Question: Describe one or two of your most effective policies or strategies to help small business grow in your city.
W.J. “Jim” Lane
City of Scottsdale
The City of Scottsdale was named one of the Top 10 locations to launch a startup for a reason, and closely helps local businesses and entrepreneurs grow and develop through resources and programming offered in the Eureka Loft at the Civic Center Library and in partnership with various community organizations and businesses.
Earlier this year, I proclaimed February 24th Scottsdale’s first-ever “Made in Scottsdale Day” when the city partnered with Weebly, a company which recently chose Scottsdale for its expansion from San Francisco, to help any entrepreneur or small-business owner make their own website or e-commerce store. In the Eureka Loft, programs like Connect the Tech, Jump Start Your Business and ASU’s Rapid Startup School provide training and networking opportunities, while the space itself is a launching point for mentor services and connections to additional resources, from financial support to local licensing and even talent attraction. Small Business Saturday is an important annual celebration as well for Downtown Scottsdale, but our efforts in reaching out to local merchants occur year-round.
Scottsdale Mayor W. J. “Jim” Lane served for four years on the Scottsdale City Council beginning in June 2004, began his first term as Mayor in January 2009 and was re-elected in 2012. He currently represents the city on numerous regional and state boards and committees that include the Flinn Foundation Arizona Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association and the Governor’s Arizona Workforce Committee. A former adjunct professor of business and accounting at Scottsdale Community College, Mayor Lane has owned and operated businesses in a variety of industries.
City of Chandler
Chandler has two programs in place that are geared to the small-business entrepreneur: the Business Location Team (BLT) and our Adaptive Reuse Policy.
The BLT is composed of representatives from several city departments, including planning, economic development, sales tax and fire. The team meets as a group with people looking to start a business in Chandler. The group will guide the prospect through all of the City processes, zoning compliance, permit needs, etc., to ensure there are no surprises moving forward. The team remains a resource to the client through the entire process.
In a plan to bring more jobs and opportunity to Chandler, the City Council approved an Adaptive Reuse Overlay District in January. The District encompasses much of the downtown area as well as the north Arizona Avenue business corridor. The idea behind the plan is to facilitate the redevelopment of underutilized buildings through more relaxed zoning codes for things like parking and building setbacks.
Knowing the small-business community is the backbone of any city’s economy, we remain focused on delivering these and other resources to our local entrepreneurs.
Mayor Jay Tibshraeny began his unprecedented seventh term as Chandler’s mayor in January 2015, after returning to the Mayor’s Office in January 2011 following eight years in the Arizona State Senate, 2003–2011. His current regional assignments include Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Council, Greater Phoenix Economic Council Board of Directors, Arizona League of Cities and Towns Executive Committee, and East Valley Partnership ex-officio board member.
City of Glendale
The timing could not be better to highlight the exciting business boom Glendale is experiencing. More than 3,000 jobs are headed to the city, and our bond rating was upgraded this year thanks to sound fiscal policies.
One strategy that has an incredible impact on small businesses is our ability to connect current and prospective Glendale businesses with resources and leverage vast community partnerships.
Take, for instance, SK Oil Sales, which needed specific welders (quickly) to manufacture a particular stainless steel vessel for distribution in restaurants nationwide. Our economic development team worked with the owner and Arizona Automotive Institute to create a specialized welding class. As a result, SK Oil Sales expanded, and students received new technical skills with the strong potential for getting a high-paying job.
Another extremely valuable small-business resource is our Glendale Chamber of Commerce, which just exceeded 1,000 members for the first time since its inception in 1927. I believe our city and chamber partnership has never been stronger.
Leveraging our existing resources is a recipe for success that is clearly working for Glendale.
Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers is a devoted public servant who has spent his adult life owning and operating successful businesses, volunteering, and advocating for his community. As a businessman and U.S. Patent-holder himself, he understands the American dream of owning your own business. By enacting pro-growth policies and fiscal responsibility, the city’s bond rating recently was upgraded, and 3,000 new jobs are coming to Glendale.