Los Angeles is home to 1.3 million small businesses, of which close to 60% are owned by entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds seeking nontraditional workforce pathways. Despite the talent, determination, and hard work those entrepreneurs bring to their ventures, their likelihood of success is often limited by systemic barriers to accessing resources like educational opportunities and legal rights to work.
To break through those limitations and barriers, LIFT Los Angeles officially launched the LIFT Entrepreneurs program on September 21. LIFT Entrepreneurs provides business development, planning, mentorship and support services designed to help transform lives by helping individuals start and grow successful businesses. The program model was created by LIFT’s partner, Rising Tide Capital, and has been replicated and scaled in multiple major cities across the United States. The launch of the program was held at Dodgers Stadium and was attended by representatives from LIFT’s local and national board, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, Stand Together, Rising Tide Capital, and business leader & co-owner of the LA Dodgers, Alan Smolinisky.
LIFT Entrepreneurs provides Angeleno entrepreneurs with the tools and resources to learn the fundamental areas of business creation and development through a 12-week course called the Community Business Academy (CBA). The 12-week course offers a hands-on training program in all areas of business management and planning. Those topics include marketing, budgeting, bookkeeping, financing and more. All entrepreneurs receive a tuition waiver, thanks to our generous donors and supporters like Mr. Smolinisky, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, Greg Dovel & Mary Sullivan, and John & Mia Brady, whose contributions and support have been invaluable to the initial success of the program.
Entrepreneurs who complete the CBA have the opportunity to move to the next phase of the program, Business Acceleration Services (BAS). As a result, our remarkable CBA graduates receive a year-round suite of services to help take their business to the next level. Through the BAS program, our graduates receive 1-to-1 business management coaching, access to advanced seminars and master classes, networking opportunities, mentorship, and so much more. Our entrepreneurs also receive information on various partners who can provide access to capital and the tools to improve credit. We provide various opportunities for LIFT entrepreneurs to hear from experts who are invited to present their services and supports during the Academy workshops.
On February 15, 2023, the first cohort of LIFT-LA’s Community Business Academy graduated with a 100% retention rate. The entrepreneurs were highly engaged in the CBA program and made impressive advances on their business creations and expansions. Throughout the program, they built strong social connections and capital. They now have a community of fellow entrepreneurs and business owners to learn from; a network of individuals to lean on and problem solve with, all of whom wake up every day because they love their family fiercely and want to ensure that they leave a legacy for them.
In the Spring of 2023, we officially launched two additional cohorts of the CBA, with one cohort offered in English and the other cohort offered in Spanish. Twenty entrepreneurs have been selected for our Spanish cohort and nineteen individuals were selected for our English cohort and notified of their acceptance into the program. During the recruitment process, over one hundred people attended the information sessions, and over sixty entrepreneurs submitted applications. Their businesses support various industries including transportation, construction, sales, property management, family daycare, health and fitness, nutrition, food service, and more.
LIFT-Los Angeles can’t wait to see what our entrepreneurs achieve next. LIFT-LA is proud to be leading a new and innovative program that will give Angelenos an opportunity to reach financial independence and self-sufficiency through the power of business ownership and the untapped potential of entrepreneurship.
Photography by Daniel Houghton
Graduation Event Hosted by the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation