Week of October 24, 2022

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Supporting LA innovators and startups 

EWDD administers and provides financial support to several incubator and accelerator programs in the City of Los Angeles through Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). These programs contribute to the City's innovation landscape by supporting the creation and growth of startups.

This week we feature a start-up that received assistance from the Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA) Seasoned Accelerator program, which helps food entrepreneurs build a sustainable business and become profitable. SEE-LA’s mission is also to promote social and cultural activities that benefit both low-to-moderate income residents of Los Angeles.


Kenshi Kobayashi was three years old when his parents found him slurping leftover bowls of broth at ramen restaurants in Japan. It was this lifelong love of ramen that inspired Kenshi (also known by his childhood name Kenchan) to launch Kenchan Ramen, a business that offers authentic, restaurant-quality DIY ramen kits.  


During the pandemic, Kenchan noticed that deliveries were not hitting the spot when it came to his favorite comfort food. He created Kenchan Ramen to fulfill his mission of making delicious ramen more accessible to American households. Kenchan encountered many challenges while trying to grow his business, including how to hire and scale a reliable team, create systems and processes, and create a marketing and branding plan. 


In seeking guidance and support, Kenchan applied for the SEE-LA Seasoned Accelerator program. ‘’The Seasoned Accelerator Program has been an amazing experience,” he said. “My two business mentors have been instrumental in helping me make critical decisions- big or small– and offered me guidance and valuable coaching advice every week. The program also covered diverse topics to help our cohort of small businesses navigate the terrain of being an owner of a startup.


Creating job opportunities

EWDD is a leadership partner of LA:RISE, an innovative, collaborative partnership that unites the City and County of Los Angeles’ Workforce Development System with non-profit social enterprises and for-profit employers to help people with high barriers to employment get good jobs and stay employed.

The City’s WorkSource Centers and LA:RISE prioritize individuals recently released from prison, the unsheltered or those at risk of homelessness, and youth ages 18-24 who are neither in school nor employed. After working in a transitional job at a social enterprise, leveraging WorkSource Center training and services, LA:RISE participants are placed in permanent jobs.


LA:RISE participant Magally (pictured above) is a firm believer that everyone can make an impact on their community – and her own career goals are centered around paying it forward. The Los Angeles native recently returned to the area from South Dakota in search of better job opportunities, and enrolled in LA:RISE at the West LA YouthSource Center (YSC) for support in her next steps. Magally worked as a teacher’s assistant, a transitional job that aligned with her passion for working with students. The role provided paid, on-the-job experience and it confirmed her desire to work with young people. Magally recently graduated from Santa Monica College with an Associate’s Degree in Public Policy. She accepted a staff position at the West LA YSC, where she was recently promoted to a full-time Youth Coordinator. She is attending CSU Dominguez Hills to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management so that she can pursue her dream of starting a nonprofit that guides students through the higher education application process and creates sustainable career paths for young adults from historically underinvested communities. Of her future, Magally says: “my goal is to work in public service, serve my community, and empower youth to create positive change.”


Michaela (pictured above) was recently promoted to Job Coach at Goodwill of Southern California – a testament to her success in the LA:RISE program and a stepping stone toward her goal of building a career in social work. Before enrolling in LA:RISE, Michaela was facing homelessness and looking for an opportunity to reenter the workforce. At LA:RISE, she felt for the first that she had discovered a team that recognized her talents, was committed to her success, and would help her achieve her goals. Michaela dove into LA:RISE programming, completing Goodwill’s Leadership Academy and the National Retail Federation’s Customer Service Training, and began a transitional job as a retail ambassador. Outside of work, she met with case managers to practice resume writing and interview skills, efforts that all paid off with her recent promotion. In her new role, Michaela is excited to pay it forward and use her story to support future LA:RISE participants.

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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