The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved $327,000 in funding for two small business initiatives in economically underserved communities.

Supervisor Hilda Solis allocated the money from her discretionary fund for the First District, which stretches from downtown Los Angeles east to Claremont and south to South Gate.

“Small businesses drive our regional economy by sparking innovation and providing employment opportunities to local residents,” Solis said in a statement. “We must provide these small businesses the necessary tools they need in order to succeed and expand in our competitive business sectors.”

The first initiative — funded with $200,000 — will provide small businesses in the San Gabriel Valley with microloans and technical support through the Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment program in El Monte. PACE will provide services in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog and other languages.

In East Los Angeles, the county will partner with Project Equity to pilot a program for small businesses in need of succession plans. Project Equity will help owners explore transitions to different models of employee ownership, including worker-owned cooperatives, democratic Employee Stock Ownership Plans and employee ownership trusts.

Project Equity will be part of the East L.A. Entrepreneur Center set to open at Centro Maravilla. The center hopes to improve access to low-cost loans for everyone from street vendors to small-to-medium enterprises.

Solis said both initiatives are designed to prevent the displacement of small, local businesses and encourage local spending.

“Small businesses keep our regional economy strong, and I am committed to supporting their innovation and growth by providing them the necessary services they deserve to help them gain the skills, knowledge and capital they need to truly thrive in L.A. County,” Solis said.

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