Finalist cities announced for Most Business-Friendly City Award

LAEDC Announces 2019 Finalists for Most Business-Friendly City in Los Angeles County: 

Winners to be named at Eddy Awards, alongside Honorees Phil Washington, Citi, CSU Dominguez Hills

LOS ANGELES, CA  (SEPTEMBER 11, 2019) – The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) today announced the finalists for its 2019 Most Business-Friendly City in LA County Award. The cities of Bellflower, Gardena, Lancaster, Norwalk, Pasadena, and Rosemead are finalists for the population 50,000 and over category, and the cities of Duarte, La Mirada, Monrovia, San Gabriel, and Santa Fe Springs are finalists in the population under 50,000 category.  A winner from each category will be announced live at the 24th Annual Eddy Awards®, Thursday, November 7th, at JW Marriot at LA Live.

Business-friendly programs and services are a critical factor in job-creation.  The finalists were selected through independent review by a panel of blue ribbon judges, based on the following criteria:

o Demonstrated priority commitment to economic development and quality jobs

o Excellence in programs and services designed to facilitate business entry, expansion, and retention

o Competitive business tax rates and fee structures

o Availability of economic incentives

o Effective communication with and about business clients

CITIES with POPULATIONS of 50,000 and OVER  


Historically known as a bedroom community, Bellflower is developing a reputation as the “place to be.” The city has introduced over 130 new housing units and creative developments that are renewing interest in Bellflower’s business community. Using almost every tool in the toolbox, staff have successfully worked with developers to invest in Bellflower. From two Choice Hotels to a Mixed-Use Transit Oriented Development featuring a Laemmle Theatre, the city works closely with developers and businesses to make their projects a reality. Its efforts have produced projects that are complete or well underway, such as SteelCraft, Dunkin’, ln-N-Out, and The Exchange.


Gardena, a growing city located in the South Bay trade region of LA, offers exciting new opportunities for business relocations and new development. Gardena is centrally located and holds the keys to the freeway system. The city takes a pro-business approach to real estate development always challenging itself to solve for “yes”. Gardena’s foundation was built on the strength of its business industry and continues to thrive under the current leadership. Gardena’s excellent location, diverse and strong business community, and supportive government make it a very business-friendly city in LA County.


Twice before named LA County’s Most Business-Friendly City, Lancaster has long enjoyed a reputation of being supportive of smart commercial, industrial and residential development. While some municipalities see their role as a regulator, Lancaster views itself as a facilitator, always looking for ways to say yes to good ideas. The City Council and staff are committed to helping businesses become successful and stay viable. Whether businesses are looking to relocate in Lancaster, expand operations in the city, or simply keep the business healthy and vibrant, Lancaster stands ready to help businesses succeed.


Since adoption of the Economic Development Plan in 2015, the city’s goal is to be the most business-friendly city in LA County. The city provides its residents with a Social Services Department, Child Care Services, a robust Public Safety Department and other services not normally provided in a Contract City. In order to maintain economic viability, city officials have worked collaboratively with the business community to retain businesses and employment opportunities. The city works to create strong relationships with its businesses to let them know that they have the backing of all the city’s leaders.


The City of Pasadena is a thriving community located at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains. Pasadena boasts a quality of life that is recognized nationally and is home to some of the most successful technology, finance, and engineering companies in the world. With a highly educated workforce that enjoys a dynamic range of amenities and support services, Pasadena offers everything businesses and their employees want in a location. With a history of successful commerce in the community, Pasadena municipal government is dedicated to the continued support of a fertile environment that encourages new business and innovation.


The City of Rosemead works diligently to maintain its business-friendly atmosphere, working closely and value our business community. The city provides a one-day turnaround for business licenses, conducts over the counter plan checks, engages with the community, recognizes and awards businesses for their contribution to the city, and attracts and retains a dynamic range of businesses. The City of Rosemead exists to serve and is a very business-friendly city in LA County.




In Duarte, the city’s team is focused on providing top notch customer service.  Being a small city, its staff understands the necessity to be proactive in its approach to attracting and retaining business and the need to make its development process efficient.  The city takes pride in the exceptional customer service that is provided and in its transparent and straightforward approach to everything that it does.  Duarte’s desire is that its residents, businesses and those in the development process will benefit from every contact with the city team.


The business community has served an important role in establishing the City of La Mirada’s quality environment. Industrial and commercial centers provide the city with a diversified economic base that has remained resilient over the city’s 60 years. This strong economic base has provided important jobs, enhanced commerce, and allowed the city to provide quality programs and services necessary for creating a desirable community in which to work and reside.


Monrovia, a dynamic community blending small town charm with big city amenities, and home to nearly 40,000 active and engaged residents, is also a world class place to do business. In Monrovia, every business is valued as a partner in serving the people of Monrovia to create a community that offers a premiere quality of life. The city’s partnership with businesses starts at the onset of the businesses’ establishment and lasts long after the business has opened its doors. Monrovia invites all to experience all that the city has to offer and be a part of its thriving community.


The City of San Gabriel has seen a steady growth in jobs and small business development, especially in the retail, food, and hospitality industries due to its business-friendly philosophy. Year-round global tourism, entrepreneurial excellence and a culturally rich community support San Gabriel’s stable economy. San Gabriel’s innovative spirit has propelled the city to the next level as a desirable community in which to live and invest. With multiple development projects ranging from a new boutique hotel to several mixed-used projects, San Gabriel fosters a business climate where companies can grow, prosper, and thrive.  The city invites all to come and explore San Gabriel.


