A Structure for Success

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Earlier this month, we discussed how fragmentation forces our communities to compete with each other and leaves us without a region-wide economic development plan. Under this structure, we all lose.

But one group is hit especially hard when it comes to the challenges of fragmented economic development: small business owners and entrepreneurs.


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Unnecessarily Unclear

St. Louis has long dealt with stagnant growth. Fragmentation creates barriers for start-ups and small businesses, hurting individual citizens and our community as a whole.

  • There are 90 different ways to license a business in the St. Louis region, most of which can’t be completed online.
  • Inspection processes differ from city to city, and requirements are often hard to find.
  • It is unnecessarily difficult to start a new business, particularly for vulnerable community members. Immigrants have repeatedly shared with us that they had a very hard time figuring out how to get a business license.

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Real Challenges for Real People

We’ve spoken to small business owners all around the region about how our government structure affects them. At a recent community outreach event, we talked with John. 

John is a St. Louis County resident and an HVAC technician who repairs in-home heating and cooling systems. When he goes on a house call, he travels in and out of municipalities. And every time he enters a new municipality, he has to either spend half a day at their city hall getting a new business license or risk operating illegally, just to make a living. 

To small business owners, time is money, and our inefficient system wastes time and money every day.


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A Streamlined Solution

A unified St. Louis would allow us to centralize business services, making entrepreneurship in our region easier.

  • Clear procedures and requirements would reduce barriers to entry for businesses of all sizes, promoting innovation and economic vitality
  • One set of business regulations would enable us to offer a streamlined, modernized process to obtain a business license and to work throughout the region more efficiently.
  • Uniform and lower regional taxes would increase national competitiveness and simplify compliance.

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Get Involved
  • Let’s get together - Gather some friends, learn more about a united City and County, and get creative making messages to engage other St. Louisans. Sign-up to host a party here.
  • We’ll come to you - We’ve spoken to dozens of groups around town since the release of our recommendations. Request a presentation from our team here.
  • Support Better Together - Educating our community about the path to a more efficient and equitable St. Louis will require resources from around town. Lend your support here
Thank you for your engagement and support!
-Team Better Together STL