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L.A. small-business Web portal idea wins top prize in SBA contest

SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet tours the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator’s downtown La Kretz Innovation Campus, which is under construction.

SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet tours the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator’s downtown La Kretz Innovation Campus, which is under construction.

(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles entrepreneurs will soon have a new tool to help them get their businesses off the ground.

As part of a nationwide competition through the U.S. Small Business Administration, the city proposed an open-source Web portal to help streamline the process of applying for permits. On Tuesday, the idea won the top prize of $250,000, which will help L.A. launch the portal within a year, Mayor Eric Garcetti said. The website can be replicated in other cities because the code will be available to all.

“We know how to develop technology, and we know how to share technology,” Garcetti said. “We’re going to do that with America.”

The “Start-up in a Day” competition was intended to help cities simplify the licensing process so that small businesses can complete all the necessary paperwork in one day. The SBA reviewed more than 100 applications and awarded 28 prizes. Long Beach was among the winners, receiving $50,000 for its plan.

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The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator won a $50,000 award in another SBA-sponsored competition geared toward accelerators. The L.A. incubator was one of 80 winners nationwide.

Speaking Tuesday in front of the incubator’s downtown La Kretz Innovation Campus, which is under construction, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet praised the city for its job creation and its growing green tech industry.

“This is where so much innovation is taking place,” Contreras-Sweet said.

The Los Angeles event was an extension of Tuesday’s White House Demo Day, where entrepreneurs from around the country introduced their start-ups in Washington.

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samantha.masunaga@latimes.com

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