Columbus officials on Wednesday shared the results of an assessment of small business economic development in the city.
The city commissioned consulting firm Next Street Financial to conduct the study, which found there are numerous programs and services for small businesses in Columbus, but those businesses had limited awareness of them.
Columbus also found that there's a lack of support for businesses between their launch and two years of operation, a critical time for scaling up, expanding their customer base and offering new products. People of color and women face particular challenges in accessing capital, while there's little support for entrepreneurs in neighborhoods like Linden and the Hilltop.
Small business program manager Henry Golatt believes the city can change that through its small business agenda.
“The city of Columbus will serve as an overarching ecosystem builder and will serve alongside three other builders that includes Sadicka and Associates, Rev 1 Ventures and Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council,” Golatt says.
Golatt says they will work on fostering connections between small businesses and so-called "anchor institutions" that regularly buy from them.
“The first of those short-term wins is to develop an impact framework to measure tangible progress and outcomes within the working committees and collectively across the small business agenda,” Golatt says.
There is no hard deadline to meet the goals, but the city anticipates it will be a multi-year effort.