As national experts in regulatory reform, our team has conducted extensive research on the process of starting businesses in over 20 cities and partnered with city governments and community stakeholders to implement responsive legislative and regulatory solutions.

Washington, D.C.

Cities Work is a nationwide expansion of “District Works,” our initiative dedicated to working with Washington, DC’s small business owners to identify key barriers to economic opportunity. A top priority identified among many barriers was the District’s unnecessarily complicated and costly business licensing and start-up process. Partnering with small business owners, District council members, and other stakeholders, we achieved a series of reforms that make it cheaper, faster, and simpler to start a small business.


Cities Work is currently partnered with the Philadelphia Department of Commerce and Pew Charitable Trusts to address barriers to small businesses posed by complex and lengthy permitting processes.

Fort Worth

Fort Worth is a hub for small businesses, and our collaboration with the Fort Worth Small Business Task Force is dedicated to making their entrepreneurial ecosystem even stronger.


In August 2022, a council member hosted a hearing dedicated to Barriers to Business, at which Cities Work presented our research findings and reform recommendations. We are currently organizing a series of entrepreneur roundtables alongside local partners to ensure that reform ideas for Boston’s start-up process are coming from the ground up.

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Cities Work is an Institute of Justice Activism initiative.