A new grant program, Entrepreneurs of Color, is making financial resources available to new and existing businesses in underserved areas of Long Beach.

The Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA), in partnership with Turnbridge Equities and Waterford Property Company, will be providing $2,500 in seed money for 10 business owners.  The recipients also receive training valued at $2,000 through the initiative which is administered by Launch Long Beach, an organization dedicated to the empowerment of underrepresented communities by providing the tools, techniques, and skills for success.

Downtown business owners interested in applying to be eligible for the next round of Entrepreneurs of Color grants can do so at LaunchLongBeach.org. The ten selected owners receive their grant after undergoing a 14-week training program, in which they will be taught all the skills they need to run their business successfully.

Launch Long Beach, established in 2021, is a collaboration between DLBA and the Ubuntu Institute of Learning, in association with California State University, Long Beach’s Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. In addition to the new grant program, Launch Long Beach provides access to other capital grants, micro-loans, technical assistance, educational workshops, networking, and mentorship.

“Our aim is to culturally and holistically fill the gaps for Black and Brown entrepreneurs in the under-represented communities of Long Beach,” said Leigh Lester, Founder and Executive Director of the Ubuntu Institute of Learning. “Traditional entrepreneurship models do not adequately address the needs of these communities. Launch Long Beach goes above and beyond to provide tailor-made solutions for Black and Brown entrepreneurs because they are designed by Black and Brown entrepreneurs.

“Entrepreneurship is one of the most effective vehicles for eradicating poverty in under-invested communities,” added Lester. “With the support of DLBA, these Downtown entrepreneurs will have access to a broader constituent base for their products and services.”

The Entrepreneurs of Color grant program and the connection of Launch Long Beach with Downtown help fulfill one of the key goals of DLBA’s recently updated Strategic Plan: strengthening existing businesses and encouraging entrepreneurship.

“Encouraging successful entrepreneurship in Downtown Long Beach is one of the most effective ways to create jobs and stimulate the local economy, especially as we come back from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Austin Metoyer, DLBA’s Economic Development and Policy Manager. “DLBA’s Entrepreneurs of Color grants are an opportunity to showcase how investing in under-invested communities pays dividends.”