Two business-resource centers in San Fernando Valley close after VEDC bankruptcy filing – Daily News

on Jul9
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A pair of business resource centers in the San Fernando Valley have closed their doors, after the nonprofit group that operated them filed for bankruptcy last week, city officials said.

The centers shut their doors July 2, the same day the Sherman Oaks-based Valley Economic Development Center, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 protection, according to Jake Flynn, a spokesman for Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who represents the southwest Valley.

About 20 employees were let go in the aftermath of VEDC’s bankruptcy filing, and are now getting assistance from the Valley Economic Alliance, another group that provides guidance to small businesses in the San Fernando Valley.

The two closed centers offered training workshops, consultations and permitting and licensing help to small businesses in the north and west San Fernando Valley areas.

The North Valley BusinessSource Center in Pacoima, for example, helped put on a regular food-truck event and recently held a seminar on pricing, according to the Facebook page for the resource center. The other resource center serving the West Valley is based in Reseda.

Blumenfield and Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, who represents the northeast Valley, introduced an emergency motion last week to authorize city officials to begin looking for a replacement for VEDC.

The remaining vendors now operating the city’s other business source centers will be asked if they would be willing to fill-in and “absorb the work,” said John Reamer, interim general manager of the city Economic and Workforce Development Department.

“That’s going to be the first attempt to address the need,” he said, adding that the goal is to re-open the resource centers by the end of July.

Reamer said the city is still trying to learn more about what happened after they were “notified informally” by VEDC representatives last Tuesday that the organization was not going to be able to provide their contracted services.

It was unclear what the city’s future relationship with VEDC will be. The group has been operating business source centers for the city since 2011, when the BusinessSource Center program was started. The nonprofit has held a contract with the city since 1996 and its latest contract was set to end June 30, 2020, city officials said.

RELATED: Roberto Barragan left Valley Economic Development Center after 2 decades

“We need to have discussions with (VEDC),” Reamer said. “We have not had formal discussions as of yet. We’re responding to what we’re reading and what we’re hearing. Certainly we want to give them an opportunity to clarify what is happening, and then we will be able to assess where the relationship goes.”

Prior to last Tuesday, the city had nine business resource center sites, three of which were in the San Fernando Valley. The only remaining Valley-based center is in Panorama City and serves the South Valley. That one is operated by the group Initiating Change in Our Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation (ICON CDC), according to the city’s website.

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