Four Los Angeles County-based organizations will partner to catalyze economic growth for ‘open air’ businesses owned by Black and Latina women across the county
LOS ANGELES. March 16, 2022. JPMorgan Chase will make a $5 million commitment to support street vendor businesses owned by Black and Latina women in Los Angeles County. The commitment will support the Open Air Economy Collaborative, a partnership of local community organizations including Inclusive Action for the City (IAC), California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC), Public Counsel, and East LA Community Corporation (ELACC), to help local Black and Latina street vendors strengthen their businesses. These small businesses provide economic opportunities for low-income and immigrant workers, and play an important role to promote food access across Los Angeles County.
The commitment, announced today, will be executed over three years. During this time, the Open Air Economy Collaborative will provide 500 street vendors and other micro-entrepreneurs with one-on-one coaching and over 200 vendors with low-interest loans. The community organizations will also help the small business owners address barriers frequently encountered when navigating the permit approval process, overcoming financial obstacles, and accessing support services.
“Street vendors are an essential part of Los Angeles’s economy. Moreover street vending is a vital pathway for Latina and Black women entrepreneurs to establish successful businesses for their families and communities,” says Diedra Porché, Head of JPMorgan Chase Small Business Banking in California. “Even with recent changes to local laws, vendors continue to face barriers that prevent them from formalizing their participation in Los Angeles’s local economy. This is why it is important for JPMorgan Chase to partner with the Open Air Economy Collaborative so that we can help underserved communities achieve a more equitable present and future.”
According to a report produced by the UCLA School of Law Community Economic Development Clinic and Public Counsel in August 2021, of an estimated 10,000 sidewalk food vendors working in the City of Los Angeles, only 165 had received permits. Additionally, there are many thousands more vendors selling merchandise and other goods in the open air economy. Vendors face a variety of challenges throughout the process of seeking a permit, hindering the majority from formalizing their businesses and accessing critical business development opportunities and services. For example, instruction materials are not translated into commonly spoken languages, commissary space is severely limited, and equipment barriers and unreasonable regulations prevent the construction of affordable vending carts.
To achieve the goals of the three-year commitment, the Open Air Economy Collaborative will:
- Increase access to capital through micro-loan programs to help entrepreneurs buy equipment, obtain permits, and grow or launch their business;
- Provide business coaching and legal assistance to help vendors navigate operating in the open air economy;
- Guide street vendors and microentrepreneurs through financial literacy and related economic education programs.
“We’re emerging from a global pandemic that has disproportionately impacted Black and Latina street vendors and micro-entrepreneurs. For far too long, these entrepreneurs and community leaders have worked on the margins of our economy simply due to the nature of how they earn their livelihood in the ‘open air economy’,” said Rudy Espinoza, Executive Director of IAC.
This three-year grant in Los Angeles is an extension of JPMorgan Chase’s $30 billion, five-year commitment to advance racial equity.
“We’re proud to partner to help dismantle barriers to access and ensure that Black and Latina micro-entrepreneurs have the financial and educational resources needed to thrive,” said Paulina Gonzalez-Brito, Executive Director of the California Reinvestment Coalition.
The grant dollars come directly from the firm’s Advancing Cities Challenge, its $500 million initiative started in 2018 to invest in solutions to drive equitable solutions through community-based strategies.
“Cultural entrepreneurs like street vendors and mariachis are a key part of Los Angeles culture, our collective identity and contribute significantly to the social and economic fabric of our city,” said Monica Mejia, President and CEO of ELACC.
About JPMorgan Chase’s $500 million commitment to drive growth
In 2018, JPMorgan Chase created a $500 million five-year initiative that combines the firm’s lending capital, philanthropic capital and expertise to support innovative solutions to challenges that have limited equitable and inclusive economic growth. The program includes large scale commitments where deeper investments are needed to drive inclusive growth, as well as a challenge to source innovative cross-sector solutions for U.S. cities. What started as the Advancing Cities Challenge which launched in September 2018 has since attracted more than 600 proposals over three cycles. In 2021, the firm received more than 200 applications from nearly 80 communities across 34 states.
About JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading financial services firm based in the United States of America (“U.S.”), with operations worldwide. JPMorgan Chase had $3.7 trillion in assets and $294.1 billion in stockholders’ equity as of December 31, 2021. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing and asset management. Under the J.P. Morgan and Chase brands, the Firm serves millions of customers in the U.S. and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients globally.
Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com