The City of Long Beach, today, received the distinguished award for Innovative Use of Technology at the 2017 American Planning Association (APA) Los Angeles Section Awards Gala. The honor was bestowed upon the City for its forward-thinking business portal, BizPort.
“BizPort was designed and conceived from the ground up by local entrepreneurs to gain support and resources they need,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “Small businesses are crucial to our community, and BizPort makes the process of starting and running a business much easier in Long Beach.”
BizPort clarifies, simplifies, and connects startup resources for entrepreneurs. It can match a business with financing and other resources, and speed up the license renewal process. BizPort also offers a live chat feature that connects business owners with the appropriate City staff, and provides a checklist to ensure entrepreneurs understand the necessary components to starting a business.
The City of Long Beach has developed strategies to reduce the time it takes for an entrepreneur to open a business. From 2015 to 2016, the median number of days for a business to obtain a business license dropped from 28 to 14. The release of BizPort was integral to this success. BizPort also includes a translation feature to ensure language is not a barrier for entrepreneurs.
“Opening a business for the first time can be costly and confusing,” said John Keisler, Director of the Department of Economic and Property Development. “We are leveraging technology to simplify the process and make Long Beach the city of opportunity for entrepreneurs.”
To build BizPort, the City was awarded money from the Small Business Administration and the James Irvine Foundation, and partnered with Code For America, a national civic technology non-profit dedicated to making government more accessible to the public.
Currently, BizPort is simplifying the startup process for cities nationwide. A unique feature of BizPort is that it is open source, meaning the code is available online for other cities to implement and improve.
Following Long Beach’s lead, the cities of Syracuse, New York and Minneapolis, Minnesota, are implementing BizPort in their own communities.
This is the fourth consecutive year that Long Beach has been recognized by the APA.
The APA is a professional organization representing the field of city and regional planning in the United States. The Los Angeles section of the APA is one of eight local sections of the APA’s California Chapter, with more than 1,300 members in the Los Angeles area. For more information on this organization, visit: http://apalosangeles.org/
About Economic & Property Development
The mission of the City’s Economic & Property Development Department
is to create economic opportunities for workers, investors, and entrepreneurs. This includes making it easier to start and grow a business, streamline the process for property development, and provide businesses with a skilled workforce. The Department includes Property Development, Business Development, and the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network
. For more information on the Economic & Property Development Department, please visit http://bit.ly/EconPD
or follow us on Twitter @LBEconDev