Not only is an incredible amount of cross-departmental interaction necessary to complete a project like the LA Business Portal, but there was also an intentional focus on the perspective of the business owner. Through the early work that the i-team completed in conducting interviews with business owners, they were able to understand the needs of businesses and scope the Portal to address their gaps and desires. Additionally, several small business owners have been engaged to serve as user testers, providing valuable feedback on the Portal as it is developed to ensure that the look, functionality and language are useful and easy to navigate.
Partners and Collaborators
Supported by the Small Business Associations ‘Start Up in a Day’ prize winings, the creation of the Los Angeles Business Portal was truly a team effort. The i-team worked diligently with Departments across the City and County of Los Angeles to ensure that meaningful information was designed and incorporated and that the Portal was created in a manner that would make it easy to consume and useful. Further, the Portal is an example of the importance of collaboration to avoid constantly “reinventing the wheel.” The i-team achieved this through a collaboration with the City of San Francisco which had developed a business portal 16 months earlier. Through a meaningful San Francisco – Los Angeles collaboration, the SF team shared their learnings and with the City of Los Angeles to leverage. By building upon San Francisco’s work, the LA team was able to move more quickly and use its budget towards creating new innovations instead of recreating work that had already been done and share the innovations back to San Francisco to help them continuously improve their product while maximizing their own budget.
One of the many innovations of the Portal is its development as an Open Source project. As an Open Source project, the Portal has the potential to be a pivotal project for other cities looking to improve their business climate, but without the resources or capacity to build a solution from the ground up. From the Startup Guides, to Starter Kits for popular business types, all of these innovations will have application beyond the city boundaries and will be made available to be adapted and used by other local government entities when it is fully launched in Fall 2016.