City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # CM:080218
Long Beach Awarded National Innovation Grant to Foster Entrepreneurship and Job Growth
Nick Schultz, Executive Director
Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network
Economic Development Department
Elizabeth Kelly
Citi Foundation

The City of Long Beach has been selected by the Citi Foundation and Living Cities as one of five cities in the nation to participate in the City Accelerator program’s fifth cohort. The other four cities include: Atlanta, El Paso, Newark, and Rochester. In addition to a $100,000 grant, each city will receive a combination of coaching, technical assistance and implementation resources in the coming year. Long Beach’s focus will be on entrepreneurship and job growth.

“Long Beach is committed to advancing its Economic Blueprint through our participation in the City Accelerator, which will help map our local entrepreneurial ecosystem, identify growth industries, and support local talent,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “Through this exciting partnership with Citi Foundation and Living Cities, we hope to create a seamless support system for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses in Long Beach.”

Cities were selected based on their innovative approaches to fostering greater entrepreneurship among underrepresented groups, and their ability to bring together the resources to help small businesses flourish. Long Beach proposed a project that builds on its Economic Blueprint to further invest in economic equity efforts, and connect the city’s rich cultural diversity to entrepreneurial programs and business assistance. This work will be tied to local workforce development programs to ensure that residents are connected to jobs created by this new generation of Long Beach entrepreneurs.

Leading this work are some of the region’s most recognized entrepreneurial leaders, including:

  • John Molina, founding partner of Pacific6 Enterprises.
  • Tunua Thrash-Ntuk, Executive Director of Los Angeles Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).
  • Dr. Wade Martin, Director of the Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Cal. State University-Long Beach.
  • John Keisler, Economic Development Director for the City of Long Beach.
  • Nick Schultz, Executive Director of Pacific Gateway Workforce Innovation Network. 

“While the impact of small business growth on the U.S. economy is widely appreciated, the potential of minority-owned small businesses is often overlooked,” said Ed Skyler, Citi's Executive Vice President for Global Public Affairs and Chair of the Citi Foundation. “These cities recognize this untapped potential and are coming together to rethink how they work with minority-owned small businesses to help them grow and create high-quality jobs.”

City Accelerator, developed in partnership with the Citi Foundation, is aimed at working within and across cities to support the growth of local minority-owned businesses and to advance and promote the spread of promising innovations that have a significant impact in the lives of residents. Now in its fifth year, the City Accelerator has brought together 17 municipalities to test new approaches that improve the lives of residents, especially those with low incomes.

About the City of Long Beach

Home to approximately 480,000 people, the multiple award-winning and innovative City of Long Beach offers all the world-class amenities of a large metropolitan city while maintaining a strong sense of individual and diverse neighborhoods nestled together along the California coast. As a full-service charter city, Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, several museums and theaters, a highly-rated school district, Long Beach Airport, the Port of Long Beach, as well as many award-winning City departments such as Health, Parks, Recreation and Marine, Development Services and more. The City also has a highly-respected university and city college, two historic ranchos, five hospitals, five golf courses, 170 parks, miles of beaches, marinas, bike paths, and a Bike Share program.

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About Economic Development

The mission of the City’s Economic Development Department is to create economic opportunities for workers, investors, and entrepreneurs. This includes making it easier to start and grow a business, streamline the process for property development, and provide businesses with a skilled workforce. The Department includes Property Development, Business Development, and the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network. For more information on the Economic & Property Development Department, please visit or follow us on Twitter @LBEconDev and Facebook.

About the Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit

About Living Cities

Living Cities harnesses the collective power of 18 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions to develop and scale new approaches for creating opportunities for low-income people and improving the cities where they live. Its investments, research, networks, and convenings catalyze fresh thinking and combine support for innovative, local approaches with real-time sharing of learning to accelerate adoption in more places. Additional information can be found at