Farmers & Merchants Bank, a Downtown Long Beach mainstay since 1907, is supporting the local small business community in a Legacy Partnership with DLBA, dedicating $90,000 to a pair of DLBA grant programs over the next three years.
The two grant programs—The Entrepreneur Education Series (EES) and the Women-Owned Business Accelerator (WOBA) were previously funded by the City Redevelopment Agency.
“Our contract with the City Redevelopment Agency expired during the 2017-2018 fiscal year,” said Austin Metoyer, Economic Development and Policy Manager for DLBA. “That contract allowed us to give part of that funding away as small business grants. Farmers & Merchants Bank has given us a way to back-fill that loss of funding.”
The EES is aimed at new small businesses and is designed to help with such start-up costs as business licenses and marketing materials. Participants will attend a comprehensive six-week small business education series, then have the opportunity to give a three-minute pitch in front of a panel of judges. Up to seven winning pitchers will receive an equal portion of this year’s $20,000 EES grant money.
WOBA was created to support existing businesses that are majority-owned by women and looking to expand. $10,000 has been earmarked each year for grant recipients to cover business growth costs such as adding employees, buying new equipment and moving to a new location.
“As a supporter of DLBA, and true to our values, we are dedicated to promoting economic inclusion by growing small businesses and cultivating entrepreneurs in our local economy,” said Phil Bond, F & M Bank Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer.
DLBA secured the F & M funding with the help of Daniel Han, an Executive Fellow with FUSE, the national non-profit that partners with local governments to help urban small businesses thrive.
“Farmers & Merchants Bank is a strong partner,” said Han. “It embraces the diversity of the communities here in Long Beach.”
“We are extremely grateful to F&M Bank for its contribution to these important grant programs,” said Kraig Kojian, DLBA President and CEO. “Our dedication to build a strong Downtown business ecosystem is reflected in these programs and we are pleased to continue them with the generous support of Farmers & Merchants Bank, a long-time Downtown partner.”
To learn more about and apply for these grant programs, please visit the Investor page at https://downtownlongbeach.org/invest/entrepreneurship-and-investor-resources/