LACI Wins Grant in SBA Growth Accelerator Fund Competition

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Downtown L.A. Announcement by White House Cabinet Member Maria Contreras-Sweet Follows President Obama’s Speech on Innovation & Entrepreneurship

“We are honored that the SBA recognized both LACI and the City of Los Angeles this way, to invest in our efforts to create green jobs and help build a sustainable city.”-- Fred Walti

Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) returned to her hometown Tuesday to visit the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s La Kretz Innovation Campus in Downtown Los Angeles, celebrating LACI and the City of Los Angeles with a pair of awards that will directly impact L.A.’s small business community.

Ms. Contreras-Sweet first presented CEO Fred Walti a check for LACI’s win in the SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, applauding LACI’s efforts working with small businesses and green job creation. The grant will help the organization further its mission of accelerating the commercialization of clean technology to grow the innovation economy and enhance its efforts to include a diversity initiative and more inclusive entrepreneurship for underserved Angelenos.

Ms. Contreras-Sweet also commended Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, “celebrating what is taking place here in Los Angeles…more than creating jobs, it’s about creating social impact.” The City of Los Angeles was then awarded the “Dream Big” Award in the SBA’s “Startup in a Day” Program, a grant which the City will use to build an open-source web portal aimed at streamlining business licensing and registration, enabling that process to take place in under 24 hours.

Tuesday’s event followed announcements made earlier in the day by President Barack Obama as he hosted the first-ever White House Demo Day, a showcase event celebrating the important role entrepreneurship plays in America’s economy. Both the White House Demo Day and Tuesday’s SBA awards share common goals, helping entrepreneurs from all walks of life turn their ideas into innovative products and services, streamline regulations and processes, and support more inclusive entrepreneurship.

Mayor Eric Garcetti thanked Ms. Contreras-Sweet, “We’re so excited that the SBA is here, able to see our Cleantech Incubator…to Fred, the Board and all of his team, congratulations.”

The Mayor continued, “L.A. is the small business center of this nation…thanks to the SBA…and our prize, innovators and entrepreneurs, small business owners can spend more time doing what they’re supposed to, envisioning the future, rather than navigating our halls.”

Fred Walti commented, “We are honored that the SBA recognized both LACI and the City of Los Angeles this way, to invest in our efforts to create green jobs and help build a sustainable city.”

All in all, Tuesday was a win-win for LACI and the City of Los Angeles.

About LACI
LACI is a non-profit, public-private partnership that helps promising companies deliver market-ready cleantech solutions and the jobs that come with them. LACI combines capital, universities, research, government support, entrepreneurs, corporate partners, and business leaders in order to drive innovation throughout the regional, state, and global economy. Recognized as a Top 10 Global Incubator in 2014 by UBI, in its first three years LACI has helped 40+ companies who have raised $55+ million and have created 700+ jobs. Learn more at, Twitter and Facebook.

About La Kretz Innovation Campus
Later this year, LACI will move into the 60,000 square foot La Kretz Innovation Campus in Downtown Los Angeles. Owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the campus will include collaborative workspace, offices, R&D and prototyping labs, conference rooms, a workforce-training center, and more. This facility provides more options and opportunities for the innovation ecosystem LACI is building while providing physical space for the organization to grow.

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Lolo Siderman
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