About the LA Business Portal
About the LA Business Portal

Welcome to Los Angeles

For generations, the world has come to Los Angeles to create the future and in turn has helped build one of the most diverse and forward-thinking cities in history. With instant name recognition around the globe, LA is known as a place where new ideas and fresh-thinking are as much a part of the landscape as our mountains, beaches, and unrivaled weather.

Los Angeles is an ideal place to grow a business, with access to large regional, national, and international markets. LA's world-class infrastructure, extensive human capital, and highly diversified economy and resource network ensure that whatever your business needs to thrive, you can find it here.

The City of Angels has always been a hub of creativity and innovation, and remains at the cutting edge of clean technology, transportation, trade, and media. Congratulations on your decision to start a business in Los Angeles - we look forward to having you!

The LA Business Portal

Launching and running a small business can be daunting. That is why two California cities have taken the lead in the last several years to address the needs of their local business communities and pave the way to innovative, collaborative solutions.

In 2014, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee seized an opportunity to rethink how the City could better support its entrepreneurial culture and small business community. The inaugural San Francisco Business Portal was created by engaging local business owners and the many city agencies that serve them. The Business Portal is a comprehensive one-stop shop that features a wealth of resources aimed at first time or seasoned business owners.

Sixteen months later, Los Angeles approached San Francisco to learn about their approach and suggested a partnership to further build on their award-winning work.

With funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Los Angeles added the app-like “Startup Guide”, which addresses a complex, opaque process that today can take weeks to accomplish, and streamlines it to as little as 20 minutes, in which time a user can obtain a complete roadmap for starting a new business. The resource is meant to serve as a starting point for any government wanting to create an online tool for their own business community.

Los Angeles also rebuilt the code base as a Drupal distribution that could be open-sourced, benefitting cities and their entrepreneurs across the country and around the world. Today, the project is ready to be deployed anywhere, making it easier than ever to strengthen the backbone of our economy – small businesses.

Just like the partnership between San Francisco and Los Angeles, which sets an example for how cities can share resources toward mutually beneficial progress, this open-source solution is meant to serve as a starting resource for any government wanting to create an online tool for their own business community.

“Doing business in Los Angeles should be easy — the last thing entrepreneurs need is confusing red tape that slows them down, or prevents them from achieving their dreams. Small businesses are the beating heart of our economy, and the Los Angeles Business Portal will make City Hall more responsive to their needs by giving them the help and support they deserve, all in one place.”

— Eric Garcetti, City of Los Angeles Mayor

“Collaborating with Los Angeles is only the beginning of what’s possible for cities to learn from each other and deliver modern, sustainable digital products that serve the public.”

— Miguel Gamino, City and County of San Francisco Chief Information Officer

Open Source Collaboration: SF x LA

The San Francisco Business Portal was designed and developed by innovation firm Tomorrow Partners, who began the project with in-depth customer research, which resulted in the experience strategy. Tomorrow’s diverse team of designers, strategists and developers use their cross-disciplinary creative firepower to envision game-changing ideas for positive impact in society and realize them with ingenious, yet, practical solutions.

The L.A. Business Portal was, again, designed by Tomorrow Partners, who also did the front-end development. The Drupal backend and distribution were built by CivicActions, a team of developers and certified project managers who help organizations execute large-scale software projects using open standards technologies and Agile management practices.

The project was led by Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti’s Innovation Team, a team of civic leaders, data scientists, designers and project managers who function as in-house consultants to the Mayor and are funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies to design and implement new solutions for the City of Los Angeles and drive a culture of innovation.


The LA Business Portal is a collaborative effort with many partners, including:

The Mayor's Office of Economic Development: The Mayor's Office of Economic Development is organized to address the needs and opportunities for city-wide economic development, with a focus on core sector initiatives; international trade; building, planning and housing; and small and minority businesses.

The Mayor’s Innovation Team: The Mayor’s Innovation Team is one of fourteen teams funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies to bring additional innovation capacity to Mayor’s Offices across the United States. Innovation Teams act as in-house consultants, developing and implementing projects to bring measurable improvements to important urban challenges.  

The US Small Business Administration’s Start Up In a Day Initiative: The Startup in a Day initiative aims to make it easier for entrepreneurs to start a business by reducing the amount of time it takes to register and apply for permits and licenses on the local level.  

Tomorrow Partners: Tomorrow Partners helps organizations achieve greater impact through design. A diverse team of designers, strategists and developers, they use their cross-disciplinary creative firepower to envision game-changing ideas for positive impact in society and realize them with ingenious, yet, practical solutions.

CivicActions: CivicActions is comprised of world-class designers, developers and certified project managers.  They help agencies and organizations successfully execute large-scale software projects using open standards technologies and Agile management practices.  



Technical Details

The Business Portal distribution was developed in Drupal 7. You can download a compatible version of Drupal at Drupal.org. The project is a Drupal distribution, which allows for rapid installation and setup of basic components of the Portal. Leveraging the distribution as a starting point, and utilizing the flexibility of Drupal’s APIs, provides an opportunity to extend out-of-the-box features and customize them to specific visual and functional needs. Specific features include a fully responsive theme, a resource finder, a Startup Guide wizard, and dynamic functionality for various related types of content. The wizard was built with modern Javascript frameworks and Underscore, which complements the web service APIs exposed by Drupal. The Portal also ships with a component-driven content management system, comprised of various widgets that can be placed on landing pages.

All of the code for the Business Portal has been placed on GitHub for download.  It can be accessed here.


The Business Portal distribution is designed to work with Drupal version 7 and is licensed under Affero General Public License (AGPL) version 3 or later found in the LICENSE file. Drupal is licensed under the GPLv2 or later. The Drupal copyright is held by the Drupal developers. See Drupal.org for more information.

Text content and visual design is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons License Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International. Images and graphics are All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2016 City of Los Angeles

Copyright 2015 City and County of San Francisco