2022 Grants Challenge

Sidewalk Vending Microloan Project

ICON CDC will provide immediate financial support in the form of accessible microloans to established and aspiring Sidewalk Vendors considered BIPOC and or Women-owned businesses to purchase L.A. County-approved carts and cover other operating expenses that will ensure the expansion, or the launch of a legal Sidewalk Vending business.


Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

California Community Economic Development Association

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?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

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

In an effort to create an income to support their families, many residents of the Northeast San Fernando Valley have turned to Sidewalk Vending. And while Sidewalk Vending is legal in Los Angeles, most vendors risk selling food on the street without a permit because they cannot afford one. This is due to state public health laws that require expensive cart setups, equipment, and commissary costs from vendors who make less than $20,000 a year. And as California aims to pass Senate Bill 972 to make it easier for food vendors to navigate the health permit process, Sidewalk Vendors are in desperate need to legally operate their businesses now, and secure a source of income. 70.6% of the residents in are people of color, including non-lawful permanent residents who only possess Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers and are not legally eligible for employment. Sidewalk Vending has become the only way for families to put food on the table, and break the cycle of poverty.

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

ICON CDC will launch the Sidewalk Vending Microloan project as an extension of its new Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development Entrepreneurship Program in partnership with California Community Economic Development Association to provide immediate financial support to established and aspiring Sidewalk Vendors, considered BIPOC and or Women-owned businesses, to purchase L.A. County-approved carts, and other operating expenses that will ensure the expansion, or the launch of a legal Sidewalk Vending business. This project will provide up to $7,500 in microloans with 9% interest rates. It will be the only program in the San Fernando Valley that will make it possible for Sidewalk Vendors to comply with Health Department laws and become permitted. The project will consist of 5 parts: Community Outreach, Entrepreneurial Training, Provision of Technical Assistance to eligible Sidewalk Vendors, Selection of Microloan Recipients, and Disbursement of Microloans.

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

If the project is successful, the legalizing of Sidewalk Vending businesses will create and/or retain 25 local jobs and successfully fund up to 10 Sidewalk Vending businesses. It will also establish Sidewalk Vending as a profitable industry that anyone can launch with proper guidance. The microloans will allow vendors establish a positive business credit payment history and help them become eligible for traditional financing. Having access to capital can make it easier to launch, or stabilize a business. Becoming bankable is the first step for Sidewalk Vendors to increase their household income.

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

ICON CDC will create progress reports for those who receive microloans to track their monthly sales and job creations/retentions. ICON CDC will also continue to provide ongoing business education, technical assistance, and one-on-one consulting through 2023, after receiving the funds to ensure the success of the business. Much of ICON CDC’s track record working with BIPOC and or Women-owned businesses has been developed through previous programs servicing Sidewalk Vendors. As a result, these programs provided $1,462,645 of capital infusion to these businesses, and created 95 jobs. In 2020, ICON CDC staff provided technical assistance to 325 legal Sidewalk Vendors to help them apply for a $5,000 grant offered by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). ICON CDC staff then provided additional technical assistance to the finalists to arrange transfers of funds. In 2021, ICON CDC staff provided $27,645 as grants to 42 Sidewalk Vendors and supported access to 95 permits.

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

Direct Impact: 20

Indirect Impact: 25

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

CCEDA will be responsible for designing the microloan application, determining eligibility, disbursement of funds, and maging all aspects of the microloan.