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Department of Development
111 N. Front Street, 8th Floor  
Columbus, OH 43215  
(614) 645.7795   
(614) 645.6675 [FAX]  

For Immediate Release
Contact:  Cynthia Rickman, Department of Development, 614-645-8795
News Date: November 21, 2018

Consultant selected for Small Business Study

The Department of Development has selected Next Street Financial LLC of Massachusetts to provide a comprehensive assessment and study of opportunities for entrepreneurship-based economic development as part of its ongoing efforts to reimagine small business support within the City of Columbus.  City Council is expected to approve funding for the consultant at tonight’s meeting.

Next Street is a recognized community economic development consulting firm that has performed similar small business ecosystem assessments and implementation strategies in cities including Chicago, Boston, Albuquerque, Minneapolis-St. Paul and in counties, states, and regions including Berkshire County, MA, Rode Island, and the Appalachia Region. 

As part of its contract with the City of Columbus, Next Street will embark on a comprehensive engagement process with various stakeholder as well as review and evaluate current small business programs offered by the City and others to identify gaps in services and programs.  The findings from the Assessment will be used to develop a policy and budget framework and inform a small business agenda as an implementation plan under phase two of the process.

“The future of our city depends on the continued growth of businesses, especially small, entrepreneurial endeavors,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “I look forward to the results from Next Street Financial to help us reimagine the city’s support of small businesses.”

“We are excited to partner with the City of Columbus to conduct its small business ecosystem assessment, with a focus on inclusion and equitable development. Next Street is ready to draw on our experience and expertise from around the country to work with the City of Columbus, and the broader ecosystem, to achieve its long-term goals” Charisse Conanan-Johnson, Next Street.

The Comprehensive Assessment is one of several initiatives underway to encourage small business/entrepreneurial growth within the City. 

Earlier this year the City kicked off a new pilot program, the Small Business and Entrepreneur Support Pilot Program, which was created to better serve current and future needs of the small business community.  The program provides coordinated access to training, advisement, mentoring, capital sourcing, and other supportive services through a network of Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESOs).

On December 13, Mayor Ginther will participate in an economic development roundtable and panel discussion on small business and entrepreneurship-based economic development in Columbus.  The event entitled, “Building a City-Sponsored Small Business Ecosystem Using a Lifecycle Approach”, will take place starting at 2 p.m. at 111 North Front Street in Room 211 in the Michael B.Coleman Government Center, and will serve to highlight many of the small business efforts of the City.

In addition, two community meetings will be hosted by the Hilltop Business Association on November 29 and December 19 to receive input on the Hilltop Retail and Small Business Opportunity Study (commissioned by the City earlier this year) that explores opportunities to leverage and stimulate long-term public and private investments along the corridors of Broad Street and Sullivant Avenue.

"We are excited to partner with Next Street to examine what the next steps should be in creating action plans to foster growth with local small businesses,” said Councilmember Jaiza Page. “Investment in both people and capital is how our City is going prosper.”

The small business initiatives of the City are being coordinated by the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneur Development within the Economic Development Division of the Department of Development.