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E37: How Harbor BusinessSource Center Is Creating Local Jobs with Derek Kissinger

Amanda talks to Derek Kissinger about the Harbor BusinessSource Center and helping the San Pedro small Business community.

EPISODE DATE: 06/14/2019

By Tracy Bueno

Today’s episode has Amanda talking with Derek Kissinger from the Harbor BusinessSource Center. Derek graduated with a BA in Psychology and Business from the University of Minnesota and went to earn an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He worked as a Business Consultant for MCS BusinessSource Network for three years where he enjoyed helping small business owners realize their growth potential. Then he became the Program Manager for MCS in 2016 and two years later, he was promoted as an Economic Development Program Director. Derek operates two business centers: one in San Pedro known as Harbor-Watts and the other one in Hollywood. Both centers offer free consulting for people who currently own a business or want to start a business in Los Angeles. They help businesses with forming their entities, getting the proper permits, business licenses and access to capital, along with other services. Derek says the focus is helping businesses in need of tools and resources to gain profitability.

How Derek Helps Entrepreneurs At Any Point In the Process

I do a little flow chart showing the entrepreneur, microenterprise, profitability, access to capital and job creation. Hopefully at the end it results in job creation. But they can come to me at any point…the point is to move them to the next...” – Derek Kissinger

Joining today’s episode is Ashley Rios, a guest on Episode 31, who talked about her experience coming to the BusinessSource Center and starting her business, Fit Culture Pilates. She looked at a pilates studio’s Instagram and went to the Chamber of Commerce to ask about more information. They referred her and her business partner, Elise, to the BusinessSource Center to get resources and that was where she met Derek. Ashley talked about how she was looking for a startup loan and how Derek was able to help her out through the process in opening up her fitness studio. Both her and Derek went into the obstacles in developing her business, from finding space to getting a co-signer to ultimately starting her business, Fit Culture Pilates.

How San Pedro Needs To Change

We’re contracted by the City of Los Angeles to operate these two centers. So essentially, they pay us to operate these two centers and we have to come up with a certain amount of jobs created every year and it has to be backed by usually some sort of loan. – Derek Kissinger

The services that the Harbor BusinessSource Center provide are free at no cost. They do their best to tailor their services based on what their business owner needs; however, their main focus is growth through helping a business owner or entrepreneur have access to capital. The ultimate goal is creating long-term jobs that will benefit the community and the economy; between the two BusinessSource Centers, they have funded their clients roughly $11 to $12 million dollars in loans within the past year.


Harbor BusinessSource Center:

Fit Culture Pilates

Fit Culture Pilates Opening Party

June 15

8 a.m. - 12 p.m. 

1426 West 25th Street

San Pedro, CA 90732


Cryptospace US:


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