Phase I (October 2012 – April 2013)
Project Concept: Studies have identified the District of Columbia as having many barriers to small and micro businesses’ success. It is critical for public, private and nonprofit stakeholders to come together to:
- Identify the barriers to starting and growing small businesses
- Examine how well the public, private and nonprofit system currently works
- Review best practices from other jurisdictions
- Develop recommendations for improvements to the public, private and nonprofit system in the District
- Establish a task force or other appropriate public/private/nonprofit entity to support and monitor implementation of stakeholder recommendations.
Convened a Steering Committee. CNHED and DSLBD convened a group of approximately 15 participants for the steering committee comprised of small business owners, technical assistance providers and government agencies. The Steering Committee reviewed and approved the project concept, plans for policy forums and the project timeline.
Conducted research to assess the landscape and identify challenges for small businesses in the District. Research included a review of existing surveys and interviews with 15 to 20 local stakeholders, government, practitioners, small businesses, nonprofit TA providers and lenders, community college etc.
- See Addressing Small Business Challenges in the District of Columbia, a report on national and local obstacles to starting, sustaining and growing micro/small businesses. The paper was reviewed and revised in coordination with the Steering Committee and provides context for the first stakeholder forum.
Held a Policy Forum on April 5, 2013 and engaged more than 60 small businesses and other stakeholders in identifying obstacles to small business success in DC.
- See Forum I Summary, a post-session paper summarizing the discussions from this first stakeholder forum. Obstacles to small business success were identified in five categories: Access to Capital; Technical Assistance, Government Process, Inadequate Representation, and Rising Commercial Property Cost (subsequently revised to ‘Economic Opportunity’).
Phase II (May 2013 – February 2014)
Conducted research on best practices, surveying national and local practices for assisting small businesses to meet the obstacles identified in the first forum.
Held a 2nd Forum on June 28, 2013. The Forum incorporated a review and discussion of local and national best practices in order to develop concrete recommendations on how to address identified barriers to the success of small and micro businesses in DC. Participants were provided with a matrix for each of the five categories of obstacles to small business success, along with vision statements and national and local best practices. More than 65 stakeholders attended the three hour forum and developed multiple recommendations on how to address the obstacles to small business success previously identified.
Released Final Report of Recommendations. On February 20th, 2014, the Small Business Policy Project Steering Committee released a plan outlining more than 60 practical solutions on how to address barriers to the success of small and micro businesses in the District of Columbia across five major categories:
- Expanding and Improving Services
- Giving a Greater Voice to Small Business
- Improving Access to Information and Communication
- Increasing Financial Resources
- Expanding Economic Opportunity
The recommendations in this report represent a significant undertaking by the small businesses and stakeholders who worked collaboratively to examine challenges to small business success, explore best practices, formulate a shared vision for the District and develop solutions to overcome the challenges.
- See Recommendations to Improve the Environment for Small Business Success in the District of Columbia
This has been an unprecedented effort by small business community leaders and stakeholders in the District to come together and reach consensus on what is needed to enable small business success.
Implementation Phase (February 2014 – present)
Implementation teams have been formed, to move forward the recommendations in each of the five major categories. CNHED, DSLBD and the Steering Committee are support the work of each of the implementation teams in monitoring implementation of the recommendations, issuing periodic progress reports to stakeholders who participated in the process.