Saint Paul Leaders Announce Open for Business Initiative

New initiative builds on existing efforts to grow small business opportunities

SAINT PAUL – Mayor Chris Coleman, Councilmembers Noecker, Prince and Thao, and other city leaders today announced Saint Paul’s Open for Business initiative, which builds on existing efforts to create an attractive climate in Saint Paul for businesses to open and flourish.

“Saint Paul is a hot place to start a business,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “The Open for Business initiative makes the process of starting a business in Saint Paul easier. This initiative, created through a collaboration of small businesses and the City of Saint Paul, gives entrepreneurs the best chance to succeed, create jobs, and grow the vibrancy of Saint Paul.”

Open for Business is a one-stop shop for businesses to start up and grow in Saint Paul. The Open for Business pocket guide, released today by the City of Saint Paul, is available in hard copy and online in multiple languages and includes critical information for aspiring business leaders.  The initiative also includes an online portal with resources for businesses, including details about everything from permitting and inspections to financial resources and technical assistance.

The initiative was launched last summer by Councilmembers Rebecca Noecker, Jane Prince and Dai Thao. Councilmembers and city staff conducted listening sessions with more than 50 small business owners that identified the need for more streamlined processes, better communication and improved customer service. The production of the pocket guide to opening a business in Saint Paul is one result of those listening sessions.  

“My husband and I long dreamed of opening a restaurant in Saint Paul, and this spring that dream was realized with the opening of La Costa,” said Judy Lopez, owner of La Costa Mexican Sports Bar and Grill. “We are proud Saint Paul business owners, and we are grateful to the City for helping us realize our dream.”

Open for Business also includes internal City efforts to streamline processes and increase cross-departmental coordination to create a seamless process for businesses to get off the ground. The City is also expanding the role and better publicizing the existence of the Project Facilitators in the Department of Safety and Inspections.  These individuals guide business owners through any questions in the building review and approval process.

“Economic development is critical to our success as a city – and it all starts with helping our neighborhood businesses succeed,” said Councilmember Rebecca Noecker. “Open for Business is our commitment to put customer service first and bureaucracy last. I’m proud of all we’ve achieved in its first year and this is just the beginning.”

“The Pocket Guide to Opening a Business in Saint Paul – in four languages – is a real breakthrough for us,” said Councilmember Jane Prince.  “With great graphics and plain language, it makes our regulatory processes much more accessible and user-friendly particularly for our new immigrant communities. Improving the business climate for new entrepreneurs will only make our city stronger.”

“St. Paul is always searching for opportunities to make entrepreneurs and businesses more successful than anywhere else,” said Councilmember Dai Thao. “I believe Open for Business is a tool that will elevate our existing businesses, create new ones, and increase tax revenues for the city."

Open for Business is an essential element of the Saint Paul Department of Planning and Economic Development’s Economic Development Strategy, laying out goals and strategies for economic growth through 2018. This plan outlines a framework to create jobs and increase access to those jobs for residents; grow the tax base to maintain and expand City services, amenities and infrastructure; and lower unemployment among the City's diverse populations with disproportionately high unemployment rates.

“New businesses have a lot of decisions to make, and there is plenty we can do to simplify the start-up process,” said Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce President B. Kyle. “Open for Business is an exciting set of resources that truly reflects Saint Paul’s commitment to fostering a friendly business environment.”

Find many of the resources online at


Last Edited: October 31, 2017