Santa Fe Springs is ready for business. The city is strategically located with access to major seaports, airports, and transportation corridors. Over 60% of the city is zoned for retail, office, and industrial uses. Santa Fe Springs has low property taxes and permit fees. The city’s friendly, accommodating staff takes a common sense approach to development and finds a pathway to “yes.” The city actively supports local businesses, social services, and the arts. The excellent location, thriving business community, and supportive government make Santa Fe Springs a very business-friendly city in Los Angeles County.


At the 2018 Eddy Awards, the City of Azusa and the City of Whittier were recognized as the Most Business-Friendly Cities.


In addition to the live announcement of the Most Business-Friendly Cities in L.A. County, the Eddy Awards gala will also celebrate individual, corporate and education honorees.  Please meet our honorees in person and celebrate their recognition at the 2019 Eddy Awards.

Phillip A. Washington is the CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro), where he manages a $6.6 billion budget and $15+ billion in capital projects, while overseeing 11,000 employees and 1.2 million passengers daily.  Washington’s integrity, leadership skills and advocacy continue to be crucial to Los Angeles at a time when voters have placed so much faith – and investment — in a better transportation network, an increasing area of importance to all Angelenos. Washington was a key voice of support for Measure M, which will further improve transit while creating jobs.

Washington’s values are informed by his experiences growing up on the far south side of Chicago, in a transit-deprived community known for its pollution, and raised by a single mother along with his five sisters.  He believes in the importance of transportation to support and build communities and families, equitable access to well-paying jobs and workforce development, the importance of reducing pollution, the importance of creating opportunity for women and listening to their voices as policy and transit are developed.  In fact, it’s clear that he approaches almost all decisions through the lens of equity and family. Washington’s work with at-risk youth such as foster kids and the career pathways he helps create for them is inspiring.  Perhaps to a person whose most treasured recognition came when his mom told him he was a good man, he might prefer the 2019 Eddy Award go to his employees, but at LAEDC we can’t think of a more deserving individual honoree.

Citi sets itself apart through its sense of purpose, commitment and responsive engagement with the Los Angeles community, which earns them recognition as the 2019 Eddy Award Corporate Honoree. As the leading global bank, Citi invests in an enduring and impressive set of scalable public-private partnerships that continue to strengthen businesses, individuals and the regional economy. Without capital, small business struggles and job creation lags, but through initiatives like One LA’s Regional Procurement Program and the City Accelerator Program, Citi and the Citi Foundation are supporting strategies to increase the diversity of municipal vendors and contracts and direct more spend to local minority-owned businesses. As the nation’s number one affordable housing lender, Citi has played a critical role in expanding access to housing across Southern California. Citi financed the creation of nearly 500 affordable housing units in Los Angeles County in 2018, and continues to invest in multisector efforts to expand and accelerate the production of inclusive housing for diverse populations, such as seniors and military veterans. Citi is also working collaboratively with municipal partners to boost financial resilience for Los Angeles residents through its catalytic support for the Center for Financial Empowerment, Free Tax Prep Los Angeles, and financial empowerment programs that serve the elderly, immigrants and survivors of domestic violence.

California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) has empowered more than 100,000 alumni to pursue rewarding careers as doctors, scientists, engineers, educators, and entrepreneurs with over 65 percent living and working within 25 miles of the campus.

A national model of excellence as an urban university and laboratory for student success, CSUDH has a culturally and economically diverse student body that serves residents of the South Bay and the greater Los Angeles region.  With a history of developing economic and academic equality for disadvantaged students, CSUDH has emerged as a national leader in matriculating minority science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educators. CSUDH was ranked 4th in California, and 18th nationally in the Overall Mobility Index of 2017, and was ranked 8th in the online college category for student economic mobility in 2018. The university is widely recognized for its programs in orthotics/prosthetics, nursing, STEM degrees, and education.

With five mobile fabrication laboratories that CSUDH rolls into the neighborhoods to serve K-12 students, the university cultivates a love of learning by providing the tools and technology to build STEM skills for young students, while enabling them to experience cutting-edge science and gain the confidence to pursue a higher degree. CSUDH’s innovative teaching methods and technologies captured the attention of President Barak Obama, who honored the university with the Service Learning Award in 2016 in recognition of its volunteer work with nonprofits, schools, and community service programs.

In 2018 Money Magazine named CSUDH the 28th “Best Public College” and the 45th “Best College for Your Money” in the nation. With construction underway on a new Science and Innovation Building, Innovation and Instruction Building, and student housing, CSUDH continues and builds on its legacy.

About the Eddy Awards®

The Eddy Awards were introduced by LAEDC in 1996 to celebrate exceptional contributions to economic development in the L.A. region, consistent with LAEDC’s focus on advancing opportunity and prosperity for all. The Eddy Awards gala dinner, where our region’s leaders come together, includes California’s only “business-friendly city” award, highlighting programs and services that foster job-creation. This is LAEDC’s only fundraiser, and an opportunity for civic-minded organizations to support our public-benefit mission.  For sponsorship or tickets, contact Rick Moelis at 213-236-4812 [email protected]


Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) is collectively advancing opportunity and prosperity for all. This is achieved via collaborative economic development leadership, objective economic research and analysis, strategic assistance to business, education and government partners, and targeted public policy. LAEDC was established in 1981 as a private, non-profit, public benefit corporation.

Media contact: Lawren Markle, Director of Public Relations, [email protected], 213-236-4847

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