Small Businesses Get A Boost

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Advocates for small business who testified in favor of the motion during the Board’s Jan. 12, 2016 meeting.

Many local small businesses, as well as those owned by disabled veterans, are about to get a new customer: Los Angeles County.

Acting on a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Chair Hilda Solis, the Board of Supervisors approved the Small Business, Disabled Veteran-Owned Business and Social Enterprise Utilization Plan. Its goal is to ensure that by 2020, at least 25 percent of the County’s procurement contracts are awarded to local small businesses, while 3 percent go to businesses owned by disabled veterans.

Currently, the County spends $3.9 billion on procurement contracts every year.

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Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas listens to a representative of Homeboy Industries testifying in favor of the motion at the Board’s Jan. 12, 2016 meeting

“Supporting small businesses is good business for the County, as these enterprises provide half of all jobs in the region,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.

“Growing small businesses generate more tax revenues for local governments to provide critically needed services,” he added. “Small businesses also offer our youth the entry-level jobs needed to develop essential skills that provide a pathway for moving on to higher paying careers.”

The County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs said it is critical that the County expand its pool of certified businesses from the current level of 1,280 to a level comparable to the State of California, which has a pool of more than 5,000 certified small businesses in the County. Plans are underway for the County to streamline the certification process.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said the plan also includes the County doing its fair share of business with social enterprises that provide training and jobs to disadvantaged members of our community. He added that the County and the community benefit by gainfully employing those who would otherwise be dependent on taxpayer-funded social safety net programs.