The Providence “Startup in a Day” initiative, aligned with the SBA initiative, aims to make it easier for entrepreneurs to start a business by reducing the amount of time it takes to register and apply for permits and licenses on the local level. In Providence, we are looking to take this further by creating a more comprehensive online platform that will help entrepreneurs navigate the complicated system of starting a business in a manner that is unique and user-driven to meet their needs.
We have made gains in developing a strategic approach to promoting – and supporting – local business in the City by using existing – and extensive – research completed by our MetroLab partner Brown University in a Business Engagement Initiative. Their Engaged Scholars course connected students and staff with over 50 minority entrepreneurs and business support organizations to obtain feedback on how to best transform licensing and permitting processes within the City. The City has been utilizing this qualitative and quantitative data to tailor its work in digitizing and improving the licensing and permitting experience.
We have also held Engagement Panels and Roundtables to engage with local business owners to identify their challenges and gain meaningful feedback on how we can improve our services.
We have also streamlined our licenses and permit applications to simplify and clarify these forms so that they are easier to comprehend by a diverse community. This was an integral step before digitizing applications. We are currently in the process of getting all of our applications online for completion and payment – allowing business owners autonomy and convenience.
The greater goal is to collaborate with the State in building this platform so that it is transferable and integrates State procedures in order to have the capacity to deploy to other municipalities within Rhode Island. This would show a strong support system for entrepreneurs and help promote business engagement at a larger level.
- Business Engagement Initiative
- Economic Development
Business Engagement Initiative
Since his inauguration, Mayor Elorza has met with stakeholders from business sectors within the City to discuss openly the challenges Providence businesses face and to share his economic vision for the City. The Business Engagement Initiative hopes to continue to lead fruitful discussions to break down barriers businesses experience and help streamline the City’s service delivery.