Our monthly roundup of the latest news in economic development filtered through a city-focused lens. Reading something interesting? Share it with @robbins617.
Startup in a Day is a new initiative that calls on cities to reduce the time it takes to start a business by streamlining the permitting process.
Take the Startup in a Day Pledge. This week, the White House, Small Business Administration (SBA), and NLC announced the Startup in a Day initiative. This national call to action challenges cities to cut regulatory red tape and support the growth of local entrepreneurship by developing an online tool that lets business owners discover and apply — in less than a day — for permits and licenses needed to start or expand a business. Learn more here about the pledge and funding opportunities from SBA. This announcement is a timely one, with the Kauffman Foundation recently releasing news that the number of new entrepreneurs is on the rise for the first time in five years. The US Chamber of Commerce Foundation and 1776 also just launched the Innovation that Matters report highlighting strategies for strengthening local entrepreneurial ecosystems. (Spoiler alert: one way is to provide a supportive regulatory environment.)
Fueling entrepreneurship with 1 Million Cups (of Coffee). “Let’s meet for coffee,” is a common invitation that often leads to the exchange of ideas, mentorship, and career advice. The 1 Million Cups program, launched in 2012 by the Kauffman Foundation, brings that concept to an even larger scale by providing entrepreneurs with a weekly platform to present their business plans and receive immediate feedback and advice from industry experts, venture capitalists and fellow business owners. NLC’s Big Ideas for Small Business peer network recently caught up with the Kauffman Foundation and community organizers from the 1 Million Cups programs in Fort Worth, St. Petersburg, and San Antonio. Their advice on how to launch 1 Million Cups in your own city is captured here.
Another city takes action on minimum wage increase for local workforce. It’s looking like Los Angeles will be the latest city, and also the largest, to pass a law that will raise the minimum wage from $9 per hour to $15 per hour by 2020.
Smaller cities are big contenders for job seekers. Glassdoor released a list of the best cities for jobs in 2015. Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, said of the survey results: “A key takeaway for job seekers is that a bigger city doesn’t always mean better when it comes to finding a job, being satisfied in that job, and affording a mortgage.” The key metrics used to rank these cities were availability of job opportunities, cost of living, and job satisfaction. Leading the pack of top cities are Raleigh, Kansas City (Mo.), Oklahoma City, Austin, and Seattle.
Local Jobs Report: City government workforce sees longest stretch of growth since the recession. Local governments nationwide added 15,000 jobs during the month of May, which also marked six consecutive months of job growth for the first time since the start of the recession. If this rate of job growth persists, city workforces will be back to pre-recession levels by 2019, which is two years sooner than the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted in 2013. Local government workforce recovery is contingent on fiscal recovery, as this Governing piece describes, and several revenue-strapped cities may not be able to fully rebuild their local government workforce in the near future.
Should downtown development projects still be subsidized by cities? This insightful piece from Next City explores the history of downtown development in Kansas City over the past decade, and poses an important question. If building downtowns is a profitable investment, should cities still be providing subsidies?
Local businesses in Baltimore receive federal loans to fix damage. Last month we shared that local businesses in Baltimore suffered serious riot-related damage. The Small Business Administration announced these business can now apply for low-interest loans to helpcover the cost of needed repairs.
Idea of the Month: Accepting food stamps at farmers’ markets. Michigan’s Double Up Food Bucks program maximizes the value of food stamps and supports local farms at the same time.
What We’re Reading: This Brookings piece on the maker movement.
For a laugh. Every business has a different way of celebrating hitting their crowdfunding goals. For the owners of Scotland’s Brewdog brewery, this includes dropping taxidermy “fat cats” over London as a show of support for alternative business financing.
About the author: Emily Robbins is the Senior Associate of Finance and Economic Development at NLC. Follow Emily on Twitter: @robbins617.