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LA's Microenterprise Program Could Hand Out A Much-Needed $15,000 To Small Businesses

Two men sit in barber's chairs wearing cloaks and surgical masks underneath pop-up tents while two barbers, also wearing masks, cut their hair.
Stylists from Grey Matter LA cut clients' hair on the sidewalk amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Like many small businesses, Grey Matter's partners Ryan Yamasaki and Sirag Khorshed have had to get creative to keep their business open amid the pandemic.
(Valerie Macon
AFP via Getty Images)
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A little boost from the city may be within reach for some micro-business owners in Los Angeles — but they'll need to act fast.

The Microenterprise Recovery Grant program, launched by the L.A. Economic Workforce Development Department, could provide up to $15,000 in grant assistance to businesses with five or fewer employees, including the owner. The grants can be used for operating expenses like payroll, inventory, and lease payments.

The city could have done a better job of promoting the program, said small business consultant Mariko Lochridge. The deadline is this Friday (April 15) at 11:59 p.m.

Lochridge said the amount available is fine for microenterprises but that the city should make efforts to provide similar opportunities over the next few years.

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“If the economy does not recover, and this is the last program out of the American Rescue Act or whatever budget they're pulling this money out of, then no, it won't make a difference,” Lochridge said.

Lochridge also said the application is especially straightforward — business owners do not need to provide supporting documents with their initial application.

The larger program, which is open to all eligible small businesses, has a pool of $8.5 million. Additionally, $1 will be allocated for women-owned microenterprises.

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