Mayor Faulconer, Councilmember Cate Launch of New Online Tool to Help Small Businesses


San Diego – Just days before Small Business Saturday and alongside an entrepreneur who recently expanded her business, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, City Councilmember Chris Cate and San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jerry Sanders today announced the launch of “OpenCounter,” a new online tool that makes it easy to start a business in San Diego.

San Diego’s new web portal at business.sandiego.gov takes what can be a daunting process of starting a business and simplifies it by showing where you can locate a business, what permits they will need and how much it will cost.

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“New businesses keep our economy growing, which is why the City of San Diego is committed to making the process as simple as possible,” Mayor Faulconer said. “Whether you’re opening a craft beer tasting room, starting a pet sitting service or launching a new software company, this website will you through the permitting process step by step.”


“As a former small business owner, I believe that just one more job, or one more customer, makes a profound impact. Open Counter, San Diego’s new portal, is a one-stop-shop for anyone who wants to start a business. I am proud to have advocated for this streamlined and innovative tool that will help local businesses succeed,” said Councilmember Cate.

The site offers its users a customized guide for an array of business types. It streamlines the City’s zoning and land use permitting process as well as its building and business tax receipt rules into a series of simple questions for the user to answer.


By moving this process online, the City will be able to provide personalized assistance to its community of entrepreneurs available 24 hours a day and give the City a new level of insight into local economic trends. This effort, spearheaded by the Economic Development Department, is one of a series of recent actions to support San Diego’s small business community.


“San Diego is the largest city to implement OpenCounter and city staff was our best ally to get this accomplished in a short amount of time,” said Peter Koht, the founder of OpenCounter.


San Diego is the latest city to use the OpenCounter platform. OpenCounter helps municipalities coordinate internal workflows and provide better service to the citizens that they serve. OpenCounter was piloted through a Code for America fellowship and has been supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.


“We know that the best government lets entrepreneurs do what they are good at – creating jobs, and that’s exactly what Open Counter will help them do,” said Jerry Sanders President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Having this tool available in San Diego is not just great for businesses in San Diego, it’s great for everyone, because when businesses thrive, everyone in the community benefits.”

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