Philadelphia, PA – Today, Mayor Cherelle L. Parker signed the PHL Open for Business Executive Order 10-2024 outlining the Parker Administration’s commitment to creating a business-friendly government that removes regulatory burdens, accelerates approval timelines and further streamlines City permit and licensing processes. This initiative will make it easier for businesses of all sizes and in all neighborhoods to access guidance, assistance, resources, and financial programs.

The Executive Order also renames the Office of Business Services as the Mayor’s Business Action Team. This change underscores the Mayor’s commitment to having all City departments work as one to resolve challenges faced by individual businesses. Housed in the Department of Commerce, the Mayor’s Business Action Team provides one-on-one assistance to businesses that need help navigating City services and connects them to resources. The PHL Open for Business initiative is spearheaded by the Department of Commerce in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Policy Planning and Delivery and all City departments that impact businesses in Philadelphia.

“Since day one, I have expressed my commitment to strategic interventions that address economic disparities, enhance business activity, and build an equitable economy that fully leverages the talents and potential of residents across Philadelphia. The PHL Open for Business initiative is a key pillar of delivering on that promise, with progress underway,” said Mayor Cherelle L. Parker. “We are creating a new way for businesses to interact with City Hall by cutting through the maze of confusing, duplicative regulations that too often hold local businesses back. Together – as One Philly, a United City – we are working diligently to enhance a thriving economy that benefits all people who live, work, and do business in Philadelphia.”

Mayor Parker envisioned the PHL Open for Business initiative after listening to businesses share their experiences navigating City processes while on the campaign trail and throughout her years as a City Councilmember. With the PHL Open for Business Executive Order, Mayor Parker is following through on her commitment since day one to implement strategies that make it easier to do business in Philadelphia.

“The Executive Order signed by Mayor Parker today reflects her commitment to addressing longstanding challenges and delivering results that matter to entrepreneurs across the city,” said Alba Martinez, Commerce Director, City of Philadelphia. “PHL Open for Business is about accelerating business growth through user-friendly, clear and efficient government services. We are committed to helping businesses save time and money, while improving access to services and operating at the speed of business. In line with this commitment, we will pursue opportunities to leverage technology to further enhance our services, transitioning to a paperless operation wherever possible, streamlining processes and reducing environmental impact. The Mayor’s Business Action Team will support businesses in multiple languages by providing one-on-one assistance and connecting them to a wide variety of resources. Within 30 days, we will launch a specialized unit within the Mayor’s Business Action Team to accelerate the resolution of challenges with City permits, licenses, taxes and payments. We will also institute a customer satisfaction survey to ensure our improvements align with the experiences of businesses across Philadelphia.”

“We are committed to making it easier for frontline staff to assist businesses with more accessible processes by reducing burdensome business requirements,” said Karen Fegely, Deputy Commerce Director, Office of Policy and Strategic Initiatives. “Building on the City’s Permit Navigator and Business Resource Finder, our team is working closely with the Mayor’s Office and all City departments to tackle the complexities that businesses face when navigating City government. In the first 100 days of the Parker Administration, we inventoried 96 permits, licenses, certifications and registrations that the city requires for 53 different business types. We identified pain points and inefficiencies and will now pursue solving these challenges with a solutions-oriented mindset for businesses to start, operate, relocate to and remain in Philadelphia.”

“In the analysis, we found that the five business types that require the most approval steps are all food businesses, averaging 23.6 steps to open and operate in Philadelphia,” said Sophie Bryan, Chief Policy Officer overseeing the Mayor’s Office of Policy Planning and Delivery. “For this reason, PHL Open for Business will focus on the experience of food businesses first. Simplifying the process of obtaining a food license includes decreasing the number of steps required of the business owner, as well as improving access to USDA food safety certification for entrepreneurs for whom English is not a first language. We aim to improve processes for handling commercial trash and recycling that food businesses need, and to ensure credit card and other digital payments are accepted across City platforms. Undoubtedly, many of these improvements will benefit non-food businesses as well.”

Effective upon Mayor Parker’s signing, the PHL Open for Business Initiative is set to provide quarterly reports to the Mayor on service levels, services that have been improved, feedback from businesses, and projects in the improvement process pipeline. The Project will include the Department of Commerce, the Mayor’s Office of Policy Planning and Delivery, the Managing Director’s Office, the Office of Innovation and Technology, Licenses and Inspections, Health, Procurement, the Mayor’s Business and Intergovernmental Roundtables, the Office of Minority Business Success, and all other departments that impact businesses in Philadelphia. PHL Open for Business requires an all-in government effort – including working in partnership with the City Council on changes requiring legislative action. Philadelphia is open for business.

View photos from the PHL Open for Business Press Conference here.