Los Angeles Urban League Biz Camp. (306991)
Los Angeles Urban League Biz Camp. Credit: Los Angeles Urban League

COVID-19 is continuing to impact the Black business community, particularly in South Los Angeles. However, for some young people, the pandemic has actually inspired them to start their own businesses.

Dozens participated in the Black Business Association’s COVID-19 Community Briefing via Zoom on July 23. The meeting focused on inspiring young entrepreneurs who are currently participating in the Los Angeles Urban League Biz Camp. Many of the students have already turned their ideas into informal small businesses. Now it is time to think bigger.

“One of the main reasons you want to form a business is to protect yourself,” said Attorney Lerae Funderburg, the founder, and managing partner at Funderburg Law, LLC in Atlanta, which focuses on trademark and entertainment law.

Organizers said it was important to let young people know that no questions were off-limits or irrelevant.

“Ask questions because people who don’t ask questions are not necessarily successful,” added Robin Billups, a former banking executive who participated in the community briefing. “Wisdom and knowledge comes with time.”

Young people asked about partnerships, tax rates, trademarks, and intellectual property.

“Copyright remains with the owner, the actual creator of the work,” Funderburg said. “You definitely want an agreement in place for whoever you are dealing with.”

Funderburg said “a work for hire document” is necessary if a business owner wants to own the rights to their company’s logo, for example.

She added that copyright protection and trademark protection are both necessary for complete ownership when you hire someone to create a logo or a book cover.

“Federal trademark gives you protection across all 50 states,” Funderburg added.

Meanwhile, organizers, including the Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation, also spent time sharing resources to help Black businesses recover and stay open during the pandemic.

“We are still in a pandemic, mask up and get your vaccination,” said Crystal Mitchell, co-director of Recycling Black Dollars.

Future weekly meetings, which will be held on Thursdays at 11 a.m., will include topics like health and wellness and business development. For more information, visit www.CommunityBriefing.com.