News Startups

Does Your City Let You Startup In A Day

Do you listen to business radio programs on Sirius XM? Have you heard the ad encouraging people to get incorporated, one of the biggest hurdles is that people believe incorporating takes a long time. In some cases that’s true, and others it’s not.

No matter the case, President Barrack Obama, The White House and the US Small Business Administration want to make sure that things like incorporating aren’t putting entrepreneurs through unnecessary hurdles and holding up innovation and ultimately commerce and employment.

Last Wednesday The White House and the US Small Business Administration launched the “Startup In A Day” initiative and prize competition.

The Startup In A Day initiative is spearheaded by 11 cities who’ve made it possible to handle the legal parts of incorporation and getting started in less than one day. The US Small Business Administration called the initiative “a partnership with U.S. cities to develop online tools that let entrepreneurs discover and apply—in less than a day—for local, state, and federal requirements needed to start a business.”

“I’m calling on city halls across the country to join the initial eleven mayors in a simple but powerful pledge to entrepreneurs and small business owners: If you want to start a business, we’ll make it so easy to navigate the license and permitting system online, that you’ll be off and running within 24 hours,” said President Obama.

As any entrepreneur or small business owner knows, starting or expanding a business often entails dealing with considerable red tape, from setting up a legal business structure, to understanding zoning laws and licensing requirements, to acquiring various permits. Research suggests that small business owners are potentially more frustrated by mundane red tape than by other obstacles.

The good news is that fairly simple and affordable technological solutions exist to digitize, consolidate, and condense into a matter of hours the licensing and permitting requirements that can otherwise take days or weeks of an entrepreneur’s time—time more productively spent on developing goods and services, finding customers, and growing the business.

To encourage adoption of these technological solutions, the Administration yesterday announced a package of federal, local, and nonprofit commitments that ensure American small business owners spend less time navigating red tape—and more time creating jobs.

  • Startup in a Day Pledge: The President launched a national call to action encouraging local leaders around the country to sign onto the Startup in a Day pledge, which has already been adopted by a eleven pioneering mayors.
  • Executive Actions: The Small Business Administration will announce a $1.5 million competition for seed grants to cities committed to building Startup in a Day solutions. The SBA will also work with other agencies to develop improved online solutions addressing the relatively few federal requirements that small businesses typically need to navigate when starting up.
  • New Federal-Municipal Partnership: The National League of Cities, which represents thousands of municipal leaders around the country, is establishing a Startup in a Day partnership with SBA to support and coordinate this effort.

A National Call to Action in Support of Startups and Small Businesses

The President issued a national call-to-action to America’s mayors to each develop a local online permitting and licensing tool, following the lead of pioneering cities including Boston, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and Kansas City, among others that have taken meaningful steps in this direction.

These solutions typically take the form of a city-based website that asks entrepreneurs about their proposed business, generates a customized menu of regulatory requirements, and lets them apply for all permits and manage the application process from a single interface.

The Startup in a Day pledge:

Our cities and communities are committed to making it easier for every entrepreneur to start a business. We believe an entrepreneur’s time is best spent developing innovative products and services, creating jobs, and growing local economies—not navigating red tape. While fair zoning rules, licenses, and permits are important to ensuring public safety and fair competition, it shouldn’t take more than a day for entrepreneurs to identify and begin to apply, ideally through a single online tool, for the licenses and permits they need to responsibly launch a business. Accordingly, we resolve to:

  1. Create a “Startup in a Day” online tool within 12 months: We will develop within a year a website or application that lets most entrepreneurs identify and begin to apply within one day for all requirements to launch a business in our respective communities.
  2. Develop a streamlined, business-friendly, online permitting system: Our pledge is a first step in a larger effort to streamline, simplify, and bring online those regulatory requirements that have traditionally been fragmented across multiple agencies and handled through a paper-based process. Our ultimate goal is for small business owners to be able to manage and complete most of their regulatory obligations within a single easy-to-use online system.
  3. Share best practices: In an effort to encourage other municipalities to join us in this effort, we are joining a community of practice administered by the National League of Cities, and commit to sharing best practices, publicizing key learnings, highlighting tangible outcomes, supporting smart regulatory simplification, and providing visibility into our actions.

These are the initial 11 flagship cities:

  1. Boston, MA
  2. Chattanooga, TN
  3. Denver, CO
  4. Fresno, CA
  5. Kansas City, MO
  6. Nashville, TN
  7. San Francisco, CA
  8. St. Petersburg, FL
  9. Salt Lake City, UT
  10. Seattle, WA
  11. Washington, DC