After two and a half years, the city’s first small business concierge Ryan Schick is moving on to new ways to help the business community, but the position will remain as an integral part of the city’s resources.
Responding to feedback from small business owners, the city created the position in 2014 to act as a resource point and line of communication between the city and small businesses.
“It’s been an enormous pleasure to serve as the small business concierge,” Schick says.
His last day with the city will be December 31. Schick plans to help the next small business concierge transition into the position with two- to three-weeks of hands on training that aim to keep the momentum of the position rolling.
“We wanted to ensure all small business owners that there is a process in place and that we’re going to seek out to fill to make sure there is no void left in this position as best as possible,” Schick says.
The job will soon be posted on the city’s website.
“We look forward to an individual with fresh ideas, a passion for what we have already accomplished, and motivation to make this even better,” Schick says.
Throughout his tenure Schick has worked with food trucks, to retailers, to restaurateurs, to developers.
“By working with these people we’ve discovered, as Mayor Michael Coleman said, that the best practices start and end as a public-private partnership,” he says.
While a public position, the work of the small business concierge is privately driven. The concierge takes cues from the community and is able to use that voice inside city hall or with the mayor to affect change.
“Their ear has always been receptive and we’ve always looked for new and better ways to engage and assist in the community at large,” Schick says.
Awareness around the resource that is the small business concierge, continues to grow. Schick notes strong, steady website traffic and inquiries around their A-Z business layouts for opening salons and barber shops, restaurants or daycares.
It’s one of the many ways the concierge can help.
“If you need help with business plan, we can direct you to several city partners of entirely free resources,” Schick says. “If you need assistance acquiring equity, we have a variety of city-backed revolving loan funds at organizations like Increase CDC, Finance Fund and ECDI.”
Schick notes that as awareness has grown, it’s generally only one to two degrees of separation that somebody knows about the resources of the small business concierge. The goal is to continue that one-on-one contact the position provides and get connected to the right resources to deliver answers to small business owners as quickly as possible.
“What we’ve done is unprecedented and can only happen in Columbus, for we ultimately created a public role for private goals, and I believe that we all in the city can say with great satisfaction that it’s been a success and there’s more yet to come,” Schick says.
For more information, visit the City of Columbus website.