After months of interviewing key stakeholders, the City of Boston has developed a strategic plan that aims to strengthen the small business economy. (Here’s a PDF of the 70-page report and strategy.) Created with leadership and input from small business owners along with the assistance of experts in economics, policy, small business incubation and others, the process uncovered many challenges. But the process also evolved into a blueprint for creating an environment that is friendlier and more supportive to the 40,000 small business in Boston. Reviewing what they’ve done could be helpful to other cities, large and small.
“We found there has been no shortage of small business support in Boston…but we can do better by using better data, by implementing new strategies based on the priority needs of small business, and by creating a more sustainable alignment of resources and partners.”
Some of the 20 action-items in Boston’s Small Business Strategy
- Establish a Small Business Center | Designed to improve the navigation of citywide business supports and to serve as an advocate for the city’s small businesses.
- Organize and support the existing ecosystem of business support organizations | The research discovered 250 business support organizations — agencies or non-profits or incubators — that help small businesses, but little formal interaction among them.
- Increase small business capital availability and innovation
- Increase small business real estate availability, accessibility, and affordability
- Launch a year-round campaign to brand and promote Boston’s small businesses
- Increase capital availability
- Increase availability of industrial real estate
- Create an industry-specific mentorship network and programs for retail and restaurant businesses
- Improve access to capital for small business restaurants and retailers
- Increase flexibility and availability of space | Includes piloting programs that use innovative space solutions for restaurant and retail businesses that increase
access and affordability and reduce risk.
- Provide targeted one-to-one assistance to established small businesses
Learn More | Boston has made available this PDF of the 70-page report and Small Business Plan.
Featured Photo | Photo by Tim Sackton via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Market Photo | Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism