WeHo mulls incentives for businesses owned by BIPOC, women, LGBTQ+ people

West Hollywood’s Social Justice Task Force will review a work plan at their meeting Tuesday night to provide support and incentives to BIPOC-, women-, and LGBTQ+-owned small businesses.

In January, City Council assigned staff the task of coming up with ways to help this underrepresented and underserved business community, which has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic-linked economic downturn. Entrepreneurs from this community face economic, market, sociocultural, and instructional barriers in gaining access to capital and support.

City staff came up with ideas divided into three time phases.

The plan’s most immediate action items include the creation of a certification process for BIPOC-, women-, city resident-, LGBTQ-owned small businesses. This would occur within the first six months of the initiative.

In the second phase, the city would provide discounted business license tax fees, payment plans for city permits and various workshops to cultivate growth and development.

Long-term plans include setting aside physical space in new private developments, prioritizing space in empty city storefronts and helping to secure loans.

The Social Justice Task Force will review staff’s recommendations at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Those interested in watching may do so on Zoom at the following link: https://zoom.us/j/91826379761

Short Term (1-6 months)

  • Creation of a dedicated City webpage: this webpage would provide entrepreneurs a one-stop-shop to access various private, local, state, county, and federal resources including access to grants, accelerators, and assistance.
  • Creating a certification process for BIPOC-, Women-, City Resident-, LGBTQ-Owned Small Businesses: the certification program is the foundation to verify qualified businesses. Businesses may be required to provide further documentation to become a certified business and receive support as outlined in the workplan. The city may engage in additional services from other non-profit organizations to verify a business’s ownership.
  • Conduct needs assessment: outreach to local businesses is recommended to  provide staff a baseline assessment of current conditions including barriers to expanding in West Hollywood and potential increases in business services to assist current businesses.
  • Amending City’s Business Tax Certificate: to provide information such as ownership demographics to provide data on the business community’s composition.

Medium Term (18-24 months)

  • Partner with West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce on 501(c)3 Foundation: the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is creating a separate foundation to provide services to BIPOC entrepreneurs. The City’s partnership could include collaboration on services and events to support this community.
  • Exempt from Business License Tax Fees for Year 2: the City currently provides a reduced tax rate for businesses in their first two years of business operations of the City including exemption from Business Tax in Year 1 and 50% Business Tax in Year 2. This proposal would provide businesses a Year 2 exemption with a full 100% payment in Year 3.
  • Payment installment plans for Planning Department permits: these could include a minor conditional use permit, major conditional use permit, or other substantial permit fees as required by the City.
  • Conduct mentoring, webinars, workshops to assist in opening businesses: the City would explore partnerships with other agencies that provide services to businesses such as the Small Business Majority, LA LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, and Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation.
  • Working with the City’s financial institution to explore funding and/or lowcost loans: this could include exploring options with the City’s current financial institution, Bank of the West, to provide streamline and specific financial capital options to businesses in the City.
  • Rewards program to support businesses: this could provide incentives, such as discounts, for consumers to shop at locally owned businesses.

Long Term (36-48 months)

  • Set aside space for businesses in new private developments: this can be done during development agreements and public benefit process.
  • Prioritizing businesses in City-owned vacant storefronts: the City could provide businesses with reduced commercial rent cost associated with opening a brick-and-mortar business at a currently vacant City-owned property.
  • Conduct a Disparity Study: to determine if inequities exist in public procurement and contracting by assessing, quantifying, and evaluating the prevalence, significance and scope of discrimination, if any, against specific businesses. 
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Steve Martin
Steve Martin
27 days ago

Maybe the task for could look into something real, like what happened to West Hollywood’s social justice component in issuing marijuana licenses.
Despite all of the talk, how well did minorities and people with marijuana convictions fare in that process? It does appear that the dispensaries have been very pro-active in hiring a diversity of people, which is a positive step, but not the same as insuring a diverse array of people have a piece of the pie.

JF1
JF1
28 days ago

Government cannot treat people differently based on their skin color. Government cannot give advantage to one group of people over another group of people based on their skin color. This is wrong. And for a city that claims to be fair to all people, this certainly is racism wrapped in a new woke bow.

Michael Dolan
Michael Dolan
29 days ago

Big NO for obvious reasons hidden behind ‘Social Justice Task Force.’ Please, West Hollywood has been a leader for all. This makes West Hollywood seen as if…

JF1
JF1
28 days ago
Reply to  Michael Dolan

Yup.

