The Business Corner: Mayor Parker is taking care of business

business Parker
City of Philadelphia

Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle L. Parker issued an executive order outlining the commitment of her Administration to creating a business-friendly government. As a business owner myself, this is welcome news and a breath of fresh air.

For this special edition of The Business Corner, we are focused on this initiative to make it easier to start and grow a business in Philadelphia.

On Monday, April 15, Parker signed the PHL Open for Business Executive Order. In the official press release, it was explained that “Since day one, I have expressed my commitment to strategic interventions that address economic disparities, enhance business activity, and build an equitable economy that fully leverages the talents and potential of residents across Philadelphia. The PHL Open for Business initiative is a key pillar of delivering on that promise, with progress underway,” said Parker. 

Mayor Cherelle Parker speaks Thursday, April 11, at an event marking her first 100 days in office at Russell Conwell Middle School in Kensington.JACK TOMCZUK

We have long discussed in this column the importance of focusing on marketing, sales initiatives, and ensuring a pricing strategy that will lead to a profitable business. 

However, in this city, there are many other hurdles to starting a business. 

For example, many food-related businesses must jump through hoops by obtaining many different permits and inspections just to get started. One restaurant owner told CBS Philly that they needed to take 26 steps to open and operate.

That is truly unacceptable today. Common sense, collaboration, and technology should lead us on a different path. 

This executive order will move us in the right direction. The PHL Open for Business Executive Order is seeking to put an end to all of that by reviewing the need for overlapping regulations and permits. 

What will the program entail?

Diverse Male and Female Warehouse Inventory Managers Talking, Using Laptop Computer and Checking Retail Stock. Rows of Shelves Full of Cardboard Box Packages in the Background.PHOTO: Getty Images

The goal of the program is to streamline the licensing and inspection process by removing time-consuming delays and ending outdated regulations.

This initiative will make the lives of business owners easy by creating a central source of information for business owners who have questions or are seeking clarity on the regulations that apply to their business. 

This will have the effect of giving business owners more time to focus on developing their business, instead of the administrative burdens that distract from that focus. 

Rather than spending hours at Licenses and Inspections and then heading over to the Health Department, this initiative will have those agencies at the table in one location.

Every three months, the project leaders will lead an ongoing process to prioritize a set of regulatory steps and business services for improvement. This will include engaging with businesses, business organizations, and front-line city staff to consider the following factors:

  • Importance to businesses
  • Implications for public health or safety
  • Equity in current service delivery
  • Resource allocation
  • Positive spillover effects

Also, the Office of Business Services has been renamed the Mayor’s Business Action Team. This office will review the licenses, permits, and other hurdles business owners may face.

Along with other steps the Administration has taken, including hiring Alba Martinez as Commerce Director, we are headed on a path to success. 

For the first time in recent memory, it seems we have a mayor interested in helping businesses avoid wasting time and grow their bottom line. 

Teresa M. Lundy is the principal and founder of TML Communications, the award-winning strategic public relations, crisis communications, and community engagement firm serving corporations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. Follow Teresa on Twitter @TeresaMLundy