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City of St. Petersburg launches new small business development tool powered by OpenCounter

CONTACT: Jessica Eilerman, Manager, Greenhouse, Jessica.eilerman@stpete.org or 727-893-7886

City of St. Petersburg launches new small business development tool powered by OpenCounter

(St. Petersburg, FL - February 13, 2017) At the commencement of Tampa Bay Startup Week, The City of St. Petersburg is launching OpenCounter: St Pete, a web-based tool located on the city's website (stpete.org/opencounter). OpenCounter is designed to help entrepreneurs and small business owners understand the specific license, permits and requirements for St Pete. Informed by the City's zoning and land use permits, building and business tax receipt rules, the goal of the site is to help applicants who are about to embark on complex projects with a customized roadmap to achieve their project goals. Customers of OpenCounter can expect a roadmap to the permits, fees and licenses, while collecting the data that the City needs to move the project forward.

"Small businesses are the engines of our local economy," says Mayor Rick Kriseman. "They create jobs, add to the unique fabric of our community and help build vibrant, engaged neighborhoods. I made a promise to do what I could to help support and grow our local and small businesses. It is our goal, as a City, to create an environment where businesses can thrive. We can help do that by cutting red tape and making the start-up process more transparent and easier to navigate. This is a request I've heard time and time again while visiting with businesses on my Small Business Tours. While we know each project is unique and Florida Building Code sets requirements, I believe OpenCounter will help to reduce jargon, improve understanding of requirements and provide entrepreneurs and small business owners a roadmap for their project from start to Certificate of Occupancy."

By providing this tool, intentionally designed to give entrepreneurs and small business owners looking to invest in our community, the City will provide reliable, targeted feedback to its community of entrepreneurs by providing a clear breakdown of the processes and highlight any potential roadblocks they may face; and give the City a new level of insight into economic trends in their community.

"We're aiming to increase communication and eliminate confusion on both sides of the counter," said Greenhouse Manager Jessica Eilerman. "City staff will have access a powerful suite of administrative tools to analyze proposed projects while citizens are given a remarkably high level of service that reduces their discovery process from weeks down to a few minutes."

About OpenCounter Designed for the citizen experience, OpenCounter asks the right questions, in the right order, so citizens can see the requirements, fees, and processing time that apply to their projects. By making information available across departments, OpenCounter also helps municipalities coordinate internal workflows, and build better relationships with the citizens that they serve. OpenCounter was piloted through a Code for America fellowship in the City of Santa Cruz, CA and has been supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

 

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City of St. Petersburg
P.O. Box 2842
St. Petersburg, FL 33731

  • p: 727-893-7111
  • f: 727-892-5102
  • tty: 727-892-5259
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