Week of

August 29, 2022

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Rewilder founders
Vintage Metro tokens are repurposed as zippers for the backpacks
A display of the contents of each backpack

Supporting LA's Innovators


Rewilder, a sustainable woman and Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI)-owned company, was recently selected to provide their upcycled bags to the Ninth Summit of Americas in Los Angeles, which reflected the summit’s theme of “Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future.” The start-up company is receiving resources from the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), one of several incubators in the City of LA that EWDD administers and provides financial support through Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). 


The U.S. Department of State hosted the Ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California in June 2022, which was attended by world leaders from North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. This summit’s theme focused on responding to Earth’s most pressing issues, including the climate crisis and a lack of equitable access to opportunities. 


Every year, LACI guides more than sixty companies towards meeting the challenges of building local climate resilience by providing startups with expert business coaches, networking events, and connecting them to funding resources to grow their businesses. One such LACI supported start-up is Rewilder, which aims to stop the 11 million tons of textiles that are landfilled globally by identifying, diverting, and upcycling waste materials in their supply chain.

Founded by Jennifer Silbert (above left) and Stephanie Choi (above right), Rewilder was selected as a local example for the Ninth Summit’s message through their provision of American-made upcycled swag bags. Delivered from Rewilder’s headquarters in Los Angeles’ City Council District 10 and in partnership with the environmentally conscious business Clove & Twine, guests of the summit received a gift of sustainable goods, including Rewilder’s custom backpack, upcycled from airbags and seatbelts sourced from factory end rolls trashed during airbag production.

Each airbag backpack diverts the equivalent CO2 from the landfill as planting six trees, driving 300 miles in a passenger car, or charging a smartphone every night for 49 years. Owners Jennifer and Stephanie leveraged an existing relationship with LA Metro to repurpose vintage Los Angeles metro tokens for the bag’s zipper pulls on each of the 1,125 backpacks produced and distributed at the summit. 


To learn more about the benefits of LACI’s Incubation program: https://laincubator.org/innovators-incubation/. To learn more about EWDD's incubators, click the link below. 


LA City partnership: META Career Connections 


The West Valley BusinessSource Center (BSC) assisted grandmother and grandson team Dianna Briggs and Devin Rojas in building the social media presence of their company Dandelion Entertainment, which helped them secure their first production job. Through the City of LA’s partnership with META’s Career Connections Program, the company was assigned an intern who assisted them with developing their social media presence to promote their business. 

The pair first visited the West Valley BSC in May 2022 for guidance on how to start their production company. West Valley BSC business consultant Marlen Lara conducted an initial assessment to identify business needs and helped them develop an action plan.  Marlen guided them through the process of applying for the City of Los Angeles Business Tax Registration Certificate (BTRC), as well as filing for a fictitious name, and Dandelion Entertainment was born. The company is located in LA City Council District 3

As Marlen continued to work with Dianna and Devin, she advised them to consider social media marketing strategies. Dianna said she was unfamiliar with social media platforms, while Devin said that he had limited experience and found it time-consuming. Luckily, the City of LA  recently partnered with the META Career Connections program, an initiative that provides youth training in digital marketing which prepares them for internships with local businesses. Dianna and Devin were assigned an intern who created a Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account for their business. The program also provided a $500 advertising grant for Facebook, which the intern used to advertise Dandelion Entertainment. 

As a direct result of the Facebook advertising, Dandelion Entertainment secured its first two production jobs. One project was a music video and the other a contract for a short film.  DIanna and Devin continue to work with Marlen and the West Valley BSC on grant programs and other resources that the City offers.  They are extremely grateful for all the help they have received and are excited about their future projects! 

META Career Connections interns must be enrolled in the City’s Hire LA’s Youth program. To apply, click the link below. 

Leslie Montoya



Leslie Montoya was scrolling through Instagram when she learned about Angeleno Corps, a 10-month program that would give her hands-on work experience in one of four areas: education and child care, health and environmental justice, tech and digital assistance, or immigration advocacy. The program is geared toward young Angelenos ages 18-24 in neighborhoods most impacted by COVID-19.  

“I'm a college student, so I was struggling financially. Coming through this pandemic, it was really nice to see a program from Mayor Garcetti, from my city. I just had to take advantage of it, I mean, why not?” 

More than 1,000 students applied and Leslie, 22, was one of the 400 students chosen to be a part of the 2021-2022 cohort. Through this part-time work experience, participants receive $1,000 monthly stipends as well as a one-time $1,000 scholarship to assist with their educational needs.  

Leslie completed her Angeleno Corps internship at Lou Costello Recreation Center, located in her neighborhood of Boyle Heights. “This is all going to set me up for my future, set me up for the woman I want to become, for myself and my community,” she said.

Watch the full video to learn about Leslie’s experience with the program! 

To learn more about the Angeleno Corps program, visit: hirelayouth.com. 

To learn about free services available at EWDD’s YouthSource Centers, click the link below. 


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If you have any questions, comments, or wish to have a contribution considered for inclusion in an upcoming "Updates," please feel free to contact Jamie Francisco at (213) 744-9048 or Jamie.Francisco@lacity.org