Miami Beach creates ‘welcome wagon’ to lure businesses
Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales has received approval from commissioners to launch a welcome program for new businesses moving to town, with 10 initiatives to help newcomers settle in and keep familiar faces happy.
Commissioners accept recommendations proposed by the Finance and Citywide Projects Committee. Mr. Morales is now in charge of launching programming, two town hall meetings, and organizing funding from the economic development department. The economic development department will tap its budget development fund to support programming.
Topping the list of the welcome program’s 10 initiatives is the search for a dedicated staff.
The team, once selected, will oversee a database titled New Business Welcome Tool Kit that provides businesses with a guide on the regulatory system and services available. Think: online licensing and permits.
The other online tool to become readily available, the MB Business Directory, points the way to products and services provided by other local businesses. The platform acts as an advertisement for existing businesses but also creates the opportunity for newcomers to fulfill their needs at arm’s length.
The team will also offer to introduce new businesses on the city’s communications print and digital channels for three to six months. The program also adds to the agenda the active encouragement of businesses to introduce themselves in community events, such as town hall meetings.
The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce is to play a role in the welcoming program. The chamber is to provide discounted memberships for special occasions as well as conduct ribbon cuttings and networking events for business owners.
The agenda benefits existing businesses too.
First, the program’s staff will be expected to discuss with familiar faces and newbies what challenges their operations face, whether they be social media or lease negotiations, and brainstorm solutions. The program will also be working with Miami Beach Senior High School to nurture aspiring student entrepreneurs.
Second, incoming staff are expected to consult expert volunteers, such as retired business owners and executives, for tips on how to assist the business community.
Third, a small business investment program is under discussion.
Finally, the welcome program is looking towards the future. One component focuses on encouraging small businesses to relocate to Miami Beach. The agenda doesn’t detail whether that means searching for potential movers from the mainland or opening the door to a state-level or nationwide search.