2022 Grants Challenge

Fueling Female Enterprise Movement (FFEM)

Fueling Female Enterprise Movement (FFEM) is a program that will nurture the entrepreneurial spirit of low-income women of color in Southeast LA County, empower innovation, provide education to launch business, & the tools needed to scale. FFEM will promote financial independence, while providing resources needed to learn establish an enterprise, partner with local public-private sector who will support participants and their businesses to help improve prosperity and improve the local economic climate.


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?

Other:: Southeast LA County

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?

Although the COVID-19 global pandemic disrupted many businesses and left many people unemployed, there was a 25% increase in new businesses started. The National Women’s Business Council reports that 37.6% of US businesses are owned by women, women of color making up 36.7%; 11.5% owned by immigrant women; and Latina-owned small businesses being the fastest-growing segment, comprising 14% of small business. About 47% of startups by women in 2020 were women of color owned. Women of color continue to play a crucial role in the U.S. future economy-Entrepreneurship. With persistent workplace inequalities, women are opting to pursue their own enterprise, giving them control of their finances and work/life balance. According to a research survey from Gusto in partnership with National Association of Women Business Owners, women are opting to start new businesses not only because they want to, but because they have to. Yet, women of color face increased number of obstacles in their endeavor

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

According to the SBA, "Small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy: they create 2/3 of net new jobs and drive U.S. innovation and competitiveness.” They also generate 44% of the US economic activity. With women of color becoming a force in business ownership, it is imperative they are given access to education, tools, resources and support they need to start and maintain a successful business. FFEM will target low-income women of color in Southeast LA County, who are unable to afford the costs and time associated with completing an entire business degree program. The Cerritos College Continuing Education (CCCE) division provides essential classes that enable community members to enhance their career goals. Participating women will enroll in two CCCE non-credit courses: Entrepreneurship Small Business Growth & Intro to Basic Entrepreneurship; Earn stackable Certificates of Completion at no cost; Complete a Business Plan; Learn of local resources for capital through loans/grants for their startups; Provide mentorship opportunity; Participate in spring networking event & culmination ceremony; & Awarded $2,000 to be used toward their enterprise. While all low-income women are eligible for project participation, targeted outreach will be aimed at women of color, women who are the primary source of income for a household, and/or women who want to pursue the education, skills, and training needed to start their business and enable them to escape the cycle poverty.

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

Nearly half (47%) of businesses started by women in the past year are minority-owned. These businesses were born out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic. A research survey from Gusto in partnership with the National Association of Women Business Owners show that increasing the numbers of women of color owned businesses not only makes economic sense, but adds social value, “Women are 1.17 times more likely than men to found a business that doubles as a social venture.” Additionally, the Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity conducted by Dr. Stacy L. Smith, USC Annenberg, revealed that when women are in a position of power, diversity and inclusion happen. FFEM can change the economic landscape of women especially in the Southeast LA County region, help improve diversity, equity and inclusion by supporting those that are proving to move the needle...WOMEN, help close the racial and gender workplace gap, and add value to society through socially conscious business owners.

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 of Fueling Female Enterprise Movement (FFEM) will be measured by the following benchmarks: -Persistence Rate of Women from Course 1 to Course 2 -Number of women that achieve their certificates of completion for both courses. -Completion of a Business Plan -Demonstrate steps achieved in starting their new business measured by number of employees, demographics and revenue. -For women who are already business owners, success will be measured by all the above.

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

Direct Impact: 20

Indirect Impact: 1,000,000