LB’s Business-friendly Programs Earns City a Spot Among the Eddy Finalists
2016-09-23 · By Editor
The City of Long Beach is a finalist for the Most Business Friendly City in Los Angeles County, an annual award bestowed by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC). In 2009 Long Beach received the Eddy Award as the Most Business Friendly City in Los Angeles County.
“We are extremely proud of the incentives we provide for start-ups and to help businesses stay and grow in Long Beach,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “Last year alone more than 2,500 new businesses opened in Long Beach, and they are contributing to the City’s strong growth and continued development.”
This is the second time this year that Long Beach has been recognized as one of the most business friendly cities. In June 2016, the business community itself recognized the City of Long Beach as one of the five most business friendly cities in Los Angeles County, according to the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed), an alliance of 150 business groups representing 272,000 companies that employ nearly 3 million people through the County.
The Eddy Awards are the most prestigious awards programs to recognize leadership in economic development in business and government throughout Los Angeles County. The 21st annual awards ceremony is on Thursday, November 10.
Business-friendly programs and services are a critical factor in job-creation. The Eddy Awards finalists were selected through independent review by a panel of blue ribbon judges, based on the following criteria:
- Demonstrated priority commitment to economic development
- Excellence in programs and services designed to facilitate business entry, expansion, and retention
- Competitive business tax rates and fee structures
- Availability of economic incentives
- Effective communication with and about business clients
Here’s what the LAEDC said about Long Beach’s commitment to supporting businesses:
The City of Long Beach has an array of programs to help businesses stay and grow, including: Pacific Gateway, which helps local businesses find, train, and retain qualified employees; the i-team, which spent the last year developing a package of initiatives to make it easier to start and grow a business in the city, and; the Ombudsmen, which serves as a central point of contact to help businesses access City services, and guide them through the permitting process. Numerous incentives that assist small business, manufacturers and other businesses encourage entrepreneurs, and an open business survey process helps the City engage and get feedback in the spirit of optimizing services and processes.
“Our citywide economic development efforts foster and encourage business and job growth, facilitate business relocation and expansion, and increase economic activity, which directly help to maintain the quality and strength of our neighborhoods,” said City Manager Patrick H. West.
Recent business friendly initiatives in Long Beach include:
- BizPort, a digital ombudsman to help entrepreneurs easily navigate the steps to start, manage, and grow a business.
- Online scheduling for residential and commercial property inspections. More than 87,000 inspections are completed annually, and online submissions automate the mapping, scheduling, and tracking process for inspections, increasing efficiency.
- The FY 17 Budget adds three positions in the Economic & Property Development Department.
- An electronic plan submittal/plan check pilot program.
- Online business licenses.
The number of businesses registered in the City’s Online Bidder’s database, PlanetBids, increased by 9.75 percent, to 18,213 registered businesses.
The City was awarded $300,000 by the Knight Foundation for augmenting Harvey Milk Park to make it one of the nation’s first outdoor co-working spaces. This collaborative community project is designed to create a dynamic civic space to connect entrepreneurs with high speed internet, office space, business support services, and with other entrepreneurs.
The City’s Economic Development Commission is developing an Economic Development Blue Print to coordinate economic activity across City departments and sectors to foster investment and development, involving economic opportunity, planning, land use, technology, mobility, energy distribution and use, natural resources, utilities, public safety, among others.
More business friendly initiatives are expected to launch this fall.
The City of Long Beach is committed to helping local businesses meet the challenge of finding, training, and retaining qualified employees. And hundreds of local businesses have worked with Pacific Gateway, the City’s Workforce Development Agency, to reap the benefits of hiring tax credits, recruitment services, and training.
Additional tools include:
- Business Assistance and Workforce Development
- Small Business Development
- Low Cost City Business License Tax Structure
- Financial Assistance
- Business Improvement Districts
- Improved Permitting and Inspection Services
- Administrative Use Permits and Conditional Use Permits
- Downtown Plan
- Business Services Bureau
- Competitively Priced Utilities
- A central point of contact that can help businesses access City services, and guide them through the planning and permitting process.