Bureaucracy, especially at the city level, often represents the largest impediment to entrepreneurs’ ability to develop their ideas into ventures. Cities can empower entrepreneurs by providing tools and resources for entrepreneurs to allow them to more easily understand the policies, regulations and procedures relevant to their ventures.

“The Los Angeles Business Portal will make City Hall more responsive to [entrepreneurs’] needs by giving them the help and support they deserve, all in one place.”

— Eric Garcetti, mayor of LA

The Issue:

Entrepreneurship can be unnecessarily difficult. Navigating the complex, fraught and often frustrating landscape of government regulation around small businesses can be challenging. Regulations may require would-be small business owners and entrepreneurs to shuffle between multiple offices and departments with minimal guidance. As a result, entrepreneurs may either fail to adhere to local regulations or find somewhere else to develop their ideas.

The Solution:

Launched in 2016, the LA Business Portal provides users with a mobile-optimized, web-based business assistance tool that simplifies the process of registering, planning, managing, and growing a business in LA. Contributing to a growing movement within local governments to be user-centered, the LA Innovation Team conducted a number of interviews with business owners to understand and scope the Portal to address business owners’ needs and desires. Once the needs were established, city departments were convened to build the content for the site. To reinforce the user-centric focus, small business owners were engaged to serve as testers, providing valuable feedback on the Portal as it was being developed.

The Impact:

The Portal is meant to serve as a catalyst for improvement on how Los Angeles supports the business community. Since launch, the Portal averages 3,000 users a month and has also been featured in a variety of publications including GovTech, GCN, and CityLab. At the Government Technology conference in Los Angeles, the Portal won the 2016 Outstanding IT Award.

How it applies to your city:

The Portal has been available to be deployed by any city since September 2016. As an open source project, the Portal can be leveraged by cities looking to improve their business friendliness in a lower-cost manner.