Council President, EWDD Launch Women's Equity Fund

Council President Martinez, EWDD Launch Equity Fund to Supplement Financial Support for Women Entrepreneurs The Equity Fund is a $1M set aside that will provide grants of up to $15,000 to women-owned microenterprises located in the City of Los Angeles LOS ANGELES – Today Council President Nury Martinez and the Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department (EWDD) launched the Equity Fund to supplement the Microenterprise Recovery Grant Program with funds targeted towards women-owned microenterprises.

“While women lost jobs at an alarming rate during the pandemic, we saw female entrepreneurship begin to boom. Women who were stuck at home found other ways to make an income, build businesses, and support their families,” said Council President Nury Martinez. “Through these Equity Fund grants, we can help women continue to build and grow their businesses right here in Los Angeles.”

Throughout the pandemic, pre-existing inequities were exacerbated in both our local economy and nationally. However, while women lost jobs at a faster rate than men and are regaining jobs at a slower rate, female entrepreneurship has climbed.

One of the most significant issues uncovered by the National Women’s Business Council was women’s lack of equitable access to business financing. Despite the fact that the U.S. is home to 165 million females and approximately 12 million women-owned businesses, global venture capital and equity financing for women-led startups fell to around 2.3% in 2020.

The City’s Women’s Equity Fund will help women-owned businesses close the funding gap and contribute to our efforts to put all Los Angeles entrepreneurs onto an equal playing field.

"Women-led businesses have historically faced tremendous hurdles to achieve success, and there are troubling signs that they may be slower to recover from the pandemic’s economic fallout," said Carolyn Hull, EWDD General Manager. "The Women’s Equity Fund improves their ability to bounce back and continue to contribute to the City of LA’s vibrant small business community."

Through the Equity Fund, EWDD will provide grants of up to $15,000 to eligible women-owned microenterprises located in the city that need financial assistance to aid in their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants must submit complete applications before the deadline; provide documentation confirming that they meet the eligibility requirements, terms, and conditions; explain how the grant funds will be used toward necessary COVID-19 recovery business expenses; and later make available documentation demonstrating that the grant funds were used toward those expenses.

To be eligible, businesses must be for-profit, have five employees or less (including the business owners), and be located and operate within the City of Los Angeles. Funds can be used for operating expenses, including but not limited to payroll, lease payments, insurance, and inventory. The application period opens on March 25, 2022 and closes on April 15, 2022. Additional details, along with a link to the application portal, will be available at bit.ly/MicroenterpriseGrant. ###