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Small Business Study for City of Austin

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City of Austin Needs Assessment

AUSTIN, TX – The City of Austin’s Economic Development Department has launched the 2021 Small Business Needs Assessment and is encouraging local business owners across the city to participate at Beginning in August, the City partnered with Austin-based Distance Learning Media, LLC (DLM) to manage the 2021 study with a public survey link and a citywide outreach campaign designed to reach as many local small business owners as possible. The goal is to engage businesses of all sizes, representing every industry, across all city districts.

“The City of Austin wants to help local businesses recover from the pandemic downturn and prepare for any future economic disruptions,” explains Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, Acting Director for the Economic Development Department. “As with past studies, we are asking business owners to tell us what types of business education services and resources they need. And, for this study, we are especially interested in the services and resources they need to recover from the pandemic and adjust to the new ‘normal’ of doing business”.

“Austin is home to tens of thousands of small businesses and we’re working to reach as many of them as possible for this study,” says Distance Learning Media Co-founder and COO, CJ Niehoff. “We want input from all kinds of businesses because the more we can learn about how they have managed through these last two years, the better our City leaders will be able to plan for supporting those efforts as we move past the pandemic.”

There are several ways local business owners and organizations in Austin can participate:

Take the Survey
The City wants to hear from all kinds of small business owners, from Mom & Pop shops, Freelancers, Musicians, Makers, Artists, Gig Workers – all the voices of Austin small businesses and entrepreneurs. Go to to take the survey. It only takes a few minutes.

Attend a Virtual Event
There are 5 virtual events currently scheduled to gather input from local business owners to help the City determine what types of classes, events, and resources are most valuable to the local business community. Small business owners from any industry are invited to participate. Virtual event dates and times are listed below. Registration is required to participate. Event information and sign-up instructions are available at

  • Tuesday, August 24 from 2 – 3 p.m.
    Small Business Focus Group + Topics for Restaurant & Food Service
  • Friday, August 27 from 2 – 3 p.m.
    Small Business Focus Group + Topics for The Arts & Creatives
  • Wednesday, September 1 from 1 – 2 p.m.
    Small Business Focus Group + Topics for Travel & Tourism
  • Thursday, September 9 from 2 – 3 p.m.
    Small Business Focus Group + Topics for “Green” Eco-friendly Businesses
  • Tuesday, September 14 from 2 – 3 p.m.
    Small Business Focus Group + Topics for Musicians & Music-related Businesses

Share a Success Story
Some local businesses found success while making the “COVID-19 Pivot”. This program will seek out those stories in hope that sharing them will help other businesses adapt to the changes brought about by a global pandemic.

Encourage Others to Participate
Local organizations and influencers with reach into the local business community are encouraged to share the needs assessment survey and event information far and wide.

Any local business owner can attend any virtual event. Each session includes special industry-specific topics for key groups that have been highly impacted by the pandemic, including restaurants, music, the arts, and tourism. Results of the 2021 Small Business Needs Assessment will
help shape the City’s roadmap for providing business education to local businesses over the next several years.

More information about the needs assessment study, the online survey, and upcoming virtual events are available at

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About the City of Austin Economic Development Department
The City of Austin Economic Development Department supports business growth, creative industries, and local communities. These programs build an equitable, sustainable economy to improve the lives of all Austin residents. To learn more about helpful resources, visit or like us on Facebook @AustinEconDev and follow @AustinEconDev on Twitter.