MetroIBA Public Policy Committee has compiled the following small and local, independent business needs as input to cities 2040 Comprehensive Plans. This information has been shared with Minneapolis and St. Paul city staff and planning committees and will be reinforced during the coming draft and public comment stages of the process. The committee’s goal is to partner with MetroIBA members to provide this input to all cities where MetroIBA has a member presence.
Members are invited to make their voices heard in support of your small and local, independent business needs. Feedback to this document is requested.
MetroIBA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting locally owned, independent
businesses in the Twin Cities region. Our mission is to help the Twin Cities maintain its unique
community character, provide continuing opportunities for entrepreneurs, build economic
strength, and create an environment where locally owned, independent businesses grow and
Small businesses interact with the city planning process in a wide array of ways. The following
are priorities we hope you will consider as you move forward in the comprehensive planning
Increase access to affordable commercial spaces for a diversity of local small
● Require new developments on active business corridors to include commercial space on
the first floor.
● Require property owners of commercial spaces to look for local business tenants and
create a local preference when making lease decisions.
● Incentivize renting out spaces rather than holding them vacant. This could come in the
form of a vacant space fee when a commercial space has been vacant for more than a
● Assistance to small businesses that want to buy the building they are leasing, including
technical support and low-rate financing.
● Promote local control of property and development projects in creative ways like
Investment Co-Ops, helping to find local investors, and more. Local owners have a very
different mindset than developers and non-local investors who are building/investing with
the goal of selling to national real estate investors.
Make it as easy as possible for employees to get to work
● Preserve light industrial and other business uses in the city and near transit corridors.
● Expand our public transit system and evaluate hours of operation on select lines to make
more workplaces easily accessible for a larger base of employees.
Support small, local and independent businesses
● Maximize local procurement for all city purchases. As much of our city purchases as
possible should be spent at independent local businesses that are creating jobs and
investing in our community.
● Increase access to capital for small businesses through programs that help business
owners surmount hurdles often presented by banks that are not in our community
interests. This could include a revolving loan fund that does not go through a typical
bank approval process.
● Support entrepreneurship with programs to help people start small businesses including
maker spaces and other incubator space, and actively help people in these programs
grow their businesses to scale and find new spaces in the city.
● Expand and promote programs to defer SAC charges for new businesses. SAC charges
shouldn’t be a barrier to getting new businesses started.
● Provide assistance to small businesses that are investing in improvements to make their
businesses more accessible for ADA compliance.
Proactively reach out to the small and local business community
● Dedicate staff time to active outreach to small business owners to increase awareness
about existing programs and help more people start and grow their businesses here.
Support should not go exclusively to a select few who know the right person to talk to
and the right question to ask.
● Treat small business owners as the key community stakeholders that they are. Include
small business owners and not just property owners on required outreach about