Columbus Small Business Strategy

Columbus, Ohio

The Columbus region is one of the fastest growing regions in the Midwest, has experienced strong growth in knowledge-based sectors such as tech, finance, and healthcare, and continues to position itself as a strategic logistics hub.

At the same time, disparities still persist in terms of neighborhood conditions and access to opportunity, especially in its core urban neighborhoods.

Recognizing the importance of inclusivity and upward mobility as a critical component to neighborhood-level economic development, the City of Columbus hired Next Street to conduct a small business and entrepreneurship ecosystem assessment to identify citywide barriers and opportunities for equitable small business growth.

A key component to this analysis was identifying industry clusters that offer the most opportunity, and fewest barriers to entry, for People of Color-, Women-, and Immigrant-owned businesses.

Our Approach

As part of the Next Street project team, Development Strategies added a neighborhood-level context to the ecosystem analysis by mapping small business concentrations by cluster, identifying potential areas of disparity based on race, income, and other socio-economic measures, and highlighting land use patterns, as well as conducting a scan of real estate market trends.

Development Strategies also conducted a benchmarking analysis, which included a comprehensive peer city selection methodology and compared selected peers based on a series of economic, small business, inclusion, and entrepreneurship metrics.