LABC Initiative to Create Digital Marketplace Advances

Oct 22, 2019

A Los Angeles City Council committee today approved a series of recommendations that pave the way for the creation of a free, transparent, and open supply chain inclusion program. The City’s recommendations are based off the Los Angeles Business Council Institute’s (LABCi) Compete4LA feasibility study, initiated in 2017, which identified best practices for connecting local underserved businesses in Los Angeles with public and private sector supply chain opportunities arising from major sports and entertainment events coming to Los Angeles over the next decade.

A broad coalition of supporters, including AEG, the Los Angeles Rams, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission, Hathaway Dinwiddie Co., the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Women Business Organizations (NAWBO LA) have rallied behind the Compete4LA program, urging the City Council to pass the motion. The coalition has formed critical partnerships over the past year to put the program on the road to success.

The Compete4LA proposal combines a digital marketplace with a community engagement effort dedicated to creating opportunities for small and diverse businesses that have not benefited in the past when Los Angeles has hosted national and international events. The supply chain inclusion program is modeled after the success of CompeteFor, an innovative system built for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Championed by the Los Angeles Business Council Institute, the goal is to launch the platform in time for the arrival of the Super Bowl (2022), World Cup (2026), the Grammys (2019-22), and the College Football Playoff National Championship Game (2023), among other major events coming to L.A.

“These incredible events, like the Superbowl, the Grammys and golf’s U.S. Open are expected to generate $1.5 billion in investment that will flow into Los Angeles over the next decade. With today’s vote, the City is creating real opportunities for local businesses to compete for opportunities to be part of these events and help make them even more successful. And by competing, winning and participating, local business owners will be able to invest in growth, which will promote even greater opportunities within our region,” said LABC President Mary Leslie. “The LABCi is proud to announce a collaboration with the U.S. Small Business Administration Los Angeles District to create a pipeline of small and diverse businesses eligible for procurement opportunities and provide financial and technical assistance.”

The opportunities for small and diverse business participation are significant, according to a USC study commissioned by LABCi and released today. The study, Los Angeles as a Host City: Identifying Investment-Ready Neighborhoods for Equitable and Inclusive Procurement, identifies and engages investment ready neighborhoods able to compete for new supply chain opportunities. The research, conducted by USC Dornsife School’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE), mapped three tiers of investment-ready neighborhoods across Los Angeles County, overlaying job rich census tracts to identify areas with the greatest number of small business job opportunities.

The analysis identified communities in northern L.A. County, including Santa Clarita, as high-opportunity, though not high-need, neighborhoods. Central, eastern and southern portions of the county, encompassing approximately 2.9 million people, were considered neighborhoods in high need of investment with high opportunities. The third tier, “Equity Ready” neighborhoods, were identified as areas suffering from historic neglect and in need of additional investment by government, philanthropic and financial organizations. These neighborhoods included South Los Angeles, portions of the central and eastern parts of the county, as well as North L.A. County near Lancaster and Palmdale.

The study’s authors conclude there are approximately 50,000 businesses in investment-ready neighborhoods across the county in eight key industries, including construction, retail, food services and manufacturing, representing an estimated 424,000 workers. The vast majority (92%) of these businesses have fewer than 20 employees and less than $1 million in annual sales volume.

“As Los Angeles prepares to host some of the biggest sporting and entertainment events in the world, we recognize the need to provide a comprehensive program that will create a more equitable business environment in L.A.,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian. “A regional procurement platform like Compete4LA provides that opportunity, along with a clear plan for implementation and outreach to small business owners that will not only remove barriers to accessing new contracting opportunities for small and diverse businesses, but also result in economic growth in underserved communities.”

Compete4LA will streamline the current supply chain participation process by creating a single, regional clearinghouse of available contracting opportunities in both the public and private sector, along with a robust database of small, minority-owned, women-owned and disadvantaged suppliers.

“As we enter next the decade, Los Angeles will once again play center stage to the sporting universe, raising the curtain on the biggest global events,” said Bob Graziano, Board Chair of the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission. “During this period, Los Angeles will benefit from an unprecedented amount of public and private investment. We need to ensure that the positive impact reaches everyone – especially small, minority and women-owned businesses.”

“We are happy to support the Compete4LA program because we realize the need for buyers to be connected to trusted local suppliers,” said Scott Bosarge, senior vice president of business services at AEG. “This initiative will provide greater operational efficiency to quickly access an expanded database of qualified small and diverse-owned business enterprises previously excluded from the marketplace, significantly enhancing the everyday business process in Los Angeles.”

In approving the recommendations, the Los Angeles City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Job Creation, chaired by Councilmember Krekorian, has initiated the City to work with private sector experts on developing and releasing a Request for Information for proposals to develop a regional supply chain inclusion program modeled after Compete4LA, as well as recommendations to establish a 501(c)(4).

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