LA County Offers New Financial Support for Small Businesses Hurt by COVID-19

EDITOR’S NOTE: The online portal referenced below appears to no longer be working. That may be a result of the number of applicants going online at once. So it might be wise to check back later.

Small businesses and non-profit organizations in Los Angeles County that are feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic now have another possible source of support. 

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to create the Los Angeles County COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Program. The program is a public-private partnership with Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo Foundation, Citibank, and other private sector partners. The online portal where businesses can apply for financial support will open today at 1 p.m.

“Our small businesses and nonprofits are economically and culturally interwoven in the fabric that makes up Los Angeles County,” said Ridley-Thomas in an announcement of the program. “I am proud of or joining with the County of Los Angeles to bring needed resources to our businesses, who are suffering great losses as we cope with this unprecedented pandemic.”

The county will put $12 million dollars into the program. Initial private sector commitments include $15 million in capital from by Goldman Sachs Group, $1 million from Wells Fargo Foundation, $100,000 from Citi Community Development, and $25,000 from Union Bank Foundation.

The county’s partnership with Goldman Sachs Group will open a new channel for up to $15 million of additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans targeting microenterprises and nonprofits through Goldman Sachs’ national community development financial institution partner, Community Reinvestment Fund USA (CRF). CRF plans to work through local partners to reach target businesses and nonprofits who might otherwise not have access to the PPP program via a traditional banking relationship.

“Ensuring all businesses have access to these resources is of paramount importance,” said Ridley-Thomas, emphasizing the importance of equity and inclusivity as resources are made available to local businesses. “We know from history and intuitively that the best-resourced businesses are often first in line for available relief.”

Additional support from Citi will provide $100,000 to the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce to provide additional technical assistance and outreach for businesses. Union Bank Foundation’s $25,000 philanthropic contribution will serve as an operating grant to support local community development financial institution partners’ work to deploy Relief Fund capital.

The Relief Fund complements recent county programs to support small businesses, including $500,000 in small business grants available through the Workforce Development, Aging, and Community Services Department, and a $3 million small business loan program through the Los Angeles County Development Authority. The county has also begun to provide technical assistance to help small businesses access state and federal funds that are being made available to abate the impact of the crisis, through Department of Consumer and Business (DCBA) Help Center.

The motion directs the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) to launch the fund by April 21. More information about how to access available funds and and updates on the Relief Fund can by found on the county’s Disaster Help Center website, or by calling (833) 238-4450.