The city of Syracuse has developed a business web portal that allows users to access information to start or grow their businesses. The database application is meant to spur economic development in small businesses.
Users can get information on business licenses, permits, inspections, zoning and legal requirements. It's a one-stop shop for tools and resources that were previously scattered in different places. Syracuse Deputy Commissioner of Business Development Honora Spillane said they get a lot of calls and emails from residents thinking about starting or expanding their businesses but are not sure how to go about it.
“I’ve always thought it would be great if we could point somebody and say here’s where you can start," Spillane said. "Here’s a checklist. Here are places, ways to think about your business and your idea to grow and nurture it. There hadn’t really been anything like that in the community. The city has a lot of needs. To grow our economy we don't have the ability to talk to every single person with an idea. We felt it was important to make that if you have an idea, you have a place to go to start thinking about it.”
Spillane said economic development is a spectrum from startups to big development projects.
“But the sweet spot is really those folks in the middle who have five or ten people who work from them, who are in our neighborhoods," Spillane said. "That’s where our growth is going to come from. And that’s where we’re going to focus our efforts and our resources.”
The city partnered with the nonprofit Code for America to build the business portal, which Spillane said is up and running but continues to be tweaked.