Kansas City recognized for small development best practices

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The City of Kansas City, Mo., is being recognized by the National League of Cities this week as having some of the best practices to develop small businesses. It's the result of Kansas City's business customer service center, a one-stop shop that helps start-ups launch their operations.

The old joke used to be that to start a business in Kansas City, you had to spend all day at city hall, go to about five different floors to get all the licenses and permits you needed, and then come out to find a ticket on your car.

The city says all of that has changed in the last five years. KC Bizcare is a walk-in storefront across from city hall where licensing and permits that entrepreneurs need are all in one place. In many cases you can get in and out within an hour and be fully licensed to do business in Kansas City.

Cities recognize that small businesses create most of the new jobs, and Kansas City wants to make sure it reduces barriers to creating those jobs.

"The idea was to create a storefront entrance," Rick Usher, assistant to the city manager, said. "That it was inviting, not imposing, like coming into city hall might be at times. To put staff here knowledgeable in practices of different departments so that when they listen to someone's business idea and concept they can connect to the right resources."

Usher says the city also has been eliminating duplicate regulations and regulations that have become outdated or unnecessary, all in an effort to make the environment here more business friendly.

So far the results have been good, with more individuals taking advantage of the roadmap KC Bizcare provides to set up their own businesses.

This center also refers folks to free business support groups and new sources of capital that can provide funding for their enterprises.

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