Project: Elevate Austin

Recognizing that small businesses are the foundation of our local economy, the City of Austin embarked on a City-wide project with a mission to encourage organizational changes that establish Austin as the Best Managed City with regard to small business development.

ElevateAustin: taking small business to new heights, began in March 2010 when the City Council, the Small Business Development Program (SBDP) and the Austin Independent Business Alliance (AIBA) invited 50 small business owners to a summit to share their perceptions of how the City serves the needs of local small business owners.

In April 2013, with the help of several community partner organizations, the City hosted another Small Business Summit to gather feedback that would help the city staff to prioritize continued efforts to address small business issues.

Thank you to our partnering community organizations - see the attached documents below for a full list of these organizations.

2013 Small Business Summit Partner Organizations
Summary of prioritization, key issues and small group discussions

The City would like to share the ideas and priorities surfaced through the latest Small Business Summit and create a forum for continued discussion that will allow City staff to update the small business community on related issues while facilitating ongoing feedback and discussion.

Below you will find forums for generating ideas and discussion around the top three areas of concern as determined by voting at the most recent Small Business Summit.

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Attachment: Slideshow - 2013 Small Business Summit

Updates: Previously Economic Development Department (EDD) staff presented recommendations for a small business incentive program with the proposed budget for fiscal year 13. Unfortunately funding was not appropriated at that time. City staff continues to explore options and ideas for a small business incentive program.

Top suggestions and ideas from the most recent Small Business Summit include:

Incentive program that mirrors incentives for larger businesses

Gentrification incentives for owner occupied

Equal incentives (small vs. large business) for opening new locations

We invite you to build upon these ideas and offer new suggestions below keeping in mind that while broad, big-picture solutions are helpful to discuss; we equally value specific, short-term solutions that may address a single issue within this area.

What ideas do you have to incentivize small business development?

Updates: City Council approved an Extended Hours and Parking Benefit District policy .

Top suggestions and ideas from the most recent Small Business Summit include:

Gondola (as presented at TEDxAustin)

Parking meter fees should fund people-moving solution

Public parking garages

Mass transit – urban rail

We invite you to build upon these ideas and offer new suggestions below keeping in mind that while broad, big-picture solutions are helpful to discuss, we equally value specific, short-term solutions that may address a single issue within this area.

What are your ideas to address parking and transportation concerns in ways that support small business?

Updates: Customers conducting business with the City of Austin‘s Planning and Development Review Department (PDRD) will notice several improvements when they call or visit PDRD.

  • PDRD has launched (512) 978-4000 as the centralized number for the department, making it easier for customers to get in touch with who they need.

  • Permit Center improvements include an expanded waiting area, "Wait Time” feature, and text alert paging system. More info.

  • Check out Planning and Development Review Department's online tools and resources.

Top suggestions and ideas from the most recent Small Business Summit include:

One Stop Shop for new business owners; one place to go for all permitting and development

Better metrics for tracking customer service

Standardize internal processes

Educational based communication centered around code breakdown with a customer service focus and approach

Online payments

We invite you to build upon these ideas and offer new suggestions below keeping in mind that while broad, big-picture solutions are helpful to discuss, we equally value specific, short-term solutions that may address a single issue within this area.

What are your ideas to enhance customer service or improve the development and permitting process?