WE ALL BENEFIT FROM A STRONG LOCAL ECONOMY
Locally owned businesses are a pillar of community health and success
- Small business ownership allows entrepreneurs to achieve financial growth and independence
- The existence of strong local businesses provides jobs and improves income inequality in communities
- Local businesses tend to require fewer resources and infrastructure than malls and chain stores
- Diverse, unique, locally-sourced products attract tourism and encourage shopping local, both of which stimulate spending within the community
- Pedestrian-friendly business districts reduce the need for driving to shop, reducing vehicle emissions and traffic
46TH WARD CHALLENGES
Our ward is home to one of the most diverse small business communities in Chicago, but existing and would-be business owners face many challenges.
46th Ward Businesses Face an Uphill Battle
Rising rents and property taxes have priced many local businesses out of the neighborhood. 46th Ward entrepreneurs also lack the necessary resources to maximize their potential and promote their unique offerings to a wider audience.
Barriers to Entry for New Business
Financing, tax, zoning, and leasing policies currently benefit chains and big-box stores instead of local entrepreneurs. This disproportionately hurts minority and women entrepreneurs.
New Development is Not Prioritizing Ward Interests
Large-scale development projects aren’t being held accountable for hiring and sourcing locally or for sharing profits with the community.
SUPPORTING & PROMOTING EXISTING BUSINESSES
Policy That Works for Local Business
I propose a Business Diversity Ordinance that would require chain businesses to apply for special dispensation to rent in the ward.
As Alderman, I would advocate for Small Business Benefits Reform to create a comprehensive benefits package including, but not limited to, property tax relief, sales tax holiday, greater access to capital and attractive incentives to increase youth employment opportunities
Easily Accessible and Comprehensive Business Resources
The 46th Ward needs a virtual Small Business Resource Center that, in collaboration with our chambers of commerce, provides easy-to-use guides to navigating local business concerns such as zoning, permitting, and licensing.
I would move as many processes, like sign permitting, online to Streamline Local Business Operations such as moving sign-permitting online.
As Alderman I will be committed to setting an example to prioritize our ward economy by Soliciting Local Businesses for ward office operations and projects.
WELCOMING & ADVOCATING FOR NEW 46th WARD BUSINESSES
Smoothing Out Barriers to Entry
It should never be more financially beneficial for a landlord to keep an empty storefront. I would work with state and local lawmakers to Abolish the Vacancy Tax Credit and would go even further to push for Benefits for Renting to Minority and Women-Owned Businesses.
Neighborhoods with a diversity of building types and ages have more startups. I would push for Zoning Policies that Prioritize Small-Business-Friendly Buildings.
I would also propose a new Specialized Retail Corridor for our neighborhood’s African-owned businesses to highlight our ward’s cultural heritage and to draw outside interest to our businesses in a similar way that Argyle and Devon streets do for Vietnamese and Indian businesses respectively.
Fostering Local Entrepreneurship
Chicago is home to a vibrant entrepreneurial community and incubators. As Alderman, I would work to Channel Chicago’s Entrepreneurial Resources toward putting our small business entrepreneurs in the best position to succeed.
MAKING NEW DEVELOPMENT WORK FOR THE 46TH WARD
Development for Local Business
I propose we offer Development Incentives for projects that will benefit local business, especially women and minority-owned businesses. We should also Require Portions of First Floor Space in New Developments be Set Aside for Local Businesses.
It is imperative that new development projects come with a Comprehensive Community Benefits Agreement that ensures projects hire locally and that their profits go back into the community.