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City of Chicago's Small Business Center cuts through red tape

July 29, 2013 3:21:52 PM PDT
The city of Chicago hopes to give small business owners a boost by helping them navigate permits and City Hall.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel established a small business center in Chicago. The idea behind it? To help small business owners solve problems. Restaurant owner Vicki Kim just opened her second location.

"There's a lot of navigating through the city that you need to do, a lot of desks that you need to ask for permits and licenses from. It can get overwhelming and confusing," Kim said.

Mayor Emanuel wants to make getting the appropriate licenses easier.

"We had- had, past tense- 117 separate small business licenses-- more than L.A., Phoenix, Atlanta, Philadelphia, all combined. So I ordered a comprehensive review," Mayor Emanuel said. "Now we only have 47. We cut it by two thirds"

The center opened in March, and already business owners have praised the Experience they've had. The newly launched express lane in the center serves people in 15 minutes or less, and cut delays in inspections.

"From over 300 days from a business owner to start up to open their doors to under 100," Roxanne Nava, small business officer, said.

The mayor says that efficiency and eliminating a tax on having more than 50 employees has already had an impact and will save small businesses millions.

"Both through the licenses reform and the elimination of the per employee head tax, will save $6 million dollars this year. They can hire people. They can expand, they can market," Mayor Emanuel said.

"The city is acting more as business owners' agents versus gatekeepers. It feels the mindset has changed and I really appreciate that," Kim said.

Small Business Center
312.74.GOBIZ (744.6249)
121 N. LaSalle St., 8th Fl., Chicago, IL 60602
Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri.; 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Wed.; 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


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