorrow, their 35 Guerrero employees and sisters began looking for information for small businesses.
Loans and grants
So they discovered the Individualized Support Program for businesses from the Los Angeles County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS).
"They helped us a lot with loans and grants," he said. "We received the $ 10,000 grant that reached our bank account on Monday."
With the loans and grants Guerrero said they were planning to hire 75% of their employees again and look for strategies to get afloat.
Stephanie Holloway, external relations manager in WDACS Business and Economic Development division, manages the layoff aversion program for companies considering closing services or terminating their staff.
"What we do is give them a consultation that is confidential and at no cost to the business," he explained. "We connect and evaluate them to see if they qualify for state programs, tax credits, local business loans and grant opportunities."
These services are offered only for businesses within Los Angeles County.
Holloway said they have seen and heard the frustration of many entrepreneurs who do not know when the reopening of companies will be allowed and if their company is considered essential or not.
"But we know that our business service representatives in our workplaces have proactively reached out to companies within their service areas and within their communities in order to provide them with resources to prevent them from closing," he added.
The director also mentioned that they received funds from the state that they can manage locally and that is how they were able to grant assistance subsidies to the employer, including the Guerrero business.
"We were able to successfully reward 49 companies," said Holloway.
This aid is a different set of funds than the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
“So it is money from the workforce. The federal government allocates dollars from the workforce to the state and then the state allocates them locally. Therefore, those funds were only state dollars, ”he explained.
WDACS also offers help for employees at the AJCC employment center.
How to contact them:
To contact a County Business Services Representative email Bizdev@wdacs.lacounty.gov
Disaster Relief Center to assist workers, businesses, and nonprofits as well as homeowners and tenants on current eviction moratoriums (833) 238-4450 Monday through Friday. 8 a.m. at 4:30 p.m., sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Orientation to potential laid-off employees to obtain unemployment benefits.
- For companies / employers, contact:
o Aversion to dismissal: Telephone (888) 452-3321
o Quick response: RapidResponse@wdacs.lacounty.gov
For job applicants / employees:
Email: AJCCJOBS@wdacs.lacounty.gov, phone: (888) 226-6300