The Tools of the Trades: SCV Offers Numerous Resources for Entrepreneurs

The Santa Clarita Business Incubator will welcome three startups in January. Katharine Lotze/The Signal.
By Perry Smith SCVBJ Editor Santa Clarita understands the importance of innovation, the need for resources and the benefits that come with entrepreneurship, which is why it’s an important part of the city’s strategy. The city’s business strategy is driven by a few basic concepts, said Jason Crawford, the city’s economic development director, and the success comes from a city focus, as well as a number of partnerships that have been created with that focus in mind. “It’s three parts,” he said: “One is to attract businesses up here, and we do a pretty good job of that with the (Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp., or SCVEDC); the other thing is to help the ones who are here stay in business and hopefully, expand, but the third part, entrepreneurship, is really where a lot of exciting things can happen — because you can have a couple of entrepreneurs with a few ideas for a product, and all of a sudden that can grow into a business you have with a product and 100 employees.” While it’s never that easy, as city officials know, creating an environment to facilitate such growth is something the city has experience in, Crawford said, mentioning several local success stories such as WayForward, a Santa Clarita-based software company that’s thrived from its Valencia headquarters. “That’s what we’re trying to imitate with the incubator,” Crawford said, “we’re trying to find those entrepreneurs who have that opportunity and have that potential.”   Santa Clarita Business Incubator Developing that potential comes from a number of places in the Santa Clarita Valley, but a more recent addition to the city’s portfolio has been its business incubator. It’s been one of the city’s answer to a growing question: What help is out there for me if I want to start my own business? “We get that question a lot, actually,” said Denise Covert, an economic development associate for the city of Santa Clarita. In order to help, the city, which opened its business incubator in Newhall back in 2014, is now working with the SCVEDC to create a web portal, as well. “It’ll be an online resource center for entrepreneurs,” she said. Website: The SCVEDC The SCVEDC, as an organization dedicated to attracting, retaining and growing business opportunities for the Santa Clarita Valley, is working with the city on development of the web portal, which is expected to go live in November. The SCVEDC also partners with numerous companies and organizations through public and private partnerships to add resources like seminars, question-and-answer session and the area’s short- and long-term strategy for business attraction, growth and retention. Website:   Small Business Development Center An award-winning resource for SCV residents, the SBDC is also located on College of the Canyons’ Valencia campus. Led by Director Catherine Grooms, the center offers “one-on-one business advising at no cost to our clients,” she said. “We work with individuals, entrepreneurs and business owners who want to start and grow businesses,” Grooms added. “We’re a resource that they can tap into as they work toward having a positive impact for the business community.” In 2016, the center was recognized for helping clients in the Antelope, San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys access $31.6 million in capital, while starting 61 businesses and creating 470 jobs. Website:   Google Startup Grind Outside businesses also now look to Santa Clarita for its entrepreneurial prowess, and in addition to private-public partnerships, operations like Google’s Startup Grind, to support their like-minded neighbors who want to set up their own shops. The Google Startup Grind in Santa Clarita is one of the nation’s most active, said Covert, noting the organization just celebrated its one-year anniversary Sept. 18. Organized and hosted by James McKinney of Status Not Quo, one of the most impressive aspects of the group is how it’s brought local entrepreneurs a chance to hear from successful business owners from around the country.   For more local resources for entrepreneurs:  America’s Job Center of California No physical address 888-226-6300 The Entrepreneurs Organization 500 Montgomery St., Suite 700, Alexandria, VA (global headquarters) 703-519-6700   Google Startup Grind 26336 Citrus St., Valencia, CA 91355 888-767-0767 MakerSpace at College of the Canyons 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91355 661-362-3408   Santa Clarita Business Incubator 22704 9th Street, Santa Clarita, CA 91321 661- 290-2211   Santa Clarita Economic Development Division 23920 Valencia Blvd, No. 100, Santa Clarita, CA 91355 661-255-4347 Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Center 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, No. 263, Santa Clarita, CA 91355 661-288-4400 Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce 28494 Westinghouse Place, No. 114, Santa Clarita, CA 91355 661-702-6977 Small Business Administration Office (Los Angeles District Office) 330 N. Brand Blvd., Suite 1200, Glendale, CA 91203 818-552-3201 Small Business Development Center 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91355 661-362-5900 Steamwork Center 28368 Constellation Road, Suite 360, Santa Clarita, CA 91355 661-505-8597 Steamwork.Center