As the Los Angeles region prepares to host a wide range of major sports and entertainment events expected to deliver significant economic impact in the coming years, the Los Angeles Business Council (LABC) Institute has spearheaded the launch of an innovative database designed to help government agencies, contractors, and intermediaries identify small, local businesses who can compete for and win a broad mix of LA’s upcoming contracting opportunities.

Developed in collaboration with the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy’s Center for Economic Development, Compete4LA aims to help level the playing field for local businesses seeking to support the region’s major sports, entertainment, and cultural events, as well as major public infrastructure projects. 

The online database will host and maintain over 31,000 publicly accessible, verified business profiles for Los Angeles County businesses, featuring small firms under $1 million in annual sales and fewer than 20 employees, and other refining criteria.

The Compete4LA database was developed with the intent to move small businesses onto the City of Los Angeles’ recently launched regional procurement system, the Regional Alliance Marketplace for Procurement (RAMP), a portal that centralizes both public and private procurement opportunities for the region.

“Too often, small, local and underserved businesses struggle to compete for and win their fair share of contracting opportunities, and we believe that reality is simply unacceptable given the strength and diversity of Los Angeles’ economy,” said LABC Institute President Mary Leslie. “This database is designed to be a powerful outreach tool to engage small businesses and contract suppliers alike, while increasing capital investment in underserved communities throughout the city.”

In February, LABC and the City of Los Angeles launched RAMP, a unique solicitation portal designed to provide businesses with a centralized hub for public- and private-sector contracting opportunities. The platform expects to make available more than $10 billion in procurement opportunities this year.

Compete4LA works in tandem with RAMP by providing a roadmap for intermediaries to identify the resources needed for small businesses to start utilizing and bidding on contracts listed on RAMP.

“Four months ago, the launch of RAMP marked an extraordinary upgrade to our city’s procurement system, simplifying the process for small and disadvantaged businesses to pursue contracts with the city,” said Councilmember Paul Krekorian, who initiated the city’s Comprehensive Jobs Plan, which prioritized procurement reform. “Compete4LA builds on those efforts to connect small, local, minority- and women-owned businesses with the expansive opportunities that major events in LA offer.”

The Compete4LA database is a powerful tool to address underlying equity issues in Los Angeles by connecting public agencies, prime contractors, and intermediaries to small and diverse businesses in neighborhoods that have historically lacked access to capital and opportunities.

The LABC Institute engaged USC’s Equity Research Institute to identify neighborhoods in Los Angeles County with small and underserved businesses seeking contracting opportunities. The methodology emphasizes businesses in disadvantaged neighborhoods where strategies to target small, minority-, and women-owned businesses could both stimulate economic growth and address poverty. Among its other features, the database enables users to sort by various economic indicators.

“Leveling the playing field for local communities means ensuring a wider range of businesses have equal opportunities-have a shot at competing for and winning contracts,” said Manuel Pastor, director of the USC Dornsife Equity Research Institute. “This platform goes a long way toward delivering more equitable access to business opportunities no matter the zip code.”

To access the Compete4LA database, visit compete4la.usc.edu.

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