Small business owners in Los Angeles can receive counseling, education and debt repayment assistance to help them rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic through a program announced Wednesday by Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Businesses can access free counseling 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through the program, which is a partnership between the Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department and Money Management International. The goal is to help business owners stabilize cash flow, decrease debt, improve credit standing and reach financial goals, according to the mayor.
“Small businesses account for nearly half the jobs in our city and their recovery is essential to our economy,” Garcetti said. “We recognize that small businesses are the foundation of our communities and are committed to helping them get back on their feet.”
The mayor’s office said part of the program’s goal is to address the disparity in which businesses receive federal financial support. While small businesses have been hit hard during the pandemic, those owned by women and minorities have suffered the most, according to the mayor’s office. Businesses with Black owners have received an average of $19,000 in Paycheck Protection Program loans from the federal government, while businesses with white owners have received an average of $47,000.
“Small businesses endured extraordinary financial hardships during the pandemic, including negative impacts to their credit and increasing their debt,” said Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department General Manager Carolyn Hull.
“The office of Mayor Garcetti and the city of LA’s Economic and Workforce Development Department’s collaboration with Money Management International supports local mom-and-pop shops by offering small businesses the tools to establish credit and debt management best practices,” she said. “Learning these skills helps small businesses strengthen their finances and broaden their access to capital, ultimately boosting the city’s economic recovery efforts and the restoration of LA’s vibrant small business community.”
During the fall, the city will provide $37 million in “comeback” checks and rental assistance to help small businesses recover from the pandemic. Over the past year, it has given more than $56 million in grants and loans to businesses and microentrepreneurs.
Business owners can access counseling by visiting bit.ly/3jANIyf or calling 888-645-2227.