Guide designed to assist local economic development efforts

Burlington’s Business Toolbox aims to streamline the process owners must go through to establish business in the city.

By Ed Nadolski

Editor in Chief

In an effort to create a streamlined guide for local businesses looking to expand or locate in Burlington, a city committee has created a document dubbed the Burlington Business Toolbox.

The full City Council got its first look at the completed guide on Jan. 16.

The goal, according to City Administrator Carina Walters, is to assist businesses in navigating a process that typically requires myriad contacts and legwork.

“If we can be a little more efficient and help someone through the process, that’s our goal,” she said. “I think it will also be a nice checklist for (city officials).”

More importantly, Walters added, the guide – which has the subtitle of: “Starting and Growing Your Business in the City of Burlington” – has the potential to help the city stand out from other communities looking to spur economic development.

“Let’s face it,” she said, “not many communities have this type of pamphlet.”

The toolbox will be available on the city’s website and will be distributed to electronically and in print to area real estate professionals, developers and financial institutions.


Strategic planning process

The guide has its genesis in an initiative derived from the city’s Downtown Strategic Plan process over the past two years.

In a memo to City Council members Megan Watkins, the city’s director of administrative services, wrote: “(The) committee was charged with the development of a ‘how to’ guide to help business and property owners navigate city policies, procedures and financial incentives to assist with starting and/or expanding a business.”

The committee, which is comprised of aldermen, business owners, brokers, real estate agents, developers, and other community members, met several times to review similar materials from other communities and align the goals of the toolbox with the priorities identified in the Downtown Strategic Plan.

Using that guidance and input from city officials in various development-related departments, Watkins compiled the 22-page guide.

“The Burlington Business Toolbox provides current and prospective property owners access to local, regional, and state resources to assist with jump-starting a new business, expanding an existing company, and supporting business relocation,” Watkins wrote in a summary of the guide. “(It) is designed to provide an understanding of the different facets involved in opening a business within the city and ensure a business owner is on the right path to success.”

To read the full story see the Feb. 8 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.