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State association convening in Santa Clarita

Posted: November 14, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 14, 2012 2:00 a.m.

More than 200 enterprise zone specialists from across the nation are converging in Santa Clarita at the Hyatt Regency Valencia from today through Friday for the annual California Association of Enterprise Zones conference.

The city of Santa Clarita has been vying to host the conference since it was first designated as an enterprise zone in 2007, said Mayor Frank Ferry. He considers landing the conference a boost to their efforts and to the community.

“The city works hard to attract a variety of conferences and events, like the enterprise zone conference, to Santa Clarita because they support local business and provide a positive economic impact through occupancy and sales tax generation,” said Jason Crawford, economic development manager.  

The fact that Santa Clarita can host a statewide conference for the California Association of Enterprise Zones is a “big get” for the city, and provides value for local companies, he said.

More than 280 rooms were booked at the Hyatt as a result. And conference participants are also holding a lunch meeting at Salt Creek Grille and playing golf at the Robinson Ranch Golf Club, a spokesperson with the city said. A-1 Event Rentals is providing furniture and décor for the opening reception at the Hyatt, and SOS Entertainment is also helping stage the event —all local companies.    

“We work with the city and the Hyatt on several events throughout the year and enjoy the collaboration of local businesses and partners coming together to support one another,” said Rob Cruikshank, owner of A-1 Event Rentals. “This effort is a crucial part of keeping local small businesses thriving.”

The California Association of Enterprise Zones hosts the conference, which is an opportunity for enterprise zone staff and supporters to hear from state leaders, attend workshops on best practices, learn tactics to maximize job creation and business retention from peers, and discuss how to improve enterprise zones with advice from experts.  

The city reports that the Santa Clarita Valley Enterprise Zone, which was originally approved in 2007 and expanded in 2011, has helped create more than 1,200 jobs and saved local businesses more than $238 million in state taxes.   

Many of the 400 business owners who currently use the program have shared that they were able to create jobs, invest in their business, and expand operation as a result of enterprise zone benefits, Crawford said.  

“The enterprise zone program is the biggest business incentive right now for our community,” he said.  “We are focused on working with local business organizations and companies to maximize the program’s effectiveness and to educate business leaders about how easy it can be to take advantage of its benefits.”

The California Association of Enterprise Zones conference’s keynote luncheon on Thursday features Olympian Bruce Jenner.

Business owners interested in attending the luncheon may purchase tickets online at or by calling 661-255-4347.


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