Babysitters
Babysitters
29 days ago

Nonsensical busy work for the city staff so that the BIPOC recipients of their speculations can terminally argue with each other depending on which way the wind is blowing and which hammer hit what nail. Can hardly believe this. Take on some personal responsibility folks, demonstrate attributes that are attractive for a presumed business and treatment of your clientele. No one owes anyone anything. Use your sensibilities, be the best person or business person you can be without a leash attached to City Hall. Training sessions for adults based on elements of life they should have learned in childhood does… Read more »

Children's Hour
Children's Hour
28 days ago
Reply to  Babysitters

Anyone watching a few minutes of the task force in action last night would have witnessed much ado about nothing. Embarrassed for the participants. They seem oblivious to the world around them and keep searching for a special pass to success while magnifying their ineffectual path. But they teachers pets of Sepi Shyne.

nate
nate
28 days ago

Is this something that we can watch online? I’d be interested in seeing what was discussed.

Observer
Observer
29 days ago

What does BIPOC mean? Is it possible that it stands for BIsexual People of Color? Help me out, please.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
29 days ago
Reply to  Observer

Google.com is a helpful website. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
29 days ago

Have we lost our minds?????? Create incentives for “people/citizens”……regardless of race or social group.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
29 days ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

You don’t even live here anymore lol

Stevie
Stevie
29 days ago

I believe Creepy Uncle Joe Biden just recently lost a case at the Supreme Court in regards to giving Pandemic incentives and money to non white farmers over all farmers. What makes the City Council think they are any better? Can’t wait to bring this case to court.

JF1
JF1
28 days ago
Reply to  Stevie

Yup.

Say What?!
Say What?!
29 days ago

Anybody can open up a business in West Hollywood. Hopefully a worthwhile and neighborhood serving business. There are no restrictions. This is just make-work for this committee and city staff.

JF1
JF1
28 days ago
Reply to  Say What?!

Racism at its finest.

voter
voter
29 days ago

This is reverse racism. Banning heterosexual white men from receiving benefits is disgusting.

Identity politics at its worst.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
29 days ago
Reply to  voter

Yes, justice for the long-discriminated-against heterosexual white male!

/s

voter
voter
28 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Your jealousy of straight white men says a lot about you!!

JF1
JF1
28 days ago
Reply to  voter

From his repeated comments directed to people with white skin and of the male sex, he does seem to hate them or at the very least dislike them a great deal. Quite disgusting.

JF1
JF1
28 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Racism is wrong. If you want to stop racism you don’t allow government sanctioned racism, you stop it.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
28 days ago
Reply to  JF1

If you want to stop racism you don’t allow government sanctioned racism, you stop it.”

Exactly why I don’t vote for white supremacist republicans!

JF1
JF1
28 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

There are racists on both sides of the aisle. Your comment does not address the issue. Government cannot favorite one group of people over another based on the color of their skin. Enough of the hateful rhetoric.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
27 days ago
Reply to  JF1

For the record, government favors one group over the other all the time. I get a mortgage interest deduction for owning a home and renters get no tax breaks. State and local governments supported red lining which keep Black people from having equal housing opportunities for generations, which has disadvantaged African American family wealth to this day. Why is at just talking about addressing historical racial injustices “hateful”?

WehoFan
WehoFan
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Steve you compared people in Texas to the Taliban.

JF1
JF1
27 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

You get a mortgage interest deduction to encourage home ownership. Race plays no part in that. Redlining was banned 50 years ago. There were many things done in the past that were discriminatory to people based on race. That does not mean that in the year 2021 we should be OK with our local government favoring one group of people over another based on the color of their skin. We should learn from our past mistakes not repeat them.

toby
toby
25 days ago
Reply to  JF1

Redlining was banned 50 years ago however Black families have lost out on at least $212,000 in personal wealth over the last 40 years because their home was redlined. The efforts of West Hollywood are not favoring one group over another nor is what they are doing “racist”, it is acknowledging the economic and educational disparity between groups of people, that’s it and that’s all. This city was incorporated to be a safe haven for certain groups of people based on the discrimination those groups experienced and we celebrate that but when the safe haven extends to BIPOC, all of… Read more »

WehoFan
WehoFan
28 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

What is wrong with this racist greeneyedguy?

Stevie
Stevie
27 days ago
Reply to  WehoFan

He’s tired of waiting on the first public unisex public bathroom

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