In an effort to help Black-owned businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, a Los Angeles nonprofit is accepting applications Monday from business owners in the personal care industry to join its free accelerator program.

Applications can be submitted for the Black Business Excellence Technical Assistance Initiative through Aug. 6, and accepted business owners will begin the 12-week program on Sept. 20, according to Local Initiatives Support Corporation Los Angeles. The program will include 10 expert-led learning modules, one-on-one business advising, networking opportunities within the personal care industry, investor pitching opportunities and access to the program’s alumni network.

“We are proud to launch the BBET Assistance Initiative to support Black-owned small businesses and achieve our broader goals by providing economic opportunities for diverse communities,” said LISC Los Angeles Executive Director Tunua Thrash-Ntuk. “Black-owned personal care businesses were some of the hardest hit during the COVID-19 crisis — and we believe this program will help the most impacted communities to thrive.”

According to LISC, more than half of Black-owned businesses had their revenue cut in half during the pandemic and Black business ownership decreased by 41% nationwide, citing a Washington Post article from May 2020.

Black business owners can qualify for the BBET Assistance Initiative if they have been in business for at least two years; are in the personal care, health, wellness or beauty sector; are located in Los Angeles County and are able to commit to five hours per week for the 12 week program. Small businesses with less than $300,000 in revenue are preferred but not required.

“Businesses providing personal care services were particularly impacted over the last year and partnering with LISC on this initiative was an easy decision and the right thing to do,” said Sherri Scott, senior executive vice president of Pacific Premier Bank.

The initiative is part of LISC’s Black Economic Development Agenda, which also includes:

— ASCEND LA, a program to provide small businesses owned by women and people of color with capital, market opportunities and executive management education; and

— The Elevate B.L.A.C.K. Leaders program (which stands for Black Leaders Academy Collective Knowledge) to support succession planning efforts for Black-led community development and racial justice organizations.

The application for the BBET Assistance Initiative is available at lisc.tfaforms.net/418, and LISC will host two information webinars before the Aug. 6 deadline. People can register for the webinars happening on July 28 and Aug. 4 at bit.ly/bbetwebinar.

More information about the Black Economic Development Agenda can be found at www.lisc.org/los-angeles/BEDA.

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