RUTLAND CITY – On Aug. 4, the City of Rutland announced that it was awarded a national prize from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in recognition of the city’s recent pledge to streamline and automate its business licensing and permitting process, thus making it simpler and more efficient for a new business to begin operations within the city.
Rutland was one of 27 municipalities selected nationally to receive the $50,000 cash prize award. Burlington was also awarded $50,000. Many of the other award recipients were much larger cities such as Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. More than 100 applications were received.
“Vermont is increasingly recognized for its vibrant startup culture and strong ecosystem for supporting entrepreneurs,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy. “I have been proud to play a role in linking local, state and federal resources available in order to start or expand a small business. I am always delighted when Vermont towns are recognized on the national stage. Rutland City and Burlington, two of our largest centers, are developing new tools and streamlining them with existing ones so that Vermont’s small businesses can better meet their needs to thrive in Vermont. These awards will go a long way to help those small businesses succeed.”
Rutland City officials were honored by the recognition and look forward to implementing new programs to further business growth and development in the city.
“The streamlining of the current licensing and permitting procedures within the city is just another effort being made to encourage investment and job creation,” said Mayor Chris Louras. “Receiving this recognition from the SBA, especially in light of the national competition from far larger municipalities, really validates the City’s efforts and emphasizes the fact that Rutland City Vermont is open for business.”
Rutland City has recently established a number of new business incentives to help attract and retain employers and lower start-up cost for new or expanding small businesses. These include the waiver of all initial allocation fees and significant water/wastewater rate discounts for five years to high-capacity business users. Rutland has also developed policies allowing businesses significant municipal property tax stabilization in return for investment and job creation.
Most recently an innovative new business incentive and assistance program was developed which leverages a portion of the city’s tax revenue from its solar power generating plants to fund tangible financial incentives in the form of loans, grants, infrastructure improvements, workforce training, relocation assistance and even free or discounted workspace within the city.
“We continue to work hard to make Rutland City the most business friendly destination in Vermont and this SBA award will further these efforts with an overhaul of our current paper-based application process to an electronic web-based portal, accessible 24/7” said Brennan Duffy, executive director of the Rutland Redevelopment Authority. The plan is to use this opportunity to not only enhance the city’s local processes but to hopefully streamline some of the licensing and permitting requirements and connections at the state and regional level as well. “The litany of requirements to start a new business in Vermont can be confusing and intimidating, we hope to improve the process where we can,” Duffy said.
Startup In A Day is an initiative announced by the President earlier this year designed to help cities and Native American communities streamline the licensing, permitting, and other requirements needed to start a business in their areas, with the goal that an entrepreneur can apply for everything necessary to begin a business within one business day. Cities were encouraged to take a public pledge to commit to these goals, and were invited to apply for funding through two SBA prize competitions.
Board of Aldermen President William Notte said, “The City continues to add arrows to our quiver when it comes to making Rutland the best place to live, work, and start a business. The fewer hoops a start-up needs to jump through the better and I am looking forward to seeing this prize money used to streamline the process and allow Rutland City to continue to grow as a business destination.”
The SBA has partnered with the National League of Cities, an advocacy organization representing thousands of municipalities, to assist Startup In A Day winners to collaborate and share best practices.
For more information, call 802-828-4422 or visit www.sba.gov/startup.