Donza at his 2021 LA City College Graduation ceremony
The South Los Angeles BusinessSource Center (BSC) provided a number of business services to Donza, helping him launch his own sidewalk vendor business. Donza recently overcame eight years of homelessness and earned a degree at Los Angeles City College. He said he was street smart, but he needed help becoming a street vendor.

In 2020, the South Los Angeles BSC team provided Donza guidance to obtain the required permits to sell merchandise on the sidewalks. He officially launched A-1 General Merchandise, his sidewalk vendor business in the middle of the pandemic.

Due to COVID-19, sidewalk vendors were placed in a challenging position as they attempted to navigate new health and safety guidelines. With the assistance he received from the South LA BSC, Donza said he no longer felt hopeless. He attended several business workshops, created a business plan, and launched a website for his business.

In addition, a business coach helped Donza successfully apply for grants and microloans to grow his business.

Today, Mr. Donza celebrates his transformation from homelessness to an entrepreneur who owns his own business and a member of the LA City College Class of 2021.

EWDD’s BusinessSource and WorkSource Centers offer a variety of Business Services, including several Financial Programs and Development Incentives for businesses of all sizes.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of September 6, 2021. Read this issue and more.