The federal government just put $1.6 million into the hands of local governments to streamline the process of starting a business in those communities.
Last week, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced the winners of the Startup In a Day competition at the first-ever White House Demo Day. 25 cities and two Native American communities received prizes of $50,000 through Start Small Model and one city, Los Angeles, won $250,000 as part of the Dream Big Model, which also requires that Los Angeles’ solution be open source and freely available to other cities upon completion.
In a nutshell, the goal of Startup In a Day is 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,” according to the SBA’s website.
Congrats, Code for Anchorage!
Many of the cities selected as winners have active Code for America Brigades that support the city’s application and even committed to supporting the development of the local tool. Anchorage, Alaska is one of the cities selected for a $50,000 grant, and Code for Anchorage played an instrumental role in the City of Anchorage submitting its application.
Brendan Babb, Co-Captain of Code for Anchorage, was a driving force behind rallying government staff to put forth an application for the city and credits them with putting forth a strong proposal.
Babb says supporting Startup in a Day is part of Code for Anchorage’s core mission, “Code for Anchorage has been focusing on making government interactions easier for citizens, from navigating beautiful trails without cell reception, getting election result updates texted to your phone, to providing transit information more easily. We were also getting a new mayor, Ethan Berkowitz, who was interested in open data and civic tech and it seemed like a perfect fit.”
For Brendan, watching his friends start a business this past winter made it clear that something had to change. “I had some friends who were starting a local ice cream business, Wild Scoops, over the winter and they relayed some of the challenges they had with determining what permits they needed, which departments had them, whom to ask clarification questions to, and having to make last minute changes to paper forms. I am hoping Startup in a Day can streamline the permitting process.”
Streamlining this process, Brendan hopes, means more businesses can focus more time on growing their businesses, creating jobs and generating wealth instead of filling out paperwork.
Over the next 12 months, Brendan says Code for Anchorage will be working closely with the City of Anchorage, the Alaska Small Business Development Center, the Alaska Economic Development Corporation and The Boardroom, a local co-working space, on better supporting entrepreneurs.
Startup In a Day Pledge
Including the 28 jurisdictions selected as winners, a total of 71 cities took the Startup In a Day Pledge, which begins, “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.”
Streamlining the ways in which business and government interact is a core goal of our Economic Development Focus Area. Learn more about the Focus Area and sign up to receive news about government technology and economic development here.
Meet Brendan Babb at the Summit
Meet Brendan Babb and follow the economic development track at the 2015 Code for America Summit. Register for Summit today www.codeforamerica.org/summit.