The City's Business Incubation Program is intended to encourage the growth and development of local small business entrepreneurs. Since 2016, the businesses from the incubator have created 112 full-time jobs.
Revolving Loan Fund
The Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) is a program to assist commercial and industrial growth by providing gap financing to businesses that create or retain jobs.
Micro-Enterprise Loans provide business loans in the amount of $500 to $5,000 to persons owning micro businesses in the City of El Centro and meet low moderate income requirements.
Film Production in El Centro
Filming in Imperial Valley has been alive and well for over 70 years. The City of El Centro and the Imperial County Film Commission work in tandem to encourage filming by the motion picture and television production industry, student filmmakers and the commercial still photography industry.
Imperial Valley Foreign Trade Zone
The City of El Centro is located in the Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ 257). The FTZ provides a tremendous opportunity to assist businesses with the importation, manufacturing, distribution, and exportation of domestic and imported goods. The FTZ Program offers financial and logistical advantages for all types of companies (small-medium-large). The most popular benefits are detailed below.
1. Duty Deferral – Duties are only paid when imported merchandise is entered into the U.S. Customs territory.
2. Duty Elimination – There are no duties paid on merchandise that is exported from a FTZ, transferred to another zone or destroyed. This eliminates the need to manage costly and time-consuming Duty Drawback programs.
3. Weekly Entry – Customs allow for a weekly entry processing, which benefits importers because the Merchandise Processing Fees are capped at $485 on a weekly basis, versus per shipment basis.
4. HMF Deferral – Harbor Maintenance Fee is paid quarterly and in a single payment.
5. Enhanced Security – By using a FTZ, the “internal controls” requirements of section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are met. Participants in the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program are eligible for additional benefits provided by Customs.
6. Expedited Logistics – relocating Customs House Brokers (CHB) services to your facility and expedites the delivery to your facility without customs clearance. Potential savings is up to two days.
7. Ease of Paperwork – through automation of the FTZ, the paperwork submitted for receiving and the weekly entry program is greatly diminished with all parties and the processes for approval are expedited dramatically.
8. Manipulation – all manipulations are authorized and completed without physical Customs supervision. Goods are allowed to enter an FTZ and have the following manipulations: clean, repair, fix, improve in value, amend, exhibit, pick & pack, and many other functions.
For more information about the FTZ Program and a FREE Cost / Benefit Analysis please contact Adriana Nava at (760) 337-4543 or the IVFTZ.org at any time.
Foreign Trade Zone Website Links:
The City of El Centro, covering 11.019 square miles, is the largest city in Imperial County. El Centro is located 616 miles southwest of San Francisco, 117 miles east of San Diego, and 245 miles west of Phoenix. El Centro is accessible via Interstate 8, State Highway 86, and State Highway 111.
El Centro is the county seat and principal trading center of Imperial County. It is strategically located in the Imperial economic base. Several state and federal government offices are located in El Centro, such as the Bureau of Land Management, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Border Patrol headquarters, the Social Security Administration, the Employment Development Department, and the Department of Agriculture.
IMAGINE Business Recognition
Annually, the City of El Centro solicits public nominations for outstanding businesses for the IMAGINE Business Recognition Awards Program and recognizes seven businesses for their business acumen, talent and expertise.
Local Vendor Preference Program
The purpose of this division is to establish a local business vendor preference program to encourage the purchase of supplies, services, materials, and equipment from vendors located within the boundaries of the County of Imperial in order to enhance diversity and increase competition. This local vendor preference program consists of providing a 10% bid discount for all eligible local business enterprises bidding for contracts to provide goods and services to the City.
This Project is intended to assess and evaluate the present use of the downtown area and combine historic preservation with economic development and restore prosperity and vitality to the downtown business district. Project PEACE and the WOW Program were incorporated into the Project SHAPE downtown revitalization efforts.
Project SHAPE Final Plan (October 2007) - 5 MB (PDF)