LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Today, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion authored by Chair Holly J. Mitchell and co-authored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl that launches comprehensive strategies for making the contracting process with the County more accessible for small business and non-profits owned by under-represented populations, including veterans, Black, Ingenious, People of Color, people with disabilities and the LGBTQIA+. The motion establishes a central office for contracting and procurement office that will standardize practices for securing and paying contractors equitably across all County departments. It also directs the Auditor Controller to publicly share data on the percentage of all County contracts that are distributed to small businesses and non-profits.
“When we make contracting with the County more accessible and inclusive, we are ensuring that a wider range of organizations and solutions are available to help meet the needs of our communities. This is about the opportunity for our small businesses and community-based organizations to get an equitable market share of the over $6 billion dollars in contracts that are administered annually to support the County in serving millions of residents,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair, Holly J. Mitchell representing the Second District. “The County is at its best when it is proactively collaborating with local stakeholders, which is why opportunities to work with the County must be accessible to diverse organizations and small businesses that understand and know how to meet the needs of their communities.”
“L.A. County is the largest small business economy in the country with more than 250,000 individual small businesses operating all across the county,” said LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “Historically, most larger businesses, nonprofits, and community-based organizations have greater experience and understanding on how to secure contracts with LA County while smaller businesses, nonprofits, and community-based organizations have had a harder time with access. This motion represents a real commitment to boost our local economy by opening the County door for small businesses, nonprofits, and community-based organizations. They are the vital engines of our local economy, and we want to do our best to help them do business with us!”
This motion actualizes the recommendations garnered over the past year from working groups comprised of small businesses, non-profits, and community stakeholders as part of the Chief Executive Office’s Equity in County Contracting Project Team. It includes solutions like establishing an interest free revolving loan fund for non-profits and a low interest revolving loan fund for small businesses to cover prohibitive start-up costs.
“The Board of Supervisors sought out the insight of non-profits and small businesses of diverse backgrounds and cultural identities that have historically faced barriers to securing County contracts. We’re grateful for the Board’s leadership in helping to make the recommendations of the Equity in County Contracting Project real and for ensuring funding opportunities fairly compensate the services being offered and are more accessible to the small employers within our hardest hit communities. We’ve accomplished a lot as a working group but have some critical work left to do” said Joe St. John, Chief Operating Officer, Koreatown Youth and Community Center.
The motion includes seven priorities for providing a more transparent, streamlined and accessibly process, including a directive for County Counsel to return an ordinance in 90-days that will permanently establish a goal of distributing 25% of eligible contracts to local small businesses.
To read the full motion click here.