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Blueprint for Business

Cutting Red Tape and Supporting DC Entrepreneurs

June 7th, 2021

By Brooke Fallon and Alex Montgomery


Starting a business in DC is expensive, confusing, and time-consuming; and many entrepreneurs find it difficult or impossible to turn their business dreams into a reality. The current regulatory process is so complex that it is confusing for business owners to navigate and for agency staff to enforce. This results in lost revenue, frustration, and negative interactions between residents and government officials. It also creates an unfriendly environment for business that drives entrepreneurs to explore opening up shop in Virginia and Maryland instead. 

Blueprint for Business: Cutting Red Tape and Supporting DC Entrepreneurs reveals the cost, time and stress of getting a business up and running in DC and underscores the need for reform—especially as so many recover from the personal and financial burdens of the pandemic. 

Blueprint for Business recommends that government officials address three critical areas of reform: 

  • Streamline the licensing process by cutting the number of license categories in DC Code and continue removing outdated forms and steps. 
  • Lower licensing, registration, and permitting fees to open opportunities for aspiring business owners of modest means. 
  • Improve communication and transparency between agencies and entrepreneurs and create a true one-stop shop for starting a business in the District. 

Blueprint for Business shows that Mayor Bowser and DC Council can continue to make progress together to scale back unnecessary paperwork and remove unfair burdens that trip up entrepreneurs. They can create a blueprint for DC to not just recover, but also to become a better place to work and do business than ever before. 

June 2021

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