Business Friendly States: California in Profile

Business Friendly States: California in Profile

California, situated on the West Coast, is the most highly populated state in the US and the third largest by area. California is a highly desirable place for citizens to live and work and boasts a thriving business community and a highly productive economy. In fact if California was its own country, it would be in the top ten economies in the world.

Some of the Best Cities for Business Growth in California

Several cities in California have received recognition as the "friendliest" cities for businesses to create jobs and thrive. The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) awards the title of The Most Business-Friendly City in Los Angeles County. Cities with a population over 60,000 citizens included Alhambra, Carson, Downey, Torrance, West Covina and Whittier. Finalist cities under 60,000 population included Azusa, Cerritos, Commerce, Duarte, La Mirada and Monrovia. One city in each category is given the Annual Eddy® Award in what has become the most prestigious economic development award program in California.

This Award recognizes the city that proactively promotes business-friendly services and programs. Those cities chosen for consideration have made job creation and economic development top priorities. Supporting vibrant, healthy and prosperous communities means attracting, growing and retaining businesses. It is crucial to quality life for their population and economic vitality.

The LAEDC selected cities based on the criteria listed below:

  • Commitment to supporting economic development
  • Excellent services and programs that facilitate business establishment, expansion and retention
  • Advantageous business fees and tax rates
  • Communication about and with their business clients
  • Three years of positive economic development
  • Economic incentives available to businesses

Every finalist city created business-friendly conditions encouraging new businesses to establish, relocate or expand their companies into their communities.


With a favorable combination of recreational opportunities, housing, employment and business options, Alhambra became a blueprint for sustaining commerce and business growth. Their central business district project, financial assistance within redevelopment areas, negotiated sales, land acquisition, leases with options to purchase, rent subsidies and rebates all brought new business to the city.


Excellent access to a number of multi-modal transportation systems around its industrial center brought Carson to the list. The County's twin ports have continued steady growth in the past. A state-of-the-art sports complex and 120 acres of parks provide a variety of cultural and recreational amenities to locals. Carson has established a vision highlighting economic development as part of the city's General Plan.


Downe has created an excellent climate for business by providing full support services. The pro-business atmosphere has brought Downey a rating in the top 25 percent of the best California cities in which to do business. Within the city's economic redevelopment projects business outreach programs are provided as well as over-the-counter permit processing, simplified business tax renewals, business watch programs, and customer service surveys.


Retail, financial and high-tech businesses have made Torrance a choice location for development due to its skilled professional workforce. Their General Plan for Economic Development has an office that aggressively encourages expedited plan checks, preliminary reviews, a one-stop permit center, its own ombudsman program, field computer units, online status tracking, and flow charts to take owners through the city's processes.

West Covina

West Covina, in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley, has a pro-business climate, and favorable economic demographics. Business-friendly processes include streamlined entitlements, over-the-counter permit approvals, a design review committee, staff to help with applications, and an ombudsman program.


The diverse community of Whittier has a tradition of economic development and making businesses a priority. The city adopted an economic stimulus and business assistance program to aid new businesses to grow and prosper. The plan includes redevelopment project areas, retail recruitment and rewards programs, a foreign trade zone, ombudsman services, permit fee and entitlement subsidies, and permit processing reductions.


Cerritos offers businesses a strategic location in the heart of the Los Angeles/Orange County Metro Area. It provides exceptional services, a solid fiscal position, and traditionally strong leadership. A Cerritos city ombudsman takes businesses through local, regional, state and federal agencies' regulation complexities. The city has fast-track permitting, no or low property taxes, no utility user tax, and a business expansion and retention program.


Commitment to the business community in the City of Commerce is demonstrated through free employment recruitment services from the business development center. Four redevelopment projects provide additional incentives including a recycling market zone, industrial development bonds, business relationship meetings, ombudsman services, and a Commerce Industrial Council. The city offers four regional parks, Metrolink access and a free bus system. No property, gross receipts or utility taxes are imposed by Commerce City on businesses.


Duarte is proud to keep its small town feeling and still provide a business-friendly atmosphere. The city brings cutting-edge development strategies, since it has a population of 23,000 and less than ¾ square miles of land for development.

La Mirada, Monrovia and other cities follow the best practices for attracting and retaining businesses to their cities. The cities foster an environment conducive to the businesses' needs within their communities. In California, the regulatory environment can prove quite burdensome. Cities that reduce these barriers are more effective at attracting outside business investments that drive economic growth.