Recently, a diverse group of Angelenos from all walks of life, convened to take advantage of the free services offered at the 5th Annual Mobile Retail and Food Truck Business Expo & Mobile Marketplace, presented by The Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation (VSEDC) and South Los Angeles Business Source Center. The group put together the event to encourage attendees to start their own businesses. The expo was held on the LA Trade Technical College campus, with the mainstage on the South Quad and workshops held in Aspen Hall.
There was also a fleet of food trucks and mobile retail trucks.
At the Expo to were Joe Rouzan, VSEDC executive director, as well as event partners, The Honorable Curren D. Price, Jr., Councilman of the LA City 9th District; Jan Perry, General Manager, City of Los Angeles Economic & Workforce Development Department, and Stacy Jischke-Steffe of the American Mobile Retail Association (AMRA); and Kareem Setita of mobile/food truck builder, Kareem Carts.
“The 5th Annual Mobile Retail and Food Truck Business Expo and Mobile Marketplace, hosted by our workforce partner VSEDC, showed many entrepreneurs how to empower themselves by developing mobile small businesses,” said Perry. “The lesson for the day…Start small to grow big. LAEWDD is here to help with micro loans and small business loans.”
In addition to greeting attendees, the Partners toured the classrooms where the free workshops were being held according to business stage pre start-up, start-up and existing businesses. There, they took the opportunity to interact with the workshop participants, who were learning how to start or improve their mobile business through social media, business plan development, Google digital services and more… A full Spanish language track led by professional consultants ran concurrently.
Meanwhile, on the exhibitor floor, other Expo attendees took advantage of one-on-ones with exhibitors learning how to enhance and expand their mobile business acumen with entities such as: the LA County Department of Health; The LA Office of City Finance; CPA services; The Clean Credit Agency, as well as, exhibition presentations on Mainstage such as “How to build your mobile food/retail truck”, “How to buy wholesale”, “How to start your mobile business” and the ins and outs of “traditional and non-traditional financing”. Event partner, Kareem Carts, provided three model trucks for attendees to tour, and see some of the features they may include—and to peer into the type of vehicle that could launch their mobile business venture.
Aside from business, there was also a lot of fun to be had, including attendees purchasing delicious items from the on-site food trucks, which included: Tender Grill Brazilian, Master Yee’s Omelets, Humble Crust Pizza, Waffle Love and Smoking Pot Creole, as well as the cold brew coffee cart BrewtiqueLA. And two of the hottest spots of the day had nothing to do with food, but were the mobile retailers, Summer Soulstice Mobile Fashion Boutique and the Red Wing Mobile Shoe store.
The Expo was topped off with a final drawing for a fruit cart donated by Kareem Carts and an HP Chromebook donated by Abraham Jankans of Launchpad. The winner of the fruit cart was Serisabel M. Novido who was brought to tears upon hearing her name called stated, “I came to the Mobile Expo with an expectation of learning how to start a business. This is way more than I expected to go home with!” The winner of the Chromebook was Cerulean Fetherson who joyfully accepted his prize with gratitude.
Mobile Expo 2017 served approximately 300 attendees. A variety of partners made the event possible, said organizers. VSEDC Executive Director Joseph T. Rouzan took the time to thank each of them.
“This program continues to be successful only because of the on-going support from our partners,” he said.
“It is important that we list them when we can. They are The Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, CD9 Councilman Curren D. Price, the City of LA EWDD under the leadership of Jan Perry , Stacy Jischke-Steffe of the mobile retail industry experts American Mobile Retail Association (AMRA), truck builder Kareem Setita, and of course our community media partners the LA Sentinel and KJLH who are critical to our efforts to get the word out to the community…”
VSEDC’s mission, said members, is to extend vital business services and training to current, pre-start-up, start-up and Spanish language business owners. Founded in 1981 by the late Marva Smith Battle-Bey, VSEDC is a non-profit with over 30 years of economic development and job creation by implementing comprehensive approaches to community and economic development through business, commercial, and employment services. Most recently offering Worksource employment services in a joint venture with the LA Economic Workforce Development Department (EWDD) and the City of Los Angeles thru the LETC UAW Workforce Center now co-located with the BusinessSource Center at the Business Enterprise Center. This collaboration serves 230 South Los Angeles residents annually with employment services, and brings $1.5 million dollars to the South LA community.
For more information on VSEDC and its services, please contact Leslie Elliott at 323.753.4515 or go online to www.vsedc.org.