Minneapolis cuts red tape for small business owners

Minneapolis cuts red tape for small business owners

MINNEAPOLIS -- Small business owners in Minneapolis no longer need to cut through the red tape to get city approvals or licenses. This week the city approved a one-stop-shop to make it easier to navigate the various rules and regulations. 

Capitol Cafe owner Kayf Ahmed has been a small business owner in Minneapolis since 2014, going into her third year Kayf says starting her business wasn't easy.

"As an entrepreneur it's already challenging enough to start a business there is so much that gets loaded onto your shoulders and we believe that the city processes shouldn't be one of them," said Kayf. 

Navigating the various city rules and regulations and going through multiple agencies for approvals were just some of the complaints from small business owners like Kayf. But starting in 2017 that will all change.

On Wednesday, the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Betsy Hodges agreed to start a one-stop-shop "navigator" office that will help small business owners get through the red tape and simplify the process.

"Yes, it's about resources on the ground starting in January, but its also about long-term our vision of who we are as a city," said Mayor Hodges. "Yes, sometimes we have to say no, but it should be followed by... here is how we can help you get to a yes."

Council member Andrew Johnson, a former small business owner himself, says this will hopefully encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to set up shop in Minneapolis.

"We have a responsibility as well to clear unnecessary burdens and make sure we are helping encourage small business and helping them get up and running and be successful as they move on in the city," said Johnson. 

As an immigrant business owner herself, Kayf says this is an exciting step forward.

"We have a lot of friends and people in the community that come to us and say, 'Hey, what did you do? Help me figure it out.' And I'm glad to do that, but I'm also glad to say, 'Hey, there is a business office you can go to and they will be able to help you figure it out for the answers that I don't have,'" said Kayf. 

City officials say they will redeploy employees from the Community Planning and Economic Development Agency making this a revenue neutral program. We haven't heard when the new small business office will be open. 


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