On January 26, KYCC Community Economic Development hosted a press conference to announce being awarded the SBA Community Navigator Pilot Program grant. Over the course of two years, the program will work to bring culturally and linguistically relevant small business resources to Koreatown and to Korean American business owners, as well as provide support for start ups and small businesses.

“The SBA has selected this collaborative, the Korean American Business Development Program of Southern California, to help level the playing field for Korean American entrepreneurs in Los Angeles and Orange County,” says Audrey Casillas, Community Economic Development Manager. “KYCC will serve as the centralized lead organization and the hubs will incorporate and support in business development programs across the two counties. This includes Hwarang [Youth Foundation], KAFLA, Karsh [Center], KCS, and Ocapica…all of them partners with deep roots and trust within the Korean American community, to help small businesses navigate government programs and tap into resources.”

The Korean American Business Development Program of Southern California was one of 51 collaboratives selected across the nation, amongst 700 applicants, and the only one awarded in the state of California. 

Through the Community Navigator Pilot Program, SBA is engaging with states, local governments, SBA resource partners, and other organizations in targeted outreach for small businesses in underserved communities. The program offers funding to nonprofits, state and local governments, universities, and tribal entities to partners with SBA at the center of a hub and spoke network. These hubs then support spoke organizations – trusted, culturally knowledgeable local groups and individuals – will connect to the specific-sectors of the entrepreneurial community to provide assistance during economic recovery.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Community Economic Development small business team has led pandemic relief trainings and directly assisted over 200 small business owners to access $4.5 million in pandemic relief. This program will help us continue uplifting Korean American entrepreneurs across our community.