Picture 3The National League of Cities gives Louisville a shout-out in its “Big Ideas for Small Business Report 2014.”

And Louisville is in good company, along with Chicago, New York, Cincinnati, Seattle, San Francisco and other booming business cities.

The 32-page report, “Big Ideas for Small Business,” is a must-read for local econ-dev types.

Billed as a “toolkit providing city leaders across the nation with strategies to strengthen local business communities to improve their local economies,” it focuses on what we and other standout cities are doing right.

Strategies include reorganizing city resources to be business-friendly and providing owners with access to new sources of capital, helping them optimize their web presences – all the things cities large and small can do to be supportive of small businesses.

You can read the report here.

Here’s Louisville’s bit:

Picture 2The report profiles the best practices of 12 cities with proactive initiatives that support the small business ecosystems in their communities, according to the release.

Example initiatives include the creation of incubator spaces to accelerate small business expansion, microlending and crowdsourcing, streamlining regulations and inspections and others.

Other cities profiled in the report include:
Chicago, Ill.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Detroit, Mich.
Kansas City, Mo.
Los Angeles, Calif.
New York City, N.Y.
Philadelphia, Pa.
San Antonio, Texas
San Diego, Calif.
San Francisco, Calif.
Seattle, Wash.

Louisville is “an exemplar of local governments that make small business development a priority and create “ecosystems” that support small business growth,” with Mayor Greg Fischer getting lots of favorable coverage.

From the news release:

The report profiles Louisville’s Digital Economic Corridors project, which aims to get all local businesses within a defined economic corridor properly represented in online information portals like Google Places, Yelp, Yahoo! Local and Apple Maps. Local businesses attend workshops where they learned how to get their businesses properly represented online and learn best practices for ensuring they are prominent and easily found in online searches.

It’s interesting to read what other cities are doing, of course. Most have similar programs to Louisville, though San Francisco has a “speed dating” event to introduce small-businesses owners to tech people. We need that.

Chicago has an incubator that has produced a lot of actual jobs:

Companies located at 1871 have created more than 1,000 jobs, and 26 companies have graduated out of the space based on  fundraising or hiring. However, 1871’s engagement with the citywide ecosystem that supports innovation has been even more  remarkable.  More than 20,000 people have attended events or meetings in the space, and local officials regularly attend weekly  open government hack nights at 1871, developing relationships with the tech community and encouraging the development of new technology to improve city services.

“This new report on ‘Big Ideas for Small Business’ shows that local leaders are in a unique position to create a small business ecosystem that connects entrepreneurs with city resources, including funding opportunities, streamlined regulations and technical assistance. Cities across the country understand that for small businesses to be successful in the long-term, it is critical that they have the support of communities and local leaders,” stated National League of Cities President Chris Coleman, Mayor of Saint Paul, Minn., in the release.

The report was released during National Small Business Week, May 12-16, an initiative organized by the U.S. Small Business Administration to recognize the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Small businesses make up a key segment of the U.S. economy, employing 55 percent of the nation’s workforce and accounting for 63 percent of net new jobs created between mid-2009 to 2012. Local business owners regularly interact with local governments for a variety of reasons, including acquiring permits and licenses, and scheduling inspections.

About the National League of Cities: The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

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