SBA launches ‘Startup in a Day’ initiative.

By Maria Contreras-Sweet, SBA Administrator

Maria Contreras-SweetWhen I started my businesses, it was overwhelming. I had to set up a legal structure, find office space, learn local zoning laws, apply for multiple licenses and permits, and navigate a maze of city, county, state and federal requirements before I could even open my doors.

The process shouldn’t be so difficult and time-consuming.

That’s why I’m proud to join the White House in announcing the launch of our Startup in a Day initiative, in alliance with the National League of Cities. 

This month, I joined President Obama in calling on our colleagues at city halls across the country to make a powerful pledge to streamline and consolidate all of the processes required to start a business into one, easy-to-use online tool. Our goal is to enable America’s entrepreneurs to discover and apply for all city, county, state, and federal licenses and permits needed to start a business in 24 hours or less.

Research shows that mundane red tape is among the biggest obstacles for startups – even more onerous than tax compliance, according to a survey sponsored by the nonpartisan Kauffman FoundationDownload Adobe Reader to read this link content.

While business licenses and permits are absolutely necessary to promote public health, worker safety, and a level playing field, we can make them easier and faster to acquire.

In fact, we already are. Eleven pioneering mayors have already taken the Startup in a Day pledge. They’re using their leadership positions to digitize and consolidate local licensing and permitting requirements for their entrepreneurs.

Our goal is to reduce a process that can take weeks or even months into one that takes less than a day. Success in this endeavor will free up entrepreneurs to spend their precious time developing their products, finding new customers, and growing their enterprises – rather than wading through red tape.

I’m encouraging more cities, large and small, as well as Native American communities to join this movement and take this pledge.

For our part, the SBA is offering significant prize money to help local leaders create tools to make good on the pledge. We’ll also be working hard here in Washington to streamline federal requirements for startups.

The SBA is hosting two prize competitions to encourage municipalities to create or implement a Startup in a Day online tool. The first contest will award up to 25 prizes of $50,000 apiece to cities that create or implement a solution that will make it easier for entrepreneurs to apply in less than 24 hours for all licenses and permits needed to start a business. The second prize competition will award $250,000 to a winning applicant that creates an open-source solution that can be adopted by other jurisdictions.

Small businesses are our nation’s primary engines of job creation. They create two out of every three net, new jobs and employ more than half of the country’s private-sector workforce. When we make it easier for new businesses to get started, we’re ultimately making it easier for them to grow and hire.

So please join me in encouraging cities to join the Startup in a Day movement, take the pledge, and eliminate obstacles to small business job creation Together, we can make the process of starting a business faster and easier.

For more information, please visit or e-mail the Startup in a Day team at

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