If you have a small business in Phoenix, or want to start one, we have some help for you.  I have written before about Phoenix adopting a 24-hour turnaround for business creation — turn your plans in today, walk out with your permit and start operations today, saving six to eight months of delay. Phoenix now ranks as the best in the country to do business by eliminating or reducing red tape and bureaucratic hurdles that most cities impose

But wait. We’ve done more. Read on.

In addition to those new business creation reforms, the City Council passed other new and expanding boosts for local businesses. I’ve always been a strong supporter of small local businesses. Help me help you. My district office will help you walk through them. Instead of you coming to us, we will come to you.

The City Council created a new method that favors local businesses. For contracts of $50,000 or less, small business will get top priority when the city is looking to buy products and service. Now, our local businesses sign up with the city, listing what they sell or do and those businesses are automatically notified. This eliminates a cumbersome process requiring checking dense city documents for Requests For Proposals (RFPs).

My office has been walking door-to-door to local businesses in Ahwatukee Foothills explaining these programs. I will even help with the form and hand-deliver it in for you, and make sure you get on the list. If you want to sell goods or services to the city, please call my office at (602) 262-7491 or email me at council.district.6@phoenix.gov, and we’ll come by and get you signed up.

You may have seen our signs up in local businesses directing people to our office if they need help with city issues. If you want one of those signs for your business, please call us.

I was talking to an Ahwatukee retailer just a few days ago who told me that he signed up for the program, that it was easy — and that he just got a $3,000 order from it. That could be you. Please let me help.

Another small business program is the Office of Customer Advocacy in the Phoenix Planning Department. It’s particularly helpful to small business start-ups that don’t have all the resources of chains and big businesses.

It’s almost impossible to know all the land mines that crop up just to hang a shingle and open your doors to a new business. In addition to all the business stuff — leasing, marketing, audience gauging, financing, trademarks, personnel law and more — you have to navigate the often changing environment of government permitting.

That’s where the Office of Customer Advocacy comes in. There, they will talk with entrepreneurs before they spend a lot of money and help them figure out if the business fits the zoning, if use permits are needed and if other issues are likely to create delays or more work (and expense).

That way, a business start-up doesn’t get several months into the project and then is hung up on something that could have been handled or avoided by earlier knowledge.

What we’re working to accomplish with all of this is making Phoenix the easiest and fastest place to do business in the nation.

The City Council has done something no one else does, which is focus on small business. We want small businesses to get the same special treatment from the city that an Intel or Apple enjoy.

So this is not just a push to steal commerce from California (although that would be a fine outcome), it’s to help business people here.

Nothing is more important now for Phoenix to be doing than making it easier for businesses to start up and survive, and thereby create jobs and work our way out of the recession. I’ll do everything I can to make Phoenix the best place for business. Call me if we can help.


• Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio represents District 6, which includes Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach him at council.district.6@phoenix.gov or (602) 262-7491.

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