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Business-Friendly Climate Enhanced by Array of Workshops, City Services

By Maggie Avants

Southwest Riverside County may boast some of the sunniest skies but there is another type of climate brewing: a business-friendly one.

As the effort to build a stronger local economy continues, staff and volunteers with the cities and chambers of Temecula and Murrieta are striving to offer more support than ever for the business community—whether they’ve been in business for years, are just starting out, or are contemplating taking the leap.

For instance, the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce has recently reinvigorated its Education Committee. Its first step was to launch a School of Business, which kicked off in July with a class about navigating the changes that came alongside the California minimum wage increase.

“The program provides education to members on topics pertinent to operating their business efficiently and successfully,” said Pat Romero, Education Committee chair.

According to Romero, the topics of the classes, which run 60-90 minutes long and take place one Tuesday a month at the Chamber offices in Murrieta, were based on a survey of member requests. The committee has enlisted local business experts to lead each class, she said.

Future topics include marketing, social media, IT and human resource issues. Murrieta Chamber members can attend for free. For non-members, there is a $25 fee to attend. Those interested should contact Heather Estrada at 951-677-7916.

And in Temecula, helpful sessions are regularly offered at Temecula Valley Entrepreneur’s Exchange, located in Temecula’s former city hall on Business Park Drive. Described as a business incubator and a resource center for the region, it is where organizations such as IESBDC, TriTech SBDC, SCORE and the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce host an array of classes.

How to use Pinterest, Google Hangouts and Google+ were among the topics addressed in recent workshops.

“We believe the classes hosted here at TVE2…are a benefit to the business community,” said Cheryl Kitzerow, economic development analyst for the City of Temecula. “Classes provide training that can assist with sales, marketing, workforce, and basic business functions.”

The public is welcome to attend any of the events, most of which do require pre-registration.

“It would be great to see more attend the classes,” Kitzerow said.

Aside from the classes, Kitzerow said there is a Temecula city staff waiting and willing to help those wishing to open their own business. In Temecula, the annual business license fee is a flat rate of $36, she said.

“We absolutely value our business community and understand that time is money,” Kitzerow said. “From our permit counter to the Economic Development Department, staff is available to assist a business throughout the process of permitting, construction and beyond.”

Additionally, she said, the City of Temecula offers business liaison services to assist with customized services such as site selection, permitting and development assistance and marketing.

In the City of Murrieta, where annual business license fees start at $75, there is also an Economic Development staff ready to assist.

“Murrieta continually strives to be a very business-friendly city,” said Kimberly Davidson, business development manager for the City of Murrieta. “We provide an ombudsman program where we help businesses of any size through the entire permitting process.”

Davidson, who can be contacted at, went on to say: “Murrieta also offers no-cost marketing help for our businesses and an array of workshops and seminars designed to help anyone from a small business with social marketing issues, to a large manufacturer with exporting needs. Murrieta wants to be the city that says yes!”