Boyle Heights Groups Receive Grant to Move Street Vendor Project Forward

By EGP News Report

An effort to legalize street vending in the city of Los Angeles has earned some big financial support, it was announced Tuesday.

The Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN) and the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) were together awarded a $100,000 grant from Goldhirsh Foundation LA2050 to implement the project to recognize street vendors as legal businesses in L.A., according to ELACC.

Only 10 proposals were selected from 279 submissions to receive the $100,000 grant. LURN and ELACC’s grant was in the foundation’s income and employment grant category. The competition process included participation by “voters” who selected their preferred economic development and social justice projects.

“Street vendors are hard-working entrepreneurs that are part of the social and cultural fabric in many of our low-income communities where healthy food options and good jobs often are rare,” said Rudy Espinoza in a written statement. “Supporting street vendors is an effective way to foster small business independence, expand food choices and support economic growth through new income for the City from licensing and fees.”

The organizations’ vision includes street vendors using high-tech technology, fruit vendors as personal trainers, and collaborations between sidewalk vendors and brick-and-mortar establishments.

“Imagine tamale makers with Ipads, their fingers on the community’s pulse, tweeting freely about their authentic, gourmet, safe, organic food. And imagine fruit vendors serving as personal trainers, tracking their “clients” nutrition and making sure they get their “5-a-day.” Welcome to Los Angeles in the year 2050 when local street vendors are viewed as the street and sidewalk entrepreneurs that they are. And when these entrepreneurs meet regularly with local established business owners to share trade secrets and grow their clientele, one supporting the other. Sound farfetched? Not when you see the group of futurists working to make this all happen,” the press release states.

ELACC president Maria Cabildo says they are working to build partnerships with small businesses that offer complementary services or products, much like cars are integrated in major retail center corridors. “Vendors gain a powerful ally in exchange for helping to revive and adorn empty LA sidewalks in front of those businesses,” she said.

LURN also has a start-up funding component to the street vendor initiative that allows people to invest in a street vendor in exchange “for a minority ‘equity’ stake in their business.” LURN will assist the street vendor who will have the opportunity to buy back the shares and own his business outright. The venture capital fund is expected to begin on Jan. 1, 2014, while ELACC will begin to build relationships with small businesses and vendors this year.

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May 30, 2013  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

Comments

One Response to “Boyle Heights Groups Receive Grant to Move Street Vendor Project Forward”

  1. L.A. Street Vending in 2050 | {FAVEL issues} on July 11th, 2013 4:58 am

    [...] Called the LA Street and Sidewalk Entrepreneurs Initiative, the project proposes the creation of a venture capital fund for low-income entrepreneurs, healthy eating and lifestyle programs directly linking vendors and customers, and continued advocacy for legalizing street vending in Los Angeles. (Link) [...]

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