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Why Supporting Local Businesses In Your Community Is Vital 

By Stephen Brandofino

All local governments likely understand the importance of supporting local businesses because they undoubtedly provide so much to our local communities. But what does supporting local entrepreneurs in your community really entail? 

What are the best ways to support local businesses when budgets can be tight and schedules are often busy

Local governments have much influence over the success or failure of local businesses and should do all they can to ensure these businesses prosper, not only for their own benefit but the benefit of the entire community. 

Local government officials sometimes face challenges in supporting small, local businesses when they are unsure how to make the greatest impact, but this article can help. Read on to learn the key ways to show support for local business owners and increase revenue generation in your municipality now!

What Is A Local Business? 

A local business usually refers to a small or even medium-sized business that operates within a specific geographic area, predominantly serving the direct needs of the local community. These small businesses are often independently owned and operated by your own constituents, and they can include various types of establishments such as restaurants, retail stores, salons, repair shops; even professional services such as law firms or accounting offices.

Local businesses play a crucial role in building up their communities by providing goods and services directly to the locals, creating jobs, and pouring funds back into the local economy. Independent, often smaller businesses don’t operate the way large corporations do. Instead, they rely on the patronage of local residents and partnerships with other small businesses to stay afloat, often making them more affected by any dips in the economy. 

Why Should Governments Support Local Businesses?

The government is able to make a huge difference in the longevity and success of local businesses and entrepreneurship in their municipality. Often in times of distress, local businesses turn to their local government for assistance. 

Here are just a few reasons why it is best practice for local governments to support their local community business owners:              

  • You Have The Power To Incentivize Entrepreneurship 

Local governments incentivize entrepreneurship through various avenues. These different methods can all help to stimulate economic growth as well as development within communities. 

Local government officials aim to create a supportive ecosystem as well as an enhanced quality of life for all constituents; the best way to do this is by encouraging citizens to create their own revenue streams and open their own local businesses. 

  • Local Businesses Create Jobs 

Local businesses are significant job creators, especially for small towns and communities where people are looking for local employment options. Supporting these businesses means supporting employment opportunities for local residents, reducing unemployment rates, and improving overall economic stability.

Keeping local businesses staffed with constituents can help to create positive relationships within your community and positively impact constituents overall wellbeing. Often people in your local community looking for employment are parents, or have responsibilities that make working within their own municipality a convenient option. 

  • Businesses Increase Local Revenue 

When local businesses are encouraged to grow by local governments, the whole community prospers. With constituents spending money at these local businesses, the money is getting put back directly into the community which will lead to the overall betterment of your community. An increase in revenue within a community can have numerous long term benefits.  

Read GovPilot’s Guide To Boosting Revenue for Your Local Government

  • Successful Local Businesses Boost Community Morale

When a community's local businesses are supported and propped up, the overall morale of the community will surely see a positive shift. Local businesses give a community character and at times even an identity. A sense of pride in the community can also be created when local businesses and entrepreneurs succeed.  

Read GovPilot’s Guide To Upward Mobility Planning At The Local Level

Key Ways To Show Support To Local Businesses 

Local businesses need the support of their local governments to succeed, and when local officials take action to support their entrepreneurial citizens, various benefits are seen. Here’s how you can help: 

1. Streamline Permitting and Licensing

One of the easiest ways to support business growth is to make it convenient for business owners to apply for permits and licenses online. Simplify and expedite the process for obtaining permits, licenses, and approvals required to start or expand a business; this reduces bureaucratic hurdles and makes it easier for local businesses to operate and grow on their own timelines. 

Learn How Permitting Software Workand Improve Your Local Government's Workflows here. 

GovTip: Check out GovPilot’s most convenient permitting software solutions: 

2. Provide Financial Assistance 

Grants, loans, or tax incentives should be made available through your local government to help local businesses, especially startups and small enterprises, get on their feet. These financial assistance programs can help businesses access capital for expansion and innovate within their markets. Job creation is also a common benefit of providing financial assistance to small businesses as the need to fill new positions will likely provide unemployed members of your locality which will pour money back into your local economy. 

Consider GovPilot’s Grant Module here! 

3. Establish Business Incubators and Accelerators

Local governments often establish or support business incubators and accelerators to provide entrepreneurs with resources, mentorship, networking opportunities, and affordable office space. These programs help startups grow and succeed in their early stages, creating positive change for the community in the future.

More than just providing funds and capital to help a local business, another prospective way to support them is by fostering their business opportunities. Networking and collaborating with other local entrepreneurs helps business owners in your community build themselves up and self-sustain. Those members of your community looking to provide services and pursue their dreams deserve support from their leadership. 

4. Promote Local Marketing and Promotion

One of the most daunting issues that business owners face is the inability to get their products noticed by the public. Local governments can showcase local businesses through marketing campaigns, events, and promotions aimed at raising awareness and driving foot traffic to physical locations or online shops.

A great way to keep your community strong and growing is to ensure residents consider patronizing local businesses and driving additional revenue into your economy.

5. Provide Business Development Services

Business development services encompass a wide range of non-financial services used by entrepreneurs that are intended to help them improve the performance of their businesses, their access to markets, and ability to compete or grow. These services are meant to ensure business owners have a lifeline to help them succeed in a competitive and at times, unstable business environment.

Some of these services may include: 

  • Training Workshops: Providing local business owners with educational tools and resources such as marketing or business growth workshops can effectively boost their ability to succeed and embody best practices. 
  • Financial Incentives: Grants, loans, and tax breaks tailored to local businesses can help local entrepreneurs break through financial barriers as well as get a head start on their ventures. 
  • Streamlined Regulatory Processes: Simplified and expedited permitting processes, reduced regulatory burdens, and easier access to business licenses can lower barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and startups, making it easier for them to establish and operate their businesses locally.

Learn How Municipalities Can Drive Local Economic Development here. 

6. Infrastructure Investment

Strategic infrastructure development makes a huge impact on the ability for local businesses to open in your community. Invest in infrastructure projects that foster local entrepreneurship, such as improving transportation networks, access to commercial areas, and even putting up new buildings that can be leased by businesses and local shops. If the infrastructure in your municipality is well maintained, and gives businesses a space to sell their goods to citizens, you will see an increase in foot traffic and travel to your community.

Read our Guide To Government Strategic Planning here!

7. Advocate For Business-Friendly Policies

Use policy to foster business growth and development; give local vendors support with regulations that accommodate small businesses.

Providing resources to local entrepreneurs also encompasses business friendly policy. Serve as a resource hub for local businesses by providing information, guidance, and referrals to relevant support services, and networking opportunities. It can be you who makes these things happen!

Be Sure To Support Your Local Entrepreneurs 

Local government officials must show local businesses support and encouragement in the ways outlined above to increase local revenue and contribute to the betterment of the entire community. Book a consultation with GovPilot to learn how we can help your municipality support business owners, and much more! 

Supporting Local Businesses FAQs

  • Who does a community of thriving local businesses benefit?

When local small businesses thrive, they create jobs, increase revenue into your municipality and foster upward mobility for citizens. This benefits local governments, constituents and even tourists who visit your community. 

  • Why are small businesses vital to the local economy? 

Local businesses bring new residents and attract tourists to your community, in turn bringing funds and money straight into your local economy. When citizens have reliable jobs in local businesses, they have more money to spend and the cycle of 

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Tags: Constituent Engagement, Government Efficiency, Constituent Experience, Digital Transformation