create / 2021

Women and BIPOC Women in Food Mentorship Program

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Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Regarding Her

Regarding Her's Women and BIPOC Women in Food Mentorship Program will help to advance women and BIPOC women in the restaurant industry by providing mentorship, education, grants and logistical support for their restaurants. Regarding Her is committed to celebrating, nurturing, and uplifting women and BIPOC women chefs making LA’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

Businesses owned by women, BIPOC and immigrants are being disproportionately impacted by the economic realities of the pandemic, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research report. An “unprecedented” 25 percent drop in the number of women business owners could hurt gender equality in the restaurant industry and beyond, the report notes. Independent restaurants are the ones that truly add diversity to LA’s food scene. Over the last 9 months, we’ve witnessed the total inaction on the part of national leadership to provide meaningful support for independent restaurants, coupled with the outsized negative impact that COVID-19 has had on women and BIPOC women in the workforce. Regarding Her was created to not only drive business for participating restaurants during a historically slow period, but also provide a grants and mentorship programming, directly to women and BIPOC women operators who are struggling to keep their businesses afloat.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

By combining mentorship and leadership skills development, Regarding Her’s mentoring program connects women and BIPOC women in the food industry and helps them to develop their leadership potential and build specific skills to be successful leaders and restaurant owners. Mentees will participate in a 6-month mentorship program that will address the following areas: (1) Gender income inequality. (Females make about 20 percent less than their male counterparts); (2) Work-family life balance; (3) Gender bias and stereotypes; (4) Career advancement barriers; (5) Harassment; and (6) Workforce Development. There is an opportunity for program mentees to receive a designated grant to help future their success. Once mentees complete the program, they will have access to industry-focused resources, virtual events that celebrate, connect and promote women in food and beverage, including being a part of an annual restaurant festival, 10 Days Re:Her.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Our vision is fueled by the responsibility we feel to recognize and uplift all members of our industry, especially those whose contributions have been historically minimized and/or erased. Historically, individuals from these marginalized communities typically have a harder time accessing capital, often resulting in having to “boot strap” a business with personal debt or loans from friends and family. The success of Regarding Her’s Women and BIPOC Women in Food Mentorship Program will help dismantle systemic barriers and racial inequities that prevent many women from moving into positions of leadership and/or ownership in the food and beverage industry and throughout Los Angeles County.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Mentorship not only opens the door to opportunities that would have never before been accessible, it can also propagate change on a broader scale at the industry level for women and BIPOC women. The only way you can get that skill set in a kitchen or as a business owner is by having a mentor, a chef, or a teacher teach you how to do it. The evaluation process for the Women and BIPOC Women in Food Mentorship Program will entail goal tracking intended outcomes, conducting participant surveys and measuring the impact on retention with women owned business by conducting quarterly interviews.

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

Regarding Her is thrilled to collaborate with some of the top women and BIPOC women owned restaurants in Los Angeles County. This collaboration and specific role of each strategic partner (All Day Baby, Hotville Chicken, Guelaguetza, Botanica Restaurant & Market, Gasolina Cafe, Socalo/Border Grill, Guerrilla Tacos, Love & Salt and Rossoblu) will bring the breadth of knowledge, advocacy and guidance that will spearhead the success of the Women and BIPOC Women in Food Mentorship Program. Each partner brings business acumen, front of the house and back of the house experience and leadership training.

Which of the create metrics will you impact?​

  • Employment in the creative industries
  • Income inequality
  • Minority- and women-owned businesses