Pilot Program For Minority Business Owners Provides Perspective And CommunityRelease Date: 2019-06-17
By Alena Maschke
It’s Friday afternoon and the small conference room on the third floor of Long Beach’s soon-to-retire city hall is brimming with laughter. Around the long conference table sits a diverse group of people, immersed in chatter, cracking jokes, as attendees continue to trickle in.
The participants of this lively meeting are at city hall to celebrate their graduation from the city’s GROW Long Beach pilot program, an initiative designed to help entrepreneurs of color grow and expand their businesses. Spearheaded by the city’s economic development department and led by GROW Long Beach Consultant Vivian Shimoyama, the program seeks to connect business owners with resources and help them develop a vision for the future growth of their companies.
“For our pilot, we wanted to select businesses that were committed to growth, based in Long Beach and they’re all minority-owned businesses,” Shimoyama said. As the City of Long Beach creates programs to support the priorities laid out in its Economic Blueprint, inclusion has emerged as a crucial target point. “What [we did is seek out] these individuals, to make sure that they were at the table and we could help them grow their business, Shimoyama said. “So we were looking at not only economic inclusion, but racial equity.”
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