No responses: Jeremy Schroeder, John Quincy
Describe how you see the small business climate.
Erica Mauter: Ward 11 has a mix of business (mostly retail) on commercial corridors, retail and offices in neighborhood interiors, and people who work from home. What I’ve heard from residents is that they’d like to see more small commercial nodes in neighborhood interiors (everyone wants to be able to walk to a coffee shop), and I believe there are ripe opportunities for those nodes and on our main streets for planned development of both business and additional residential space.
There are great disparities between minority owned and white businesses in Minneapolis. Entrepreneurs and businesses of color face disparate challenges in everything from access to credit to navigating city licenses and regulations. What policies do you think are needed to increase minority and immigrant owned business ownership and success?
Erica Mauter: I strongly support cooperative ownership models for a number of things, including businesses. The city must commit to achieving its existing procurement goals for businesses owned by women and people of color. A community-wealth-building approach necessitates that the needs and wants of business owners in different parts of the city looks different, is tied to those places (e.g., the North side), and we should determine, honor, and empower how small businesses want to be a part of a place-based economic ecosystem.
Cities can do many things to support locally owned businesses. What ideas do you have to support locally owned businesses in Minneapolis?
Erica Mauter: I believe Minneapolis must be a sanctuary in every sense of the word. Supporting workers, immigrants and refugees, people of color and indigenous people, and our most marginalized residents - with living wages, worker protections, safe and healthy housing, affordable child care, universal health care, etc. - make for both a stronger workforce and a stronger customer base.
What work have you done in your career to date to support locally owned businesses?
Erica Mauter: As an individual and as an Executive Director, I prioritize patronizing businesses and working with vendors that adopt worker-friendly policies, that are locally-owned, and/or are owned by women and people of color.
Would you support strong proactive outreach to businesses to inform them about earned sick and safe time, minimum wage, and other labor regulations?
Erica Mauter: Yes, absolutely. I think our ward in particular and our community more broadly would benefit from proactive engagement on all sorts of topics. Buy in from business owners is important in adopting strong worker-friendly policies; it’s important to understand and be proactive about addressing implementation challenges.