Small businesses play a critical role in the US economy as employers, sources of innovation, and community centers. But small businesses, particularly those owned by women and people of color, have been uniquely vulnerable to the economic fallouts of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, Los Angeles has been a hotspot for small business losses. It has the highest number of business closures in the nation, reporting nearly 15,000 since the start of the pandemic, with half of those expected to be permanent. The City of Los Angeles seeks to limit further closures and sustain local businesses.

To do this, it is working to adapt programs and resources provided through its Business Source Centers. FUSE will partner with the City to build the Business Source Centers’ capacity, ensuring they supply the most impactful technical and programmatic resources to small business owners, focusing on women and people of color. FUSE will work directly with the small business community to capture critical needs and implement process improvements in the centers through an equity lens.