Los Angeles Tries To Bring Businesses Back To California

In an attempt to bring businesses back to California, Mayor Karen Bass will announce that the Banc of California will be relocating its headquarters to Los Angeles.

“We are working to ensure that Los Angeles is not just open for business but that City Hall is advocating for businesses,” said Mayor Bass. “Throughout this city, we have heard from business leaders that actions we’ve taken have brought a new energy to our business sector. This is just the beginning.”

Mayor Bass is also announcing the launch of a contract financing program to help small businesses pursue procurement opportunities with the city. This program fulfills a promise made during the campaign to help make sure small local businesses are competitive to win and keep city contracts.

Later today, Mayor Bass will highlight the results of her first year in San Fernando Valley during a roundtable conversation with business leaders and tour the progress of LAX’s $30 billion capital improvement program. In the afternoon, Mayor Bass will connect with small business owners, including those who are benefitting from the City’s Al Fresco dining program that Mayor Bass is working to make permanent. Thousands of businesses have opened in Los Angeles since December 2022. Watch the video release recapping the first year of progress here.

“As a native Angeleno, I know the power and promise of Los Angeles and the entrepreneurs and businesses that make it great,” said Jared Wolff, CEO of Banc of California. “As California’s leading business bank, we are designating Los Angeles as our headquarters to further serve this vibrant business community. In recognition of our partnership with the City, Banc of California is very pleased to make a $1 million contribution to Mayor Bass’ Contract Financing Assistance Program. We are proud to support small and medium-sized businesses with the financial support that will help them compete for government contracts. Banc of California looks forward to serving all of our communities with creative financial solutions that create jobs, drive business forward, and enrich the communities where we live and work.”

With thousands of businesses opening since taking office and Mayor Bass’ actions to speed up housing approvals and construction, Mayor Bass has begun to reverse City Hall’s perception and reputation in the business community. Mayor Bass has taken strong, consistent action, inclusive of the business community, to chart a new path where businesses are supported to thrive.

  • Promoting Small Businesses: Mayor Bass established a small business policy team right away and issued Executive Directive 4 to support small business creation, development and growth in Los Angeles. The Executive Directive surfaced existing barriers within City departments and bureaus to doing business in and with the City.

    • The Mayor issued the first progress report in September and announced actions already being taken, including: Enactment of departmental action plans to address process delays and enhance constituent experience; Provision of virtual and in-person counter services for businesses looking to open or expand to help businesses receive the assistance they need to open faster; Adoption of strategies to immediately help expedite contract payments, helping departments establish and achieve 45-day payment goals; and Elimination of Local Business Enterprise (LBE) Certification backlog to help qualified businesses acquire certifications in less than 30 days to take advantage of time-sensitive opportunities and bidding preferences provided to local businesses

    • As defined in Executive Directive 4, Mayor Bass also established and convened her Small Business Cabinet and Executive Business Cabinet this year to hold the City accountable to the business community and to ensure that the City is in alignment with the priorities and concerns of the private sector.

    • To make the permitting and inspection process more efficient and enable new sound stages and studios to open on time and on budget, the Mayor made the Restaurants and Small Business Express Program available to Studios and Sound Stages regardless of project valuation. The Program streamlines the approval process, providing the assistance needed to help enhance the coordination throughout the permitting, construction and inspection processes. Since its launch in the beginning of 2023, 7 projects have been supported. Citywide, there is over 8.1 million square feet in soundstage, media production and associated creative offices in the pipeline!

  • Fostering Entrepreneurship and Business Support: Mayor Bass began bringing the business community together at the start of her term to hear policy requests directly from leaders. The first convening was held with Small Business Administrator Isabel Guzman where business leaders made the importance of fostering procurement opportunities with the City clear.

    • In response to business leaders’ requests, the Mayor’s Office launched the Contract ReadyLA program to help local small businesses build capacity and attain the knowledge needed to procure government contracts. Mayor Bass believes that L.A.’s businesses should have tangible opportunities to do business with the City and is working to make that a reality. Mayor is working with the City’s Economic and Workforce Development Department  and Office of Procurement to launch a support program under this initiative and allocating $1 M of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds towards technical assistance.

    • Mayor Bass’s Office opened the newest BusinessSource Center in Watts. BusinessSource Centers provide startup ventures and current small business owners with various cost-effective tools to make their businesses a success. Through these tools, small businesses can grow and remain competitive within the City of Los Angeles. Services are provided at no cost to LA City business owners and resident entrepreneurs. Mayor Bass will next open a BusinessSource Center in Boyle Heights. Since December 2022, the Business Source Center has assisted 1289 businesses and helped businesses acquire $9.6M in funding.

    • To address unaffordability, every level of government needs to be at the table. This year, on National Small Business Week and in partnership with the County, the Mayor hosted the first-ever L.A. Region Small Business Summit, bringing together local resource providers that work with businesses and all levels of government into a single event in support of our business community.

    • On October 14, the Mayor’s Office hosted the Los Angeles Business and Financial Empowerment Summit in collaboration with BMO Bank to provide much needed financial resources and education to businesses looking for opportunities to access capital and grow.

  • Responding During Emergencies: Mayor Bass’ emergency responses prioritize impacted businesses. During the I-10 freeway closure, Mayor Bass met with business owners and leaders from the Downtown and Boyle Heights areas to share updates regarding recent resources and services available. The Economic Workforce and Development Department launched a micro-enterprise grant program and helped establish a resource center dedicated to supporting impacted businesses. Also, during the tropical storm, the Mayor’s team held an Emergency Business Resource Webinar to discuss available resources and support available  through City departments, legal aid and local BusinessSource Centers.

  • Streamlining Commercial Development and Housing: Mayor Bass signed Executive Directive 7 to make housing more affordable and available throughout Los Angeles. The executive directive works to incentivize more housing to be built faster  for people of all income levels, with an emphasis on affordable housing and mixed income housing, to begin to address the barriers to home ownership and to help convert existing buildings into housing. Commercial, mixed-use development can also be streamlined through this package of initiatives.

  • Making Al Fresco Successful: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the City enacted temporary local emergency orders that allowed for the establishment of the L.A. Al Fresco program in May 2020. This program authorized restaurants to temporarily utilize sidewalks, private parking lots, street parking spaces, and lane closures for outdoor dining. It also suspended regulations and requirements that would otherwise govern outdoor dining, including zoning regulations, fees, and permitting procedures.

    • The Mayor’s Office of Business and Economic Development is working with City Departments (City Planning, Building & Safety, Disability, Fire, Transportation, and the Bureau of Engineering) to streamline and facilitate the adoption of a permanent Al Fresco Program alongside City Council. The Office is working on facilitating transition for businesses with existing temporary authorization, limiting the cost of participating in the program where possible, and ensuring the program can be adopted with guidelines that are respectful of neighboring residents.

  • COVID Recovery and Commercial Rent Support: The City launched the third round of the Small Business Rental Assistance Grant Program to offer grants up to $15,000 to help in their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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