Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Small Business Initiative

Currently potential small business owners must submit information to several different departments within the City of Raleigh in order to meet the requirements necessary to open their doors for business. Streamlining these steps will not only help small business owners get their companies up and running more quickly and efficiently, but it will also create local jobs for Raleigh’s citizens.

So today at City Counci (watch the video at 1:36), I introduced the following "Small Business Initiative" which was well-received by the Council and will be voted on next week. In light of the upcoming thousands of lay-offs from the State, now is the time
for the City to make sure that we are making the process of opening a new business accessible, simplified and as hassle-free as is safely possible. People need to know that Raleigh is open for business!

I. Establish a Small Business Office within City Government

Navigating what is required to open a small business in Raleigh can be confusing and frustrating. There needs to be a place in City Government where small business owners can go and have an advocate. A single point of contact where they can go to learn all they need to do, coordinate inspections, and streamline the permitting process necessary to open and expand a small business in Raleigh.

II. Establish a Small Business Commission

A nine member Commission made up of small business owners and those who assist small businesses. Their charge will include identifying issues, challenges, and problems facing small business in dealing with the City, to mentor prospective small business, and give direction to the City’s Small Business Office.

III. Engage Citizens and Coordinate Private Small Business Assistance.

Some of the smartest people in the world have chosen to make Raleigh their home, and we have a number of non profit organizations dedicated to assisting small business. The City should do more to engage the enormous talent we have here and help coordinate all the private assistance available to small businesses.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Water Conservation and Efficiency Fair

Next week, the City's Public Utilities Department will host the first Water Conservation and Efficiency Fair. The event will take place at Nash Square on Wednesday and Thursday, the 22nd and 23rd from 10am-3pm, and will be free of charge and open to the public.

The event will feature product demonstrations, information of local water conservation issues, and product giveaways. There will also be booths set up to distribute information on high-efficiency products that are new to the marketplace, as well as water conservation tips.

In the event of rain, the fair will be moved inside of the Avery C. Upchurch Complex at 222 W. Hargett Street! For more information, plase contact the city's Public Utilities Department.

Monday, June 13, 2011

President Obama's Visit Today!

Today I am honored to represent the City of Raleigh during President Obama's visit to Cree to discuss job creation, economic growth and the role of energy-efficiency technologies. The president will also meet with his Jobs and Competitiveness Council to discuss ways that the government and businesses can work together to create jobs and spur the economy.

In 2010, Cree was awarded $39 million to purchase new equipment to add capacity and capability to lower production costs of LED chips and fixtures.

President Obama has said that building a rosbust clean energy sector is how we will create the jobs of the future. I couldn't agree more, and I am so excited to see our region be a leader in that process!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Great Weekend in Raleigh!

What a great weekend in Raleigh! As all of you know, this was a big and busy weekend for Raleigh. Rise Up Raleigh was held Friday night, and turned out to be a huge success! Thank you to all of those who attended and made a donation, and thanks to all of the sponsors and musicians who put together such a great evening. More than $21,000 has been raised for the victims of the April 16 tornadoes, and donations will be taken until June 9. It has been very impressive, and also very touching, to see our community come together to help those in need. Rise Up Raleigh did a fantastic job of celebrating that effort and community spirit!

Also this weekend, CityCamp was held. It too was a huge success! What I enjoyed most about CityCamp was working in small groups to discuss using technology as a tool for governments. The potential is unlimited! We are very fortunate to have such a strong foundation for an emerging technology industry in the region. I hope that Raleigh will continue to explore the potential for technology as a tool, and continue to lead the way in innovation! CityCamp was a great way to encourage that process. Thanks to everyone who made CityCamp happen!

I hope everyone enjoyed the busy weekend as much as I did!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Memorial Day!

This Memorial Day, I was able to join Summerfield North again for their great Memorial Day parade! I had a great time! Summerfield North is a great North Raleigh neighborhood, with more than 500 homes. Each year, they do a wonderful Memorial Day Celebration with special guests like McGruff the Crime Dog and Muddy the Mudcat (among others)! A special thanks to Mike Hicks, neighborhood president, and Meredith Thorpe for inviting me to participate.

Also, in the spirit of Memorial Day, thank you to all of our troops, armed forces personnel, and their families for your incredible sacrifices and commitment to our country.