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Local & Regional

Board Wants to Add Online Portal to City Resources for Tulsa Entrepreneurs

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The City of Tulsa recently published online English and Spanish guides to doing business in the city, and a city board wants to add a data-driven component.

The guides lay out legal requirements, available incentives and other aspects of doing business in the city. The Economic Development Commission is setting up an online portal that will map data on industry types, economic patterns and demographics so business owners can see where they might want to locate.

"Ideally, we want it to be easily accessible, easy to navigate and something that kind of pulls you in rather than something that frustrates you and you quickly leave," said city Chief of Economic Development Kian Kamas.

The portal will be modeled after ones in cities like Seattle, San Francisco and New Orleans. It will also gather data on the types of businesses people want to start from what they search for.

"Within city hall there’s natural processes that people have to navigate, so we can help them do that, but then also working with our partner organizations to make sure that they also understand where is there a lot of interest from a business growth or business development perspective," Kamas said.

EDC member Elliot Nelson wants the portal to show properties’ existing permits so business owners can avoid applying for one if they don’t have to.

"So long as you aren’t changing any life safety or bathrooms, you could go in and paint and do everything else that you want to do without having to go back through that process. And so, a lot of people add extra time and costs to their projects when they don’t necessarily need to," Nelson said.

The EDC will spend up to $15,500 on the Web portal and hopes to have it up and running by late this year.