2022 Grants Challenge

Building Blue and Green Communities One Small Business at a Time

EECI and AltaSea are building Blue and Green enterprises one small business at a time. Women and BIPOC will receive valuable business development instruction in this free seminar series, creating and expanding businesses in the emerging blue ocean and green economies. Participants develop a business plan, secure funding and generate jobs in their community. Seminar instructors will emphasize their role as advocates for economic opportunity, equity and justice for multi-cultural entrepreneurs.


Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles

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?

Central LA

South LA

Other:: Port of LA Harbor Community

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?

Female BIPOC business ownership is on a rise outnumbering businesses opened by white males, that is, with the exception of technology driven businesses like those found in the blue and green economies. The technology industry does not have a reputation for being an inclusive space for women, Black and other owners of color who are substantially underrepresented in national averages. Through the series of six complimentary business development seminars to include a three-year guided mentorship, EECI in collaboration with AltaSea, will provide budding entrepreneurs the step-by-step toolkit necessary to open a business in the resource efficient green economy or the blue economy where all activities are related to the ocean. According to the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), 338,000 jobs in LA County are green-related and consistent with the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation Ocean Report, there will be a necessity for 126,000 workers in the blue economy by 2023.

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

EECI, located in Watts, has been a leader in advocating for justice and equity in economic job growth with an emphasis on women and BIPOC entrepreneurship and business incubation since 1989. EECI has recently developed an invaluable partnership with AltaSea substantially broadening their scope by introducing the blue and green economies in communities that have not traditionally engaged in these emerging sectors. Over the course of the six business development seminars, eager and established entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to develop a business plan, gather best methods in securing funding, learn successful market entry strategies, create product value, become skilled at business financial bookkeeping, and touch on business law key points that every business owner should be adept. AltaSea will complement the program with expert speakers from the rapidly emerging blue/green economy who will introduce innovative and prosperous business opportunities within a host of ocean technologies. For instance, combatting climate change through carbon sequestration methods, producing food through regenerative aquaculture, and exploring the ocean floor using robotics. The renewable power industry is reinventing the way power is distributed, stored and consumed and green technology in solar, wind, wave and hydrogen power is limitless. The future is well-defined as where industry needs lie and the opportunity for marginalized entrepreneurs is now.

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

The impact of new businesses improves the quality of life for communities by providing for more sustainable cities through job creation, increased revenue and local resiliency. Economic projections point to the need for one million more STEM professionals in the workforce, but women and people of color continue to be vastly underrepresented though these same people are widely considered to be untapped sources that could fill the country’s workforce needs in science and technology. EECI and AltaSea envision LA County opening doors to new businesses for people of color, the untapped talent, demonstrating that the blue/green economies are the future and providing a methodical, structured path to be a part of that prosperity. The impact of this program on the targeted communities is vast and can be rapidly expanded throughout LA County and well beyond through online platforms – the pandemic has proved the capacity of online learning.

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

Success will be defined in several ways. The most obvious and direct measures are the number of promising entrepreneurs participating in the seminar series and the number of businesses launched resulting from EECI’s and AltaSea’s mentorship. Both organizations have committed to promoting far and wide through schools, churches, Business Source offices, targeted area Chamber of Commerce offices, local politician websites and through several social media platforms. We are confident in participant attendance numbers. Additional measures of success we hold just as important is instilling in these pioneers the confidence necessary to launch a business or expand a business which may result in abilities that they did not realize they possessed. And we will inspire budding entrepreneurs to appreciate the importance of the ocean, develop a connection to the ocean, and see that the businesses they form today could potentially have a far-reaching effect on planet sustainability tomorrow.

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

Direct Impact: 90

Indirect Impact: 360

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

EECI and AltaSea established a formal partnership in March 2022 working together in preparing people of color for Blue and Green Economy business opportunities. Our collaboration is divided into specific roles where EECI personnel instructs and mentors entrepreneurs on the basic ‘how-to’ essential steps of opening a business in 2023; the business plan, the marketing plan, how to secure funding and how to keep fincial books just to me a few steps. AltaSea staff will augment by presenting technologies on the horizon in the ocean sector and the green sector by offering prosperous business opportunities where people of color might not have thought to pursue. AltaSea will invite their extensive network of leading scientist turned business leaders to offer valuable insight.