L.A. city officials on Wednesday took several steps to help small businesses and manufacturers.
City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell introduced a series of measures to make it easier for small businesses to navigate City Hall. Mayor Eric Garcetti also took the wraps off a program to help manufacturers network and access government incentives.
O’Farrell’s measures, unveiled at a morning news conference at a mini-mall in Silver Lake, are aimed at assisting small business owners in dealing with numerous city agencies when seeking to open or expand their businesses.
“We need to change the culture of indifference at City Hall and enact policy that serves our small business community,” he said. “The city has a reputation of being hostile to neighborhood serving businesses, and I want this initiative to change that perception of City Hall.”
Specifically, O’Farrell’s motions direct city staff to examine adjusting permit fees to make them more equitable for small businesses, creating an expedited process for “good operators” to renew conditional use permits. The motion will modify code requirements that hinder certain types of businesses from opening and ensures case management services at city agencies are available to small businesses. It also designates employees at key agencies to act as liaisons to small business owners.
Garcetti, meanwhile, announced the launch of a program to help manufacturers network called “Make it in L.A.” The initiative is comprised of several organizations that can offer expert guidance to local manufacturing startups. Its goal is to connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need to turn creative ideas into thriving businesses that create good-paying jobs.
“Sometimes, the next big idea is just one nudge away from entering the marketplace, redefining an industry, and changing millions of lives,” Garcetti said. “Make it in L.A. will empower manufacturers and entrepreneurs, and help channel our city’s creative energy into a sector that is the backbone of our economy.”
The initiative launches this week with a series of events, each focusing on a different industry within the manufacturing sector. The coming weeks will see an online regional event calendar, a guide to government incentives, and a podcast profiling manufacturing entrepreneurs. That will be followed by a series of conversations that bring business leaders together with government officials to discuss industry challenges and opportunities, technical assistance and training, and events where manufacturing entrepreneurs can connect with customers, suppliers, and capital.
Public policy and energy reporter Howard Fine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.