This week, Citi Community Development received the Corporate Innovator of the Year Award from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Office of Economic and Business Policy in recognition of its leadership in bringing together a network of stakeholders to implement the Bridges to Business Success program that is certifying, training and empowering minority-owned small businesses in the real estate services field to grow and create jobs. Underscoring the program’s swift progress since its January launch, today federal and local officials hosted the groundbreaking of the first construction project set to be undertaken through the program. Bridges to Business Success is a collaboration of Citi Community Development, the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Housing Department, the University of Southern California Minority Business Development Agency, and the Southern California Minority Business Development Council. The program makes use of federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds received by the City of Los Angeles to create jobs and revitalize neighborhoods. In the program, minority-owned, real estate-focused small businesses undertake an eight-week business training course at the University of Southern California and receive assistance in developing a strategic procurement plan. “We are excited to participate in the Bridges to Business Success Program and welcome the opportunity to further the City’s outreach to local minority business owners,” said Matt Karatz, City of LA Deputy Mayor for Economic and Business Policy. “This collaboration with our housing and economic development partners speaks to our commitment to revitalizing communities and creating jobs in Los Angeles.” "Citi Community Development is proud to be recognized for our innovative work to empower Southern California business owners by giving them the resources they need to grow and succeed," said Bob Annibale, Citi’s Global Director of Community Development. "We thank the Mayor’s office for this recognition. Our local Community Development team, led by Gustavo Bidart and Victor Ramirez, will continue to work with all of our partners to expand opportunities for the small businesses that are so critical to driving economic growth."