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Mayor Walsh Announces City of Boston Wins SBA "Start Small" Competition Award

August 5, 2015

Mayor's Office

Published by:

Mayor's Office

Award is Part of National Startup Day Initiative

BOSTON - Wednesday, August 5, 2015 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that City of Boston has won a $50,000 award from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help its efforts to streamline licensing, permitting and other requirements needed to start a business. Boston is one of 27 winners of the first ever Startup in a Day Competition, totaling $1.6 million in funding nationwide.

"I'm honored that the SBA chose Boston as recipient for this grant," said Mayor Walsh. "My Administration has been working to make the permitting process in Boston easy, transparent and predictable and this will help us expand those efforts." 

Under Mayor Walsh's leadership, Boston has made Fire and Public Works Department permits available online for the first time, reduced plan review times for building permits, and created an online tool to let applicants see where their permits are in the review process and explore zoning code. In the coming months, Boston will release an entirely new online permit experience that will support entrepreneurs through the permitting and licensing process.

Nationwide, the winners are located in 19 states and the District of Columbia, representing a wide array of cities and Native American communities. Startup in a Day is an initiative announced by President Barack Obama earlier this year designed to help cities and Native American communities streamline the licensing, permitting and other requirements needed to start a business in their areas, with the goal that an entrepreneur can apply for everything necessary to begin a business within one business day. Cities were encouraged to take a public pledge to commit to these goals, and were invited to apply for funding through two SBA prize competitions. At the time of the announcement in June, 11 cities had agreed to the Startup in a Day pledge. Today, more than 50 additional cities and Native American communities have taken the pledge.

When announcing Startup in a Day, President Obama said, "I'm calling on city halls across the country to join the initial 11 mayors in a simple but powerful pledge to entrepreneurs and small business owners: If you want to start a business, we'll make it so easy to navigate the license and permitting system online, that you'll be off and running within 24 hours."

"When I started my businesses, it was overwhelming," said Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, head of the SBA and member of President Obama's Cabinet. "I had to set up a legal structure, find office space, learn local zoning laws, apply for multiple licenses and permits and navigate a maze of city, county, state and federal requirements before I could even open my doors. That's why I'm proud to join the White House in announcing the winners of the Startup in a Day prize competition as we work to make it easier for entrepreneurs all across the country to get started."

Currently, our nation's entrepreneurs spend nearly 6 days discovering, applying for and acquiring licenses and permits before they can open for business.  World Bank study ranked America 46th in the ease of starting a business. 

"President Obama and the SBA are committed to making it easier and faster for every entrepreneur to start a business," said Seth Goodall, SBA New England Regional Administrator. "This award recognizes Boston's focus on streamlining their licensing and permitting process through online, modern technology so entrepreneurs can focus on their business, rather than the red tape."

"Congratulations to the City of Boston for the work they are doing to make starting a business in Boston simpler," said Bob Nelson, SBA Massachusetts District Director.   "We need to continue to do whatever is necessary to encourage small businesses starts and simplified permitting and processes is one way to do this.  We are excited and look forward to seeing the release of Boston's new entirely online permit process in the very near future."     

About Start Up in a Day Initiative:

Startup in a Day is an initiative designed to make it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to start a business. One of the biggest challenges new business owners face is the mass of red-tape which is required prior to launching.  Startup in a Day encourages cities and Native American communities to take a public pledge stating that they will work to make it easier for entrepreneurs in their communities to get started with their business dreams.  To this end, the SBA has run a prize competition which provides cash prizes of $50,000 to cities and Native American communities to help them form processes and systems to streamline the licensing, permitting, and other forms needed to start a business in their areas. The SBA is also offering a $250,000 cash prize to one city or Native American community who wishes to create an "open source" solution which will be replicable and scalable on a broad basis.