National Nonprofit, Founders First CDC, Awards $100,000 to Southern California Businesses

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Founders First CDC Awards 30 Grants to Minority Businesses Throughout the State to Create and Promote Premium Wage Employment Opportunities in Underserved Communities

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Because entrepreneurs of color have historically faced systemic inequities and struggled to access capital, it is critical to support organizations like Founders First that can provide resources and growth opportunities to underserved business owners across our communities.

Founders First CDC, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that empowers expansion in diverse, founder-led, revenue-generating businesses, announced the winners of its new Job Creators Quest Grant today during a virtual press conference. More than 1,500 Southern California businesses applied for the grants and 30 recipients were selected, with minority and underrepresented business owners receiving $100,000, collectively in cash and full tuition scholarships to a Founders First CDC Business Accelerator Program. The grant recipients were selected from throughout the Southern California region, including Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial, and San Diego regions, serving a variety of industries – from construction and manufacturing to STEM and healthcare, to hospitality, and more.

"We've listened and learned from the obstacles minority business owners face. This has shaped our mission to provide resources, funding opportunities and business stabilization while simultaneously spurring premium wage job growth in the community," said Shaylon Scott, Executive Director, Founders First CDC. "This is why we created the Southern California Job Creators Grant. I'm excited at the positive impact it's made in the region and celebrate all of the successes of diverse business owners.”

The purpose of the Job Creators Quest Grant is to help business owners create premium wage jobs and reward diverse-led businesses throughout the Southern California regions to retain and grow their workforce through the pandemic. This will help to positively impact the local economy, create job opportunities with higher wages and provide the human capital needed for businesses to grow and expand.

“Small Business Majority is honored to partner with Founders First Job Creators on the announcement of the SoCal Job Creators Quest Grant,” said Jessica Anguiano, Southern California Outreach Manager, Small Business Majority. “Despite their enormous contribution to our communities, people of color and women small business owners are often marginalized and under-resourced. The pandemic only exacerbated disparities in accessing funding and resources that were already in place. We are happy to support this grant guaranteed to change the lives of 30 diverse-led small businesses in Southern California.”

Since launching in 2021, Founders First CDC has awarded more than $595,000 to minority and underserved business owners throughout the United States with a focus on Texas, Chicago, Southern California, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

“We’re excited to once again work with Founders First CDC to support diverse small business owners across Southern California,” said Sarah Bowles, Vice President and Program Officer, Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “Because entrepreneurs of color have historically faced systemic inequities and struggled to access capital, it is critical to support organizations like Founders First that can provide resources and growth opportunities to underserved business owners across our communities.”

The 30 recipients of the Southern California Job Creators fund includes:

The judging committee for the Southern California Job Creators Grant includes a panel of our partners and other successful business owners.

“City National Bank is proud to continue its support of Founders First CDC and the wonderful work they do in San Diego and other parts of the country helping minority, women and veteran-owned businesses grow and impact the local economy,” said Sal Mendoza, senior vice president and CRA manager for City National Bank. “In the past several years, City National has donated more than $20,000 to the San Diego chapter of FFCDC in our efforts to help their small business program.”

To be eligible for the Job Creators Quest Grant, the company’s founder had to be Black, indigenous, a person of color, LGBTQIA+, military veteran, woman or located in a low to moderate income area and be a for-profit company with annual revenues between $100,000 to $3 million. Grant winners will use the funds to help create and add 1-2 net new premium wage jobs in the next 12 months.

Funding for this program was facilitated by a $1 million grant from The Rockefeller Foundation, in conjunction with Founders First CDC Capital Partners’ recent $9 million Series A financing accelerator to support underrepresented entrepreneurs in underserved communities. Additional partners include Union Bank, US Bank, Accessity, CMTC, Inland Empire Business Journal, Connect, Small Business Majority, Small Business Finance CDC, We The Plug, Kauffman Foundation, Women’s Business Center, Veterans Chamber of Commerce, Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, Surdna Foundation, Startout, San Diego Imperial Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, JP Morgan Chase, Mission Edge, Stella Labs, City National Bank, Inner City Capital Connections, Southern California SBDC, Accion Opportunity Fund, City of Escondido, Escondido Chamber of Commerce, San Diego Regional EDC, Southern California Black Chamber of Commerce and many more.

On a national and global scale, many companies struggled to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, many small businesses that are vital to the communities they serve, were forced to close their doors. With greater availability of the vaccine and resources provided by organizations like Founders First CDC, small businesses are hopeful as they move forward. According to a recent article by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a majority (65 percent) of small business owners are more optimistic that the worst of the pandemic is over, and say that easing COVID-19 restrictions (29 percent) and ramping up vaccinations in their area (28 percent) are the two biggest keys to their success.

In addition to announcing the winners of the Job Creators Quest Grant today, Founders First CDC also announced another grant opportunity, the Chicago Job Creators Quest Grant for business owners in the state of Illinois. The deadline for application is February 8, 2023.

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About Founders First CDC Founders First CDC is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) that was founded in 2015 and has received significant support from the regional community reinvestment banks to empower diverse founder-led, revenue-generating small businesses through three primary programs: (1) Founders Challenge; (2) Founders Bootcamp; and (3) Founders FastPath. By building recurring revenues, tech-enablement, and essential solution focus, Founders First serves as a catalyst for positive change to entrepreneurs of color and female founders to become leading employers in their communities. http://www.foundersfirstcdc.org.

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Janine Drake
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