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

Inclusive Marketplace promoting culture & economic development

An inclusive monthly market-place supporting celebration & preservation of diverse local culture as well as community empowerment & economic development. Low vendor fees allow local youth, women, and LGBTQ vendors to reinvest in their mobile business. Free stage allows for residents to launch, promote or showcase talents. Free business and healing workshops are offered to community, virtually and on location. Increase community engagement, visibility promotes tolerance and acceptance of diverse local cultures & communities in green spaces.


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?

East LA

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?

It is our responsibility (local community) to create opportunities for those who have been affected by traumas the East LA community has faced. By supporting an open air market economy, we are eliminating cycles of poverty, preventing homelessness, creating economic opportunities therefore contributing to healing and wellbeing for those most affected; youth, women, LGBTQ which also include immigrants and formerly incarcerated populations. Many of the challenges our vendors have faced include, language barriers, incarceration, sexual exploitation, violence, systematic racism, displacement, single family households, social determinants of health specifically mental health as it relates to domestic violence. These obstacles pose a larger threat to ELA, due to increased inflation, lack of affordable housing and gentrification. A marketplace strengthens community and allows for revitalization of local economies by creating jobs, supporting local artisans, businesses and entrepreneurs.

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

The Goddess Mercado is an inclusive East LA outdoor safe marketplace and cultural event that hosts 22 monthly Pop Ups/Mercados annually;11 The Goddess Mercados on the 2nd Saturday of every month and 11 The Queer Mercados on the 3rd Saturday of every month at East LA Civic Center green space park area. TGM offers free booths to k-12 youth during summer months. TGM has hosted more than 8,000 attendees total to date. Free services provided to vendors and attendees include HIV testing, Covid vaccination, Covid home test kits, Monkeypox vaccination, Open air market economy, small business grant support, Voter registration, Pet adoption and more. TGM organization and partners have offered the following workshops: "Digital Skills for Everyday Tasks", "Sell Online With e-commerce Tools", "Turn Your Passion Into Profit", "Maximize your Sales at Pop Ups", "Taxes for Small Businesses" TGM stage hosts local talent, fashion shows and contest like, The Goddess of East LA- 1st inner beauty pageant in LA area. In addition, TQM and TGM Podcast Season 1 were both launched in 2023. Both platforms documented and spotlighted inspirational vendor through personal storytelling focused on launching a business, mindset, tactics, and marketing strategies on business growth as well ways to empower entrepreneurs just starting out in their community. The Queer Mercado and The Goddess Mercado are continuing to offer professional development to build capacity in the vendor community.

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

A long-term expansion includes; Incorporation technology, professionals that are able to complete a market analysis that supports a wider reach of vendor, attendees, and partnerships. As well as digital storefronts and vendor bookings. Building capacity withing vendors by providing more individualized business and personal growth through case management, community building, leadership training. Enhancing our outdoor safe space through commissioning of local artist for murals, annual book fairs, health expos, music festivals and such therefore creating a more welcoming space that is inclusive of diverse communities

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

Impact is measure through vendors served. Our first marketplace included 13 vendors. During out first year The Queer Mercado serviced 296 vendor while The Goddess Mercado serviced 204 vendor clients.In 2023, these numbers have doubled for both markets. Both platforms documented and share vendor entrepreneurial journeys, tips/strategies for business growth as well as inspiration and empowerment for new businesses. Increased community attendance through marketing campaign as follows: Attendance of pop up/mercado attendees 1000 plus people per event. More than 15, 000 attendees total to date (attendance of pop up/mercado attendees 500 people per event in 2021-2022). We expect to double in attendance during on October2023-October 2024 season.

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

Direct Impact: 600

Indirect Impact: 50,000,000