The nonprofit organization Local Initiatives Support Corp. Los Angeles announced Tuesday it is launching the Black Business Excellence Technical Assistance (BBET) Initiative to support Black-owned personal care businesses in L.A. County.

Partnering with Pacific Premiere Bank, which has a branch in Encino and the James Irvine Foundation in Los Angeles, the BBET program will select annual cohorts of Black-owned beauty, health and wellness businesses to support with one-on-one business advising, networking opportunities and business education. Thirty businesses will be accepted for the first round.
                                                                                                           
“We are proud to launch the BBET Initiative to support Black-owned small businesses and achieve our broader goals by providing economic opportunities for diverse communities,” Local Initiatives Support Corp. L.A. Executive Director Tunua Thrash-Ntuk said in a statement. “Black- owned personal care businesses were some of the hardest hit during the COVID-19 crisis – and we believe this program will help the most impacted communities to thrive.”


Small businesses have taken a significant hit during the COVID-19 crisis, with Black-owned businesses hit hardest compared to any other demographic. With more than half of Black business owners seeing their revenue cut by half, Black business ownership has dropped by 41 percent during the pandemic, according to research from JP Morgan Chase. The personal care sector has also seen a 45 percent decrease in revenue in the last year, with experts predicting this industry will have one of the longest paths to recovery.


“Pacific Premier Bank recognizes that small businesses suffered disproportionately throughout the pandemic, which is why we are supporting LISC and their BBET initiative with a grant of $150,000,” Sherri Scott, senior executive vice president said in a statement.


To qualify for the 12-week program, businesses must: have at least one owner that is Black or African American; be operating for at least two years; be in the personal care sector; be located within L.A. County; and be able to commit five hours per week for the length of the program. Applications for the fall cohort will be accepted starting July 26 for the inaugural program beginning on Sept. 20.