2018 Grants Challenge
🎉 Winner

LA Street Vendors: Building an Inclusive Economy for the Future City

We will activate Angelenos to engage in and build an inclusive economy that support LA’s 50,000 street vendors, whose entrepreneurship contributes to our neighborhood economies and cultural landscape.


Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

We will activate 100,000 Angelenos to participate in building an equitable economy that is inclusive of micro-entrepreneurs like street vendors, whose creativity and hard work make a vital contribution to local neighborhood-based economies. By engaging vendors, small businesses, manufacturers, public officials, and food lovers from across our diverse city, we seek to grow security and opportunity for an innovative street food industry that contributes to LA’s vibrant food culture and economy.

Which of the CREATE metrics will your activation impact?​

Jobs per capita

Manufacturing activity

Minority- and women-owned firms

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?​

LA is the best place to CONNECT

LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?​

Central LA

East LA

San Fernando Valley

South LA

City of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?​

Advocate for policy

Digital organizing or activism

Trainings and/or in-person engagements

Encourage businesses to change practices

Increase participation in political processes

Influence individual behavior

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to CREATE?​

Street vending is an iconic part of LA culture, and a clear pathway to economic opportunity for 50,000 micro-entrepreneurs who sell food and goods on the sidewalks of LA. Approximately 80% are women of color who contribute to the rich, diverse street food landscape through the informal economy. They bring healthy, affordable, culturally diverse food to Angelenos, and when allowed to do their work legally and safely, contribute to the economic vitality of their neighborhoods and our city as a whole.

The LA Street Vendor Campaign organizes and advocates for rights for street vendors as an important part of an inclusive and equitable LA economy. Through this activation we seek to mobilize a broad base of Angelenos to learn about and get involved in this important economic justice issue. We will also engage street vendors, businesses and manufacturers to work together to safeguard street vending as a viable and valuable asset to neighborhood-based economies in LA.

Our activation has multiple pathways to engagement for Angelenos and includes: 1) Information: a dynamic public outreach campaign on social media that will activate over 100,000 Angelenos by tapping into the extensive membership base of our 65 coalition member organizations; 2) Participation: concrete opportunities for a diverse cross-sector of Angelenos to make their voices heard in the new policy formation by participating in public hearings and engaging their representatives; 3) Action: a #isupportLAstreetvendors “buycott” will be part of a digital activism strategy to activate Angelenos around the campaign.

Our activation will also include vital capacity building for street vendors to succeed and thrive, with training on how to navigate permitting, business development, and relationship building with manufacturers for supplies and equipment. And, through outreach and organizing we will work to get small business owners, manufacturers, policy makers, and street vendors working together to make the LA economy equitable and inclusive for micro-entrepreneurs, recognizing the economic benefits they bring to their communities.

This activation will impact the CREATE metrics by: fostering entrepreneurship and increasing secure employment in the culinary arts, among the most vibrant creative industries in our city; making the local economy more inclusive and diverse, increasing both jobs for and businesses owned by women and people of color; impacting the GINI coefficient by allowing low-income entrepreneurs to generate more wealth; and engaging the manufacturing industry to supply critical equipment and supplies to street vendors at prices scaled to their small enterprise. Los Angeles is and has always been a hub for creativity and innovation. We hope to build the movement for economic opportunity for thousands of Angelenos by activating local engagement and civic participation to build an equitable, inclusive economic future for our communities.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to CREATE​

Our activation creates clear, accessible pathways for engagement for uninvolved consumers, street vendor champions, and anyone in between. We will make LA the best place to create using the following activation strategies:

-Policy Advocacy: LASVC is advocating for a fair sidewalk vending permit program by 2019. This activation will amplify the collective efforts of our broad coalition to ensure an equitable vendor-driven policy is adopted by the City.

-Street Vendor Training: We will educate street vendors on important rules and regulations, business best practices, and beneficial supply-chain relationships.

-Business & Manufacturing Outreach: We will actively bridge relationships with brick-and-mortar businesses, business associations and improvement districts, chambers of commerce, and manufacturers of equipment and supplies, whose collaboration and support is vital to economic inclusion for vendors.

-Civic Participation: From social media outreach to participation in public hearings, there are multiple avenues for Angelenos to join the campaign to support street vendors to win an equitable street vending policy.

-Digital Activism and Consumer Support: Our online outreach campaign will build our support base, garnering visibility through social media and influencers such as food bloggers and radio hosts. We will also mobilize consumers through a social media hashtag “buycott” to leverage buying power in support of street vendors as a way to contribute to the local economy.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

We will define and measure success based on the relevant CREATE metrics and progress toward the following goals:

-100,000 Angelenos reached through social media to learn about LASVC and issues facing vendors. Initial outreach targets the membership of 65 coalition member organizations.

-10,000 Angelenos participate in online posts and petitions advocating for an equitable street vending policy.

-2,000 Angelenos participate in “buycott” tracked by using the hashtag “#isupportLAstreetvendors” in social media posts.

-500 street vendors, primarily women and people of color, trained to secure their businesses, including how to navigate the policy/permitting process (when passed by City), build connections with public, private and manufacturing sector, and business management.

-400 small businesses (including BIDs, business associations and chambers of commerce) engaged to support a sensible street vending policy that includes their concerns and ensures equity and inclusion for vendors.

-300 street vendors participate in research project that tracks increase in income generation and decrease in losses as a result of new policy implementation and activation challenge.

-200 new micro-enterprise jobs created when legalization brings economic security and safety that will bolster vendors ability to expand their businesses and create jobs in a favorable policy environment.

-5-10 manufacturers engaged to provide equipment and supplies to street vendors at discounted rates.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

In five years from now, we hope that street vending is a legal, viable, and secure form of employment, particularly for immigrant entrepreneurs of color and women of color. We hope to see the outcomes of this activation become an integral part of the LA economy and civic culture. In many cases, street vending is a pathway towards household wealth building that creates pathways out of poverty for thousands of families living in Los Angeles. In five years time we hope to see successful street vendors activating city sidewalks, contributing to local economic activity, growing their businesses into food trucks, moving into brick-and-mortar establishments and creating more creative culinary jobs. Ultimately, we envision a City that values and supports street vendors, and sees them as contributors to the economic and cultural tapestry of Los Angeles.