On Saturday morning over 40 guests packed into a donated store front in the Martin Luther King Jr. Shopping Center to listen to six guest speakers offer tips, services and resources for small business development in Watts. The diverse crowd represented Asian, Latino, African American and White business owners, non-profit and community leaders from the neighborhood.
The featured speakers included Councilman Joe Buscaino, Joseph Rouzan from the Community Development Center, Darick Simpson from the Small Business Development Center and Ken Crawford from the Small Business Administration. The room was buzzing as speakers presented the wealth of resources their organizations offered. Some of the services awaiting Watts small business owners and entrepreneurs include:
- Micro-loans of up to $25,000 without collateral
- Technical assistance & mentorship by retired small business owners
- Assistance with loan packaging for first time loan applicants
- Small business and minority owner networks
The commitment to fostering local business and stimulating the local economy was strongly felt throughout the room. During the question and answer session, attendees presented comments ranging from resurrecting the Watts Chamber of Commerce to starting high school courses for small business development and entrepreneurship. Even after the breakfast was over, one participant walked through the vacant storefront and carefully examined it before sharing that she thinks it would be an ideal location for her business.
The Watts Community Studio would like to thank everyone who took an hour and half from their Saturday morning to be there. Additionally, we want to extend a special thanks to the five business owners who stayed after the meeting was over to fill out our small business surveys.
Exciting change is coming to Watts and it’s origin is from within the community!
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