VSEDC operates the first BusinessSource Center in Watts.

Meet the center’s bilingual business coaches, Jonathan Kinnard and Fernando Borja (from left to right).

Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation (VSEDC) opened the doors to Watt’s first BusinessSource Center on April 1st.  

“The Watts Business Source Center will offer technical assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs who aim to launch a business,” said Adrian Veliz, Senior Program Manager at VSEDC. “There are legacy businesses in the neighborhood that need a little business coaching to help them grow and create jobs. We also see room to grow in Watts for sidewalk vendors. We can help them with the permit process and legitimize their businesses.” 

Settling into the neighborhood

The new Watts BusinessSource Center is introducing itself to the neighborhood through Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC) events. Staff at the BusinessSource Center have reached out to 100 local businesses, with a goal of 300 by the end of June. Our two bilingual (English/Spanish) business coaches, Fernando Borja and Jonathan Kinnard, are already giving assistance to entrepreneurs and small business owners in Watts. 

Main office and satellite office 

The BusinessSource Center has a main office and a satellite office to accommodate the diverse communities of Watts. 

Currently, the Watts BusinessSource Center main office is in a temporary space in City Councilman Joe Buscaino’s regional office. This summer it will move to its permanent position at the Watts Historical Train Station. The satellite office is located at 10950 S. Central Avenue. Walk-ins and appointments are welcome at all locations.   

Services and access to capital

Overall, VSEDC and Watts BusinessSource Center staff are excited to engage the Watts community with:
– one-on-one business coaching
– loan assessment and readiness
– free business education webinars
– free VSEDC core curriculum cohorts

VSEDC is also a certified CDFI community lender, which can lend micro loans and small business loans from $5,000 – $250,000 to local businesses. 

To make an appointment at the Watts BusinessSource Center main or satellite office, call (323) 753-2335, or get started here.  

This story was written by Adrian Veliz and Corey Carleton