LOS ANGELES, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced on Monday that six newly improved BusinessSource Centers are reopening across Los Angeles. The BusinessSource Centers are part of the Mayor’s strategy to create a healthy environment for job creation in Los Angeles.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy,” said Mayor Villaraigosa at the East Los Angeles BusinessSource Center. “We are reopening the BusinessSource Centers to give entrepreneurs the tools they need to create jobs and grow their businesses.”

The LA BusinessSource program is part of the Mayor’s Office of Small Business’ effort to expand support for key job creators in LA. The city is home to 325,000 small businesses making LA the largest small business community in the country.

The six new centers replace the LA Business Assistance Program which served the city for 11 years. In 2010, the Mayor’s Office of Small Business and the Community Development Department realized that the LA Business Assistance Program was in need of improvement. The two offices worked together to find a new system that includes performance metrics to more efficiently track the success of the program as a whole.

“The Los Angeles BusinessSource Center provides the kind of real-world expertise, training and support that businesses need in these challenging economic times,” said Councilmember José Huizar. “Along with the nearly $2 billion in public investment that Boyle Heights has seen in recent years, the new LABSC office, operated by Barrio Planners, is a much-needed asset that will truly benefit this community.”

For the first time, the revamped LA BusinessSource centers will offer the same synchronized and streamlined services by full-time staff throughout the city. They will focus on reducing bureaucratic red tape so businesses can create jobs faster. Project managers will help businesses navigate City services including permitting and contracting processes.

Annette Lopez, who runs the Porter Junction Café, was able to open after taking training courses at the East LA BusinessSource. The Center helped her get financing, assisted with application and requirements of LA County Environmental Health Department, helped with an application to the City for the painting of a curb designating temporary parking zone, and helped develop marketing strategies.

“We’ve been a staple in the community for decades,” said Sandra Berg of Pacific Resource Recovery. “The LA BusinessSource Center enabled us to keep our business going by helping us get a successful and speedy application for a state permit.”

Open since 1929, Pacific Resource Recovery needed a renewal for their hazardous waste permit, a permit necessary for them to continue recycling. The business was provided assistance to receive their permit renewal by organizing presentations with key stakeholders and community organizations and testifying before state officials about the value and safety of the facility. The center also worked closely with the company’s director of human resources to recruit employees.

With the City’s new Local Preference Ordinance, passed in 2011, LA’s small companies now have an even greater opportunity to expand their business and create jobs by working with the City of LA. The center staff will help businesses leverage the local preference ordinance.

The Office of Small Business is an integral part of the Mayor’s five point plan to create jobs in LA by reducing red tape. The five points are: (1) reforming its business tax; (2) reducing red tape; (3) partnering for economic growth; (4) modernizing LAX and improving the Port of Los Angeles; and (5) building a 21st century transportation network.

All six LA BusinessSource Centers offer new services and cohesive goals, including:

• Specific job creation and job retention outcome goals
• Ability to assist businesses in navigating City services such as:permits; regulations; certifications (MBE/WBS/SBE/LBE); utilities
• Federal, State and Local procurement assistance
• Deliver a uniform level of service to all small businesses
• Monitoring and evaluation system
• Capacity to provide access to capital
• Contractual linkage with LA WorkSource system for Human Resources assistance and training needs
• Menu of specific and consistent business services such as:entrepreneurial training and workshops; city procurement information;
marketing; financial management
• One-on-one business consulting by professional consultants
• Marketing of federal, state and local business incentives
• Business Assistance Virtual Network (BAVN) registration and benefits

The centers are operated by different organizations but all serve under the umbrella of the Community Development Department and the Mayor’s Office of Small Business. The six locations and their operators are:

• North Valley Business Source Center run by the (VEDC) Valley Economic Development Center
• South Valley run by Initiating Change in Our Neighborhoods (ICON)
• Central / West BusinessSource Center run by (PACE) Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment.
• South Los Angeles BusinessSource Center run by (VSEDC) Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation
• Harbor BusinessSource Center run by Managed Career Solutions, Inc (MCS)
• East Los Angeles run by Barrio Planners Incorporated.