LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Combatting Recidivism through Entrepreneurship and Economic Development

Preliminary findings from the University of Chicago, Cornell, and READI are that over 55% of the highest risk offenders remain engaged when offered gainful employment, however there are barriers to this employment including no-tolerance policies for employees with records and access to employment in impoverished neighborhoods nationally. To combat this trend, our partnership will provide 5,000 entrepreneurs free access to the Learning Community - a one stop shop platform with the knowledge, tools and ongoing support to start or grow a business


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

Opportunities for People Who Have Been Incarcerated

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

County of Los Angeles

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?

Even if a person has passion, a great idea and capital, being a successful entrepreneur is a journey that requires a variety of skills to succeed. If we don't empower people in our local community with these skills, their chance of success is severely diminished. More than ever, our underserved communities deserve representation. Black businesses need our help as nearly 50% are destined to close and many Black Americans are becoming entrepreneurs as a matter of necessity. Latinos are the most entrepreneurial group in America. They account for?20% of the U.S. population, and there are over?5 million?Latino-owned businesses in the U.S. According to David J. Smith from the University of Chicago "all minority groups with elevated rates of crime or incarceration are socially and economically disadvantaged." Researcher Joseph Quednau points out that a lack of access to well-paying jobs aggravates the problem.

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

TLE will offer 5,000 low-income, at-risk individuals from LA County free access to the Learning Community - a one stop shop platform with the knowledge, tools and ongoing support to start or grow a business. This project would provide entrepreneurs with the following: 1-year membership to The Lonely Entrepreneur Platform including: ? 500+ key learning modules across business and personal issues ? Templates, tools, vendor reviews, and referrals ? Weekly live group coaching sessions addressing relevant and timely questions and issues ? Business advice from our network ? Networking opportunities and events with like-minded entrepreneurs ? 150+ finance sources ? Free resources (Fall 2022 - free tax and legal services) ? National exposure to thousands of potential customers All of these services ensures the long term growth and success of our local entrepreneurs. This grant would ensure that LA county entrepreneurs are provided with the ongoing business development support they need to grow and flourish. The SBA requires at least a year to reestablish a new advisor. TLE covers that gap. This grant will help establish a trusting relationship between entrepreneurs and the local community. And produce results similar to other communities with over 70% of our program participants starting or growing a small business within 18 months, averaging $69,000 annual income for 4-11 employees.

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

With 3,500 new small businesses in some of the most under privileged neighborhoods LA County averaging $400,000 of annual revenue each, this would create $1,400,000,000 of income and change lives. Currently in LA County there is an average annual income of $76,367. However, among populations of color the average annual income is much less. The overall poverty rate and unemployment rate is 13.9% and 7% respectively. However in populations of color poverty is 16-20% and unemployment is 8-10% according to the last census. In a population over 10,000,000 that is millions of households that would benefit from our program. In the last 5 years we have worked in some of the most impoverished areas in Ohio, Detroit, Dallas, Baltimore, Chicago, and more with great success. By bringing our model here with our team and partners we can bring results to a decades long program by building relationships and providing resources with immediate results.

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

The Learning Community is a proven program that has served over 102,000 entrepreneurs. Its impact has been felt by current and aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those in our underserved communities. And in the midst of helping entrepreneurs, we also empower various community organizations that desperately need to build capacity to help their communities start and grow businesses. Across the US, there are a variety of organizations that support their local communities. More recently, their communities have been turning to them to help with starting and growing their businesses. Unfortunately, these organizations - from Chambers of Commerce to Urban Leagues - lack the capacity to do so. In many of our programs, we can distribute to these organizations licenses to the Learning Community to provide to their members. We measure success through looking at engagement, achieving key business objectives like setting up and raising capital, and comparing current versus past results.

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

Direct Impact: 5,000

Indirect Impact: 28,000

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

Our program works by getting feedback from academic professionals like Dr. Samantha Lenkford and Dr. Chico Tillmon, qualitative responses from participants and alumni, cultural implications from partners and ambassadors, and mentors. We are constantly growing and tailoring our program with the impact of what the needs of a community or population need, and building relationships ranging from the local Chambers of Commerce, SBAs, Urban Leagues, and more. This relationship development has helped us work in the individual space of our participants and the larger overall economic development of a community. Our ability to network and champion the voices of the under represented people in our global economic community helps provide social equity and levels the playing field for everyone.