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Business friendly? Workin’ on that

How’d you like to have to fill out six different forms asking for the same information? Well, that’s what city officials say someone trying to open a new business in Evanston now has to do.

Members of the city’s Economic Development Committee Wednesday night learned that city staff members are working to try to cut that paperwork burden.

How’d you like to have to fill out six different forms asking for the same information? Well, that’s what city officials say someone trying to open a new business in Evanston now has to do.

Members of the city’s Economic Development Committee Wednesday night learned that city staff members are working to try to cut that paperwork burden.

Johanna Nyden, an economic development planner for the city, said that city department heads are getting together to see if they can come up with something like the common application form that colleges use — so applicants don’t have to provide the same data over and over.

And while it’s his first week on the job, Evanston’s new community and economic development director, Steve Griffin, told the committee he can already see some additional ways to simplify the process for would-be business owners.

He said he’s considering setting up an "early assistance" program under which department heads from all the units involved in approving business applications could hold workshop-like sessions once or twice a week to meet with applicants and their architects or other consultants.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, who currently chairs the committee, praised the efforts, saying she hoped it will help "make ourselves business friendly in ways we haven’t been before."
 

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