San Jose program helps street vendors do business the right way

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The city of San Jose has launched a new program to help street vendors do business the right way.

On a chilly night, hot tamales and hot chocolate are a must; and street food never seems to disappoint.

"I love to cook," said Rosaura Gonzalez of San Jose. Having her own restaurant is a dream and being a street vendor is a way to start.

Gonzalez was selling her tamales at Hammer Theater Plaza with Eastside-Grown Street Food. The city of San Jose has teamed up with non-profit Veggielution to help budding entrepreneurs.

"As an organization, to be able to create some sort of manual for people and help them, guide them through the process if they want to become permitted for food vending," said Emily Schwing of Veggielution.

The group has opened eight of their food carts to low-income residents so they can get their business up and running.

"We know that small business is the heartbeat of this city. The majority of our small business owners are immigrants, and often, need help," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

Having more permitted street vendors in San Jose could get more people to visit downtown.

"We've got an incredibly diverse city with a lot of ethnic food options you don't find anywhere else and we want to be able to show that off," Liccardo added.

The goal of the program is to provide multiple food options while achieving independent business ownership.

"This is a step forward," said Gonzalez, that one day could help fulfill her dreams.
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