In partnership with Verizon, the Los Angeles Rams hosted a networking event and panel discussion to educate representatives from more than 35 Certified #RamsHouses about the benefits of the Verizon Small Business Digital Ready program and resources available to their businesses.
As part of the event, local small business owner of GTLA Apparel, Lupe Tlatenchi, was surprised with a $10,000 grant through the Verizon Digital Ready program. The Rams and Verizon recognized Tlatenchi to support her work towards making LA manufacturing more sustainable and equitable with her innovative apparel brand.
As a member of Verizon Digital Ready, Tlatenchi was grateful and encouraged to utilize the prorgam even more. "Everything happens at the right time. I will continue to take more of the Verizon Digital Ready workshops because they're very useful and resourceful, especially for entrepreneurs like me."
Rams Super Bowl XXXIV Champion and entrepreneur, Justin Watson, joined the networking event to moderate a panel and Q&A with Tlatenchi and representatives from local Certified #RamsHouse small businesses. Shanita Nicholas, co-owner of Sip & Sonder, and Gustavo Chavez, owner of Carnitas El Artista, participated in the panel discussion to educate attendees from other Certified #RamsHouse businesses on the benefits of Verizon's program. They also shared their journeys of opening and running small businesses while prioritizing their communities and uplifting customers.
"It's important to make sure that we're giving proper resources to those small businesses that may not have the advantages or the opportunities that other businesses have around the country," said Daniel Butler, senior manager of Verizon's corporate social responsibility strategy.
As part of the event, local small business owner of GTLA Apparel, Lupe Tlatenchi, was surprised with a $10,000 grant through the Verizon Small Business Digital Ready program.
Verizon has a goal of reaching and supporting one million small businesses by the year 2030 and Butler views the partnership with the Rams as something that will help them achieve this goal. "We have a shared value of reaching small businesses."
Seeing the reality of many companies in the garment industry failing to follow sustainable and ethical business practices, Tlatenchi opened her own fashion factory built on fair and equitable hiring and a commitment to sustainability back in 2017.
"About three years ago, I was running my business and I felt alone," explained Tlatenchi as she described the positive impact of Verizon's program. "To be a part of a network with other entrepreneurs and other founders, it just creates more confidence and [creates] a support system that understands you."
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready is a free online curriculum designed to give small businesses personalized tools to succeed in the digital economy with access to over 40 courses, mentorship, peer networking, and 1:1 expert coaching. Highly engaged users, defined as those who have taken at least two courses on the platform, can also apply for a $10,000 grant, which is awarded to select small businesses each year.
In 2020, the Rams launched the Certified #RamsHouse program to support businesses throughout the Los Angeles region. The Rams focus efforts on the small businesses of Season Ticket Members, businesses in Inglewood, as well as Black-owned and Latino-owned businesses throughout Los Angeles. As part of the program, each Certified #RamsHouse receives branded window decals, banners, shirts, hats and other items to showcase their Rams pride. Rams fans are encouraged to visit Certified #RamsHouse businesses on preferred days and share their experiences on social media using #RamsHouse. Since the launch of the Certified #RamsHouse program, the team has supported more than 75 local businesses and over 40 small businesses in Inglewood. To learn more about the Certified #RamsHouse program, visit https://www.therams.com/community/certified-rams-house.