City of York Council’s community innovation campaign GeniUS! has opened its next challenge to the public, addressing the development of small businesses in the city.
Since the launch of the scheme in January this year, over 30 great ideas have been put forward in addressing various issues affecting the city, and the council hopes that this challenge will follow suit. In 2011 alone, York experienced a 9.9% increase in the creation of small businesses (bringing the number of businesses up to 1,661 compared to 2010’s 1,511). As York is ranked in one of the top ten cities in the country for a qualified workforce, and is the UK’s second most recession proof location for property, it is understandable why businesses chose the city as a place to start-up. The council has taken this into consideration, including this challenge as one of the four main topics of development in the genius project. This particular challenge is the last in the series posed by GeniUS!, and if the scheme proves to be a success, it could be eligible for the £250,000 award from NESTA (National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts).
The council asks for any ideas and suggestions from the community in how the council can work with smaller businesses more effectively and overcome any barriers smaller businesses may face. Similarly, the council also asks those in smaller businesses and entrepreneurs to come forward themselves with suggestions on how to make it easier to approach them. In identifying this as a barrier in itself shows that the challenge recognises that it can be daunting for smaller businesses when starting out, especially when approaching larger, more complex organisations, meaning that the council is concerned not only with developing businesses, but also with offering more general practical help.
Chief executive of York city council Kersten England, states that “the GeniUS! platform is a great way for people to share their ideas around the issue and [shows that] the council is committed to taking the best forward.”By giving the community a platform to have a voice, people can become involved with issues affecting the city on a more first-hand basis. The website also ensures that their views are heard and considered, as the panel behind GeniUS! will take all ideas and suggestions into consideration before agreeing to push one final decision forward.