Open for Business with CfA

Today, the City of Syracuse is excited to announce the launch of its Business Portal, now live at

This project was a collaboration led by the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development, in partnership with the Office of Innovation and Code for America. It received input from nearly every department and bureau within the City and, most importantly, from business owners and residents.

This tool makes it easy to find all information about starting a business in Syracuse. Whether you need basic information to start your first business, or you are just checking on the status of a permit for your fifth business, you can find it here. Additionally, it is mobile-friendly with easy-to-understand language.

The City partnered with Code for America, an organization that helps build “services that are simple, effective, and easy to use, working at scale to build healthy, prosperous, and safe communities.” Their work is well-respected across the country, and we are fortunate to have worked with them on this project.

We like this tool for a few reasons:

  • Susannah wrote a piece about human-centered design last week. The team from Code for America used the same methodology to ensure that the Business Portal was built with community and City staff input so that it would meet our specific needs. Often times, websites are built for governments without the same considerations, and end up being difficult to navigate or don’t include appropriate information. This process addresses those issues.

  • The Business Portal is modeled after Long Beach, California’s BizPort. Building on ideas from other communities is a core belief in this office. The website is also open source, so other communities can build upon it and make it their own.

  • It supplements some of the work we are doing with Economic Opportunity. We have learned that oftentimes information about government services is not centralized or easy to access. This tool can serve as a model in our work.

In future weeks, we’ll detail some of the finer details of the tool, but for now, take a look and tell us what you think!