The COVID-19 pandemic has affected countless small businesses across the country and the world. Many have had to halt operations, lay off employees or shut their doors for good.
Minority-owned businesses may be disproportionately impacted. One group working to support these vulnerable businesses is the Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE). PACE is a nonprofit community development corporation, certified Community Development Financial Institution and SBA micro-lender that creates economic solutions to meet the challenges of employment, education, housing, the environment and business development in the Pacific Asian and other diverse communities in Los Angeles County.
With more than 44 years in the community, PACE is experienced in providing relief during times of crisis, having provided emergency disaster loans and technical assistance during both the 1992 LA riots and the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Tapping its knowledge and experience navigating crisis situations, PACE has implemented an Assistance in Disaster (AID) fund, aimed at providing technical assistance and capital to small businesses in low- and moderate-income (LMI) neighborhoods in Greater Los Angeles impacted by COVID-19.
In the last few months, PACE has received 1,200 requests totaling $126MM from small businesses affected by COVID-19. From restaurants to retail businesses, salons to gyms, businesses are suffering and in need of working capital and revised operational strategies to keep them functioning over the next critical weeks and months. PACE’s goal is to help businesses’ stay afloat during the widening economic shutdown. The loans have flexible terms and underwriting, zero to low interest rates, deferred payments, and no or low fees.
To support PACE’s important work during this critical time, Boston Private is proud to have made a $10,000 investment in the AID fund.
“PACE is grateful for our long-time partnership with Boston Private and for their commitment to supporting LA County’s vulnerable small businesses and minority-owned small businesses. Boston Private’s investment in PACE AID has allowed us to serve an unprecedented number of small business owners these past few months through the swift deployment of capital and provision of technical assistance,’ said Kerry Doi, President and CEO of PACE.
While many other agencies are closing their doors, PACE remains open and fully staffed with a team of 16 highly experienced business & loan counselors who are able to assist clients in a variety of languages including Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese, currently serving clients through telephone, email and virtual meetings.
Since its founding in 1976, PACE has provided economic development programming, addressing poverty and economic inequity serving low-income, ethnic and immigrant communities throughout Los Angeles County. PACE provides free year-round programs to more than 50,000 low-income residents and small businesses annually, in five core services areas: business development, early childhood education, energy and environmental services, housing assistance and workforce development. Additionally, as an SBA micro-lender and CDFI, PACE has worked with more than 43,000 small business owners, providing over $500 million in access to capital support since 1994.