2022 Grants Challenge

BizWorld! Kids Elevate BIPOC- Women-Owned Business

GHC is the largest public school in LA serving nearly 6,000 students to address the systemic imbalance, inequities, and wealth-opportunity gaps for BIPOC- and women-owned businesses through a two-part project bringing together local SFV business owners with our future leaders, gaining first-hand understanding of the unique issues these local entrepreneurs face for a learning experience that will shape productive members of society with healthy, respectable behavior, working collaboratively in a diverse global community.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

BIPOC- and Women-Owned Businesses

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

San Fernando Valley

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Despite the increased focus on BIPOC- and women-owned businesses and greater awareness of the challenges facing them, as well as more attention and support directed to them, persistent inequities remain as do wealth and opportunity gaps. According to McKinsey in October 2020, 58% of Black-owned businesses risked fiscal distress before the COVID pandemic, as opposed to 27% of white-owned businesses. A full 41% closed between February and April of 2020, as did 32% owned by Latinos. Women may own roughly 40% of U.S. businesses, but they receive nowhere near a commiserate amount of support: Marketwatch in 2019 found that only 2.2% of venture capital went to women-owned businesses. According to Biz2Credit, profits for women-owned businesses in 2021 averaged $89,000 – $48,000 less than those owned by men. These disturbing statistics reflect ongoing income and wealth inequality in our country and across our county – one that only will worsen if true attention is not paid to finding solutions.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

With a highly diverse student population (more than 40 languages spoken and over 60 nationalities represented and 50% socioeconomically disadvantaged including foster youth), GHC is positioned to address issues surrounding BIPOC/Women-Owned Businesses in support of Youth Economic Advancement. We propose a two-part project designed to support and generate future entrepreneurs in a first-hand education of the unique issues facing these businesses. This project will align with, and support, one of the School’s 5 pillars: Every student who graduates will be a productive member of society demonstrating healthy, respectable behavior, working collaboratively in a diverse global community. First, we'll operate through our offices of Engagement & Advocacy and College & Career which have a long track record of successfully helping students find local internships and part-time jobs. Our outreach this year into Summer will focus on placing students with BIPOC- and women-owned businesses. Second, we'll involve our DECA students, part of an international program designed to develop business leaders and entrepreneurs. Our team has produced a podcast interviewing business leaders; the 2022-23 suite of 6 episodes will revolve around these businesses and the students involved, providing a platform for our community to discuss lessons, successes, and challenges, connect with potential clients, investors, or partners, and enable students to dig into the issues through their experiences.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Near term, we'll promote and highlight local BIPOC- and women-owned businesses while giving our students a greater understanding of both the challenges they face and how they overcome them. Through the podcast and social media promotion across LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, we'll build important partnerships and help raise the profiles of these businesses, introducing them to new audiences. Long term, we'll educate our students so they have a fuller understanding of the systemic, social, and economic challenges BIPOC- and women-led businesses encounter – which fits in our mission of preparing engaged productive citizens for a 21st-century workforce and life – so they can help alleviate these issues, on an individual and broader level. Our TK-8 students are the leaders of tomorrow; our high school students are leading right now. They will be the ones to break down the ongoing structural inequities in our country – helped by understanding the root causes and impacts.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

We will measure the success of this new program via two distinct metrics: Surveys of student participants through our offices of Engagement & Advocacy and College & Career (which sends out regular communications to students and families) that will capture quantitative information (how many students are involved and with which businesses) and qualitative feedback to assess their experience as well as their evolving understanding of the pressures their employers manage. To judge the reach of our program, we will capture downloads of our podcasts as well as social media engagement around episode releases. We hope to have 30 students participating in the podcast and 150 in the business partnerships program, and 100 downloads in the first 30 days - in line with the average podcast.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 500

Indirect Impact: 30,000

Describe the specific role of the partner organization(s) in the project, program, or initiative.

While not a partner organization, we secured an agreement with the Valley News Group to place quarterly (4) OpEds by our students and staff in their print and digital news publications servicing the North Valley, Las Virgenes and Calabasas, Warner Center, Woodland Hills, and Encino communities should we receive this grant. GHC would be the sole benefactor. We just didn't know where else in the grant we could share this information.