County Reaffirms its Commitment to Local Small Business Enterprises

(left to right) American Institute of Architects Director Will Wright, LA County DCBA Director Joseph Nicchitta, ISD Director Scott Minnix, Small Business Owner Karim Rawji, Supervisor Hilda Solis, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, GLAAACC President & Second District Small Business Commissioner Angela Gibson-Shaw, Small Business Owner & Second District Small Business Commissioner Gene Hale, Veteran & Small Business Advocate Jack Ochoa, and DCBA Chief Christian Olmos. Photo by Bryan Chan / Board of Supervisors

Local small businesses are poised to get a boost from a new client: Los Angeles County.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion reaffirming their commitment to award 25 percent of the County’s $3.9 billion in eligible annual procurement awards to Local Small Business Enterprises (LBSEs) by 2020. The motion called for developing an implementation plan and strategy to streamline the procurement process.

“LA County has significant potential to influence the composition of businesses that can thrive in this region,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who authored the motion with Supervisor Hilda Solis. “If we are serious about meeting our goal of $1 billion in small business contracts by 2020, it’s time to double down.”

Since the Board first set the 25 percent goal in 2016, the County has more than doubled its contracting with small businesses.  Its Economic Development Report Card showed LSBEs were awarded $355 million in the fiscal year 2017-2018, equating to a 9 percent utilization rate. In just the first half of fiscal year 2018-2019, $321 million has already been awarded to LSBEs, putting the County on track to reach its highest utilization rate.

In a call to action at a recent meeting with 150 small business owners, faith leaders, and community leaders, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas encouraged participants to “show up, lead, and make sure that we have an opportunity to impact meaningful change throughout Los Angeles.”

The Supervisors’ motion instructed the Departments of Consumer and Business Affairs and Internal Services to present an implementation plan to the Board in April. This should include recommendations for pursuing a regional business certification program and marketplace, a modern e-procurement system, and legislative solutions.