The Administration and staff continue to explore and implement best practices, programs and initiatives that leverage existing resources and partnerships, below is an update on activities since the March 22 FCWPC meeting:
- Creating dedicated staff to welcome, nurture and guide new and relocated businesses/industries.
a. As part of the FY 2019/20 Budget, staff submitted an operating budget enhancement for a business ombudsman to coordinate, welcome, nurture, and guide new, relocated and expanding business and industries.
- Creating an online New Business Welcome Tool Kit which provides easy access to the who, what, where, how to navigate through the City of Miami Beach regulatory system, programs, and services (e.g. checklists, online licensing, permits, etc.);
a. Staff is working to develop an online and print version on how start a business in Miami Beach, e.g. Business Startup Checklist.
b. Staff is drafting a business welcome letter to new business from the Mayor on behalf of the Commissioners and staff welcoming new businesses to the community. In addition, staff is drafting a letter to renewing businesses that thanks them for their ongoing investment in Miami Beach.
- Encourage the introduction of new businesses in community and committee meetings;
a. At the May 22, 2019 Commission presentations and awards meeting, the Mayor and Commission presented a proclamation proclaiming May 5th to May 11th as Small Business Week in the City of Miami Beach. In addition to, recognizing a local small business, Cheeseburger Baby, for receiving the 2019 Phoenix Award for Small Business Disaster Recovery from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
- Offer capacity building/information sharing workshops/meet-ups through the City and its partners. Explore developing a small business development curriculum to work with prospective, new and existing businesses on issues that impact their operations, e.g. business planning, access to capital, human resources, accounting, social media, lease negotiations, etc.;
a. On April 22 staff in partnership with WeWork Miami Beach held a capacity building workshop on “Navigating through City Services,” representatives from the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce and the city's building, planning and finance departments served as panelist. Commissioner Mark Samuelian served as the moderator. Over 30 business people attended the workshop.
b. On May 6, 2019 Mayor and Commission held a Small Business Town Hall meeting at the City Hall Commission Chambers. The purpose of this meeting was to develop and foster mutual understanding and a working relationship between small business stakeholders and gather feedback from the business community on how we could enhance our relationship going forward. Over 50 business people attended the meeting. Top business issues at the town hall were improving the Business Tax Receipt (BTR) process, improving customer service, creating a business ombudsman position, business retention, entitlement process and timing, and how to open a business in Miami Beach. Top business solutions discussed were creating a chamber handbook, cultivating a customer service centric approach “how can I help you,” streamline BTR process, develop a guide to open a business, and using the same inspector throughout permit process. Commissioner Ricky Arriola served as the moderator.
The Administration has already began work on revising and streamlining the BTR process.
An additional town hall meeting is being planned in North Beach. Following the town hall meetings, staff will continue to enhance current programs and initiatives and develop comprehensive strategies to address issues that were identified from the discussions.
c. On May 16, staff worked in partnership with WeWork Miami Beach to hold capacity building workshop on “How to Brand a Business.” Due to the inclement weather the workshop was postponed and rescheduled to Thursday, May 30, 2019, 4 p.m. at WeWork Lincoln Road. The panel will include representatives from the Small Business Administration, New Tropic Publication, Tropic Survival Advertising and Publication and Miami Beach Communications Department.
d. The City entered into a lease Moonlighter FabLab, a nonprofit organization, that serves as an education center and co-working space that encourages creative collaboration and innovation through empowering the community with affordable technical skills that lead to job creation and entrepreneurship.
e. Staff is working in partnership with the Small Business Development Center and the Office of Emergency Management to hold a Disaster Resiliency and Hurricane Preparedness Workshop in June.
- Explore opportunities to engage subject matter expert volunteers – retired businesses owners/executives could provide pro bono/volunteer business assistance for new businesses;
Staff has developed a partnership with the FIU-Small Business Development Center to empower business growth through one-on-one business counseling, capacity building workshops and training events for entrepreneurs, new and expanding businesses in Miami Beach, in addition to working with WeWork Miami Beach and the Chambers of Commerce to promote and delivery these programs to Miami Beach-based businesses.
- Create a Business Retention Program:
Staff developed this program to proactively connect with existing businesses to understand and respond to their needs, build stronger relationships and partnerships with the goal of retaining and strengthening Miami Beach-based businesses going forward. This enhanced focus will result in more businesses choosing to live, work, play and stay in Miami Beach. Staff initiated the business walk program by visiting businesses in the North Beach area and 41st Street corridor. To date staff have met with approximately 50 businesses. Next steps are to continue the business walk program and meet with the top employers throughout the city.