2021 Initiative

Local Economic Opportunity


at the local level

America’s cities are facing unprecedented challenges. With small businesses shuttering and many out of work, leaders are searching for new and innovative ways to rebuild our cities from the ground up. Small businesses will play a key role in our nation’s recovery, but too often, job-creating entrepreneurs get stifled by confusing rules and high fees that prevent them from starting the businesses of their dreams and hinder local economic growth.    

City leaders and advocates can change this and the Institute for Justice (IJ) is here to help. IJ has combed through city codes across the country, searched for best practices, and interviewed entrepreneurs to learn what its like to start businesses in their cities and towns. Weve created a roadmap for local officials and advocates looking to enact policies that will break down barriers for entrepreneurs and pave the path to recovery. 

Explore the opportunities we have identified below, scroll down this page to learn more about how we can help, and contact us to discuss tailored policy solutions that can address these issues in your city.  

Are you an advocate for entrepreneurs in your community? Click here to learn how you can get involved!

How We Can Help 

City leaders can advocate for entrepreneurs by removing regulatory obstacles, and IJ can help.  

IJ is a nonprofit law firm that works alongside city officials to:   

  • Research requirementsWe research what it takes to start a business in cities, including all of the steps and costs. We can also share best practices we have learned from how other cities dealt with similar policy issues. 
  • Conduct surveysWe host roundtables and compile feedback from entrepreneurs with first-hand experience navigating your city’s rules.  
  • AdvocateWe work with agencies and councilmembers to enact regulatory and legislative changes that truly make a difference for entrepreneurs. 

We have extensive experience assisting jurisdictions that recognize the critical role small businesses play in creating vibrant neighborhoods where people want to live and work: 

  • With IJ’s help, Mississippi reformed rules that required hair braiders to obtain unrelated cosmetology licenses. By 2016, more than 2,600 braiders had registered with the state.   
  • In DC, lawmakers collaborated with IJ to ease restrictions on cottage food entrepreneurs. These home-based bakers can now sell their goods directly to customers online and at neighborhood retail stores 
  • Miami officials are reimagining ways to support business owners, working with IJ to research and visualize the process of starting a business in the city.   
  • IJ’s team worked with Chicago recently to reform the way the city permits pushcarts and mobile boutiques to better accommodate those temporary or seasonal businesses. 

These reforms, which ease the cost of doing business, are possible in your city, too. And IJ is here to help. Contact us below for tailored recommendations on how your city can create jobs, streamline requirements for starting a business, and increase local food access. 

[templatera id=”343″]