“Growing Your Small Business” Forum Report Released

Front Street's Director Seth Lane was a speaker at the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce's forum for small businesses on May 13. Seth discussed how the City of Gainesville can foster small business growth. The Chamber created a report outlining the requests and suggestions made by local business leaders. Click through for highlights from the report! 

Transient

 As the country celebrates National Small Business Week, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce today released a report detailing its findings from the “Growing Your Small Business: A Conversation with City Leaders” dialogue, held on May 13.

With then‐Mayor‐Elect Ed Braddy, City Commissioners and city government staff in attendance, the dialogue served as a channel for more than 130 people to share constructive insight and hear actionable ideas on how the City of Gainesville could better support small businesses.

Presentations from small business owners and small group discussions at the meeting focused on the five stages of business development including conception, start‐up, growth, expansion, and established.

The Chamber’s report compiles feedback and recommendations for the city concentrating on each of these stages. The feedback and recommendations received involve the following six principles: accessibility, accountability, simplicity, consistency, affordability, and efficiency.

The City of Gainesville should use these principles as criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of policies, procedures and personnel affecting small businesses.

The Chamber’s report provides a synopsis of the public dialogue and includes a collection of 27 recommendations to the City of Gainesville on how to promote small business growth.

Key report recommendations include the following:

Website: Launch a simplified, comprehensive, and current one‐stop website to serve as a roadmap for new small businesses and a resource for existing businesses.

Customer Service: Train city staff to master and maintain a “problem solving” mindset and not a “problem stating” mindset in interactions with small businesses.

Zoning: Replicate the Innovation Square “Simplify and Succeed” zoning reform model throughout Gainesville to facilitate business growth.

Standardization: Impose standardized policies throughout the city to ensure there is no inconsistent enforcement of rules.

Business Cost Reduction: Reduce assessment fees, lower utility costs and eliminate complicated and unnecessary regulations.

Centralized Business Assistance Office: Establish a centralized office to help small business owners navigate regulatory processes and process payments.

Small businesses create many jobs and are a key economic driver for the City of Gainesville.

The success, or failure, of small businesses will shape the future economic landscape of the city.

The Chamber seeks to collaborate with the city to help small businesses grow, which would promote job creation and economic development.

“We look forward to working together with the City of Gainesville to implement these recommendations and help expand small business opportunities throughout our region,” said Gainesville Chamber President & CEO Tim Giuliani.

The Chamber encourages the public to remain engaged as it advocates for the city to improve the environment for small business development.

Source: Chamber of Commerce  

Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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