Los Angeles County-based small businesses seeking financial relief related to COVID-19 have until the end of this month to apply for $5,000 to $25,000 grants from a regional fund that opened a new round of funding this week.
Applications are now open through today for the second-to-last round of aid under the $100 million LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund. A final round will open Oct. 26 to give businesses one more chance to seek help.
The fund, which launched on July 6, has paid out roughly $3.2 million in grants to more than 300 local micro-entrepreneurs, small businesses and nonprofit organizations impacted by the pandemic, according to the community development organization that administers the money. How the fund will redeploy dollars in the absence of more eligible applicants was not immediately clear.
Local Initiatives Support Corporation Los Angeles (LISC LA) was chosen by the county to get dollars to many businesses that were left out of federal aid programs, sometimes due to financial, technical or cultural barriers.
“Our small businesses and nonprofits are being stretched extremely thin right now, with some on the brink of collapse because of the pandemic,’’ said LISC LA Director Tunua Thrash-Ntuk. “It’s unfortunately no surprise that many of the businesses unable to access the financial support they need are owned by entrepreneurs of color who face cultural, technical, and/or other barriers to entry.
“The LA COVID Fund is working to bridge that gap, and is a step in the right direction when it comes to equity in grantmaking,’’ Thrash-Ntuk said. “The LISC LA team is proud to be doing what we do best, providing the capital and resources to those who need it most.’’
LISC is running a bilingual digital advertising and grassroots outreach campaign designed to reach those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic, the director said.
Grant recipients are chosen through a randomized application system, although certain applicants are given priority weighting, including veteran-owned small businesses, and businesses in city and county districts that have a higher unemployment rate, lower education rate, lower median household income and lower jobs-to-population rate.
Gig workers and street vendors can apply for loans of up to $5,000, provided they have a tax return to prove their annual income is less than $100,000.
Interested businesses can check eligibility requirements and apply at www.lacovidfund.org.