Merrill Lynch Announces Effort to Help Businesses

LOS ANGELES -- A $1 million initiative by Merrill Lynch to help small businesses in Southern California, including the Valley Economic Development Center in Van Nuys, was announced Monday.

The center additionally will receive a $50,000 grant to develop a simplified loan underwriting program, according to Merrill Lynch, which also is awarding $40,000 to the Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program to increase its ability to support small and medium size businesses.

"In today's economy it is critical that we foster entrepreneurship among small enterprises in communities where economic growth is so needed," said Terri Ludwig, president of the Merrill Lynch Community Development Co.

The Valley Economic Development Center is the largest nonprofit business development corporation in Southern California. It has offered financial assistance and consulting to small- and medium-sized businesses for more than 30 years.

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