National Nonprofit, Founders First CDC,
Awards $100,000 to Southern California Businesses

Founders First CDC Awards 25 Grants to Minority Businesses Throughout the State to Create and Promote Premium Wage Employment Opportunities in Underserved Communities

San Diego, CA – December 14, 2023 – Founders First CDC, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that empowers expansion in diverse, founder-led, revenue-generating businesses, announced the winners of its new Job Creators Quest Grant today during a virtual press conference. More than 900 Southern California businesses applied for the grants and 25 recipients were selected, with minority and underrepresented business owners receiving $100,000, collectively in cash and full tuition scholarships to a Founders First CDC Business Accelerator Program. The grant recipients were selected from throughout the Southern California region, including Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial, and San Diego regions, serving a variety of industries – from construction and manufacturing to STEM and healthcare, to hospitality, and more. 

“We’ve listened and learned from the obstacles minority business owners face. This has shaped our mission to provide resources, funding opportunities and business stabilization while simultaneously spurring premium wage job growth in the community,”  said Shaylon Scott, Executive Director, Founders First CDC. “This is why we created the Southern California Job Creators Grant. I’m excited at the positive impact it’s made in the region and celebrate all of the successes of diverse business owners.”

 The purpose of the Job Creators Quest Grant is to help business owners create premium wage jobs and reward diverse-led businesses throughout the Southern California regions to retain and grow their workforce through the pandemic. This will help to positively impact the local economy, create job opportunities with higher wages and provide the human capital needed for businesses to grow and expand. 

“California Southern SBDC is honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with Founders First CDC in championing the growth and resilience of these Southern California businesses, now celebrated as finalists in the Job Creators program. Our dedication resonates with Founders First CDC’s vision for a thriving and inclusive economy, and we are truly excited to be involved in initiatives like this that play a pivotal role in fostering economic empowerment. We take great pride in being a part of their impactful work, contributing to a brighter future for all.” said Juan Carlos Hernandez, President and CEO at California Southern SBDC. 

“At Accion Opportunity Fund (AOF), we know how important empowering underresourced entrepreneurs is. Partnering with Founders First CDC is one of the ways we can have an impact beyond our own capital and educational programs to support minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses. The Job Creators Quest Grant is a testament to the positive change that can be achieved when organizations come together with a shared vision for community impact. Congratulations on a job well done to all of the finalists.”  said Sophia Zisook, Senior Director of Partner Management at Accion Opportunity Fund (AOF). 

The 25 recipients of the Southern California Job Creators fund includes:


Crush It Marketing Inc.


Rich RNB


Anese & Associates LLC


Growler Logistics LLC




Pure Health Alliance




The Crease Beast LLC


Muaydirigma International LLC




B3 Media Solutions Inc


Ducens Med Tech Inc


Amazon Graphics Inc.


Worksters, Inc.




Sapient Logic LLC


Dynamic Education Services, Inc.




360 Human Services


Graduate Communications, dba “GradComm”


La Salle Solutions,  LLC


Sign Factory


Connect Logistics


Portship International Company


Care Staffing Professionals


The judging committee for the Southern California Job Creators Grant includes a panel of our partners and other successful business owners. 

“Being part of the judging committee for the Southern California Job Creators Grant was an inspiring experience. Witnessing the dedication and innovation of Southern California business owners was truly remarkable. Congratulations to all the recipients – your commitment to job creation and community impact is commendable and sets a positive example for others.” said Amanda Cheyney, Client Advisor at California Manufacturing Technology Consulting. 

To be eligible for the Job Creators Quest Grant, the company’s founder had to be Black, indigenous, a person of color, LGBTQIA+, military veteran, woman or located in a low to moderate income area and be a for-profit company with annual revenues between $100,000 to $3 million. Grant winners will use the funds to help create and add 1-2 net new premium wage jobs in the next 12 months. 

Funding for this program was facilitated by a $1 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, in conjunction with Founders First CDC Capital Partners’ recent $9 million Series A financing accelerator to support underrepresented entrepreneurs in underserved communities. Additional partners include Union Bank, US Bank, Accessity, CMTC, Inland Empire Business Journal, Connect, Small Business Majority, Small Business Finance CDC, We The Plug, Kauffman Foundation, Women’s Business Center, Veterans Chamber of Commerce, Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, Surdna Foundation, Startout, San Diego Imperial Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, JP Morgan Chase, Mission Edge, Stella Labs, City National Bank, Inner City Capital Connections, Southern California SBDC, Accion Opportunity Fund, City of Escondido, Escondido Chamber of Commerce,  San Diego Regional EDC, Southern California Black Chamber of Commerce and many more. 

On a national and global scale, many companies struggled to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, many small businesses that are vital to the communities they serve, were forced to close their doors. With greater availability of the vaccine and resources provided by organizations like Founders First CDC, small businesses are hopeful as they move forward. According to a recent article by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a majority (65 percent) of small business owners are more optimistic that the worst of the pandemic is over, and say that easing COVID-19 restrictions (29 percent) and ramping up vaccinations in their area (28 percent) are the two biggest keys to their success. 


About Founders First CDC 

Founders First CDC is a not-for-profit 501c3 that was founded in 2015 and has received significant support from the regional community reinvestment banks to empower diverse founder-led, revenue-generating small businesses through three primary programs: (1) Founders Challenge; (2) Founders Bootcamp; and (3) Founders FastPath. By building recurring revenues, tech-enablement, and essential solution focus, Founders First serves as a catalyst for positive change to entrepreneurs of color and female founders to become leading employers in their communities.

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