Community Corporation of Santa Monica will partner with Molcajete Dominguero to bring the first small-business incubator to the city of Santa Monica. Hosted on the ground floor of Community Corp.’s upcoming affordable housing development in Santa Monica’s Pico neighborhood, the incubator will help develop, inspire, and cultivate small businesses at a time when local industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community Corp. has long sought to integrate economic development programs into its mission to improve lives and neighborhoods by developing quality affordable housing for people of modest means. After soliciting proposals for partners to help achieve this goal, Community Corp. selected Molcajete Dominguero – a unique Latinx merchant collective – to spearhead the incubator’s development and operation.

“Community Corporation of Santa Monica is excited to partner with Molcajete Dominguero, a leading Latinx marketplace in Los Angeles, to help cultivate and support small businesses in our community,” said Community Corp. Executive Director Tara Barauskas. “As we navigate this new economic reality, Molcajete’s expertise will help local small-businesses – many of which are owned by immigrants and people of color– thrive and reach their potential in an affordable, supportive and dynamic setting. Community Corp. has worked to keep Santa Monica diverse and inclusive for more than thirty years, and partnering with Molcajete will allow us to address the nexus between economic empowerment and affordable housing that we believe must be strengthened.”

Community Corp. received a grant from Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to support planning the marketplace and to develop entrepreneurship education programs for the small businesses that will occupy it.

“Molcajete Dominguero seeks to provide a platform for innovative entrepreneurs, often within the Latinx community, to support and define their business models and market their products to the public,” said Molcajete Co-Founder Luis Aguilar. “In the aftermath of this current recession, we look forward to working with Community Corp. to harness the power of small businesses and help our community prosper. Our mission will be particularly well served in Santa Monica’s Pico neighborhood, one of the city’s most diverse communities.”

The incubator is set to occupy the ground floor of Community Corp.’s new affordable housing development at 1819 Pico Blvd, near Santa Monica College. The building is anticipated to start construction in 2021.

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Submitted by Ryan Painter, Miller Ink