Los Angeles is working to strengthen its support for small businesses, particularly those in traditionally underserved neighborhoods, by developing better communications with business owners about available resources. The city’s Office of Finance recruited FUSE Executive Fellow Rafael Bracero to increase the visibility of support services available to small business owners and to help them navigate the complexities of the administrative process.

Rafael developed initiatives to generate customer insights, including a comprehensive customer survey with 5,000 small business respondents. He created a data science application with geocoded and mapped survey results, enabling city officials to target additional resources appropriately. Rafael’s efforts to introduce design thinking led to four rapid prototyping pilots for underserved communities, one focusing on expediting registrations for street food vendors. His recommendations for the city’s Use Tax Rebate program are expected to yield cost savings in two agencies. As a result of these efforts, the administrative process for small businesses is more streamlined and the city is communicating its services to business owners more strategically and effectively.