How Cities Support Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses


There’s been no shortage of interest and commentary about the importance of entrepreneurs and small business to the nation’s recovery.  Almost daily, economists and policy wonks engage in a seemingly never-ending discussion on what the “right” businesses are to create jobs. And while these conversations have utility and value, they have not produced many actionable strategies for cities where entrepreneurs and small businesses actually exist.  In response, NLC released Supporting Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses: A Tool Kit for Local Leaders.

Almost universally, city leaders understand the value of all shapes and sizes of entrepreneurs and small businesses.  These businesses create jobs, employ local residents, and help define a community’s sense of place. What is often unclear, however, is how city leaders can foster an environment that encourages entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The tool kit profiles efforts in cities of all sizes to support entrepreneurship and small businesses. These efforts range from knowledge focused in Boston’s Innovation District, governance focused in Seattle, Wash., export focused in Wichita, Kan., or regulatory focused in Rockhill, S.C.

The tool kit’s core message is that cities need to look to the things they can actually control. This includes providing a supportive political leadership; channels of communication between business and government; and reasonable, transparent regulations with accessible interfaces.

Additionally, given the shaky track record of some government-led entrepreneurship efforts, as cities strive to provide more sophisticated services to spur entrepreneurship, partnerships with necessary expertise are essential along with sufficient levels of resources and realistic expectations and time-frames.

It is our hope that this new tool kit shines additional light on the role that local government plays in business development and helps city leaders create a more supportive environment for their local entrepreneurs and small businesses.  To download Supporting Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses: A Tool Kit for Local Leaders, click here.

3 comments on “How Cities Support Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses”

  1. This Report/Tool-Kit is very timely and offers some good examples of practical things munis can do to support entrepreneurs and small businesses.

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