Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced on Monday an expanded offering of services at six business assistance centers throughout the city.
The centers now have full-time staff that will help businesses navigate through the city permit system, comply with regulations and access city contract opportunities. The centers will also offer more one-on-one consulting for businesses and more entrepreneurial training and workshops.
“We are re-opening the BusinessSource centers to give entrepreneurs the tools they need to create jobs and grow their businesses,” Villaraigosa said at a ceremony marking the upgraded service offerings at the East Los Angeles center in Boyle Heights.
The business assistance centers first opened in 2000. Besides the East Los Angeles center, there are two in the San Fernando Valley, one in the harbor area, another in South Los Angeles and one serving the Central City area and the Westside.
In 2010, as the city’s small businesses were suffering from the effects of the recession and a credit squeeze, the Mayor’s Office of Small Business and the Community Development Department started looking at ways to improve the service offerings.
The revamp also looked at improving small business access to city contracts in the context of a new local preference ordinance that gives on edge to bids from companies in Los Angeles County.