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New site highlights small businesses

Austin City Council Member Sheryl Cole announced the launch of a new program designed to draw attention to local small businesses.

ExploreLocalAustin .org is a Web-based program that will initially highlight 275 businesses in five distinct districts throughout the city. The program uses a mapping application to highlight local business owners in each of the five areas through a video interview. Users can search for retailers and consumer services.

The five initial areas were chosen because of their heavy concentration of small businesses. The goal is to eventually expand the program citywide.
“Austin loves our local businesses and I wanted to make sure that we are doing more as a city to highlight our small business owners who contribute jobs and tax base to our city,” says Cole. “As people are deciding how to spend their limited dollars this holiday season, they need to see all the terrific local retailers we have and know that for each dollar spent, more of that money stays right here in Austin.”

Areas included in the initial phase are East 11th and 12th Street, South First Street, Guadalupe Street, North Loop, and East Sixth Street. Some of the criteria for a business listing include having less than 50 employees, providing merchandise or services to the general public, and having a physical storefront for a customer to visit.

The city’s Small Business Development Program created the site. It has been live since the end of October and has already had more than 5,000 hits.

*source-Austin Business Journal