(Washington, DC) – Starting a new business in the District of Columbia just became much easier after the release of the new DC Business Licensing Portal on Tuesday.
The beta.business.dc.gov portal, launched by the DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) and Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP), in coordination with seven other DC agencies, creates an easy to follow, interactive checklist of requirements to start a new business and tracks your progress throughout the process.
“We want to make sure this is customer-centric,” said Shirley Kwan-Hui, DLCP’s interim director, to a group of business association leaders, small businesses, and tech executives at a Valentine’s Day themed event dubbed ‘DC Love Businesses.’ “What do you want to do, and what are the requirements for business licensing so you can start or maintain your business? It’s no longer about which agency does what — it’s about what you need to do and we’ll show you the checklist.”
The portal currently supports seven business license categories: bars and restaurants, grocery stores, retail shops, landlords, vacation rentals, nonprofits, and other types of businesses. With more to be added in the coming months, the first seven categories represent 80 percent of all licenses issued in the city.
The portal also has benefits for existing businesses. You can add your businesses or businesses to a personalized dashboard which will track upcoming licensing and registration renewal dates, alert you to new rules and regulations, and will soon send you friendly reminders via email and text message.
The portal also uses DLCP’s current identity management system, so businesses who already current licensing applications can log in now without needing a new account.
DC officials said the portal, which was stood up in about 9 months, is an effort to support entrepreneurship to support DC’s post-pandemic comeback.
“Sometimes it’s hard to find you are looking for,” said Lindsey Parker, DC’s Chief Technology Officer, and Assistant City Administrator for Internal Services. “As we think about our comeback, small businesses are the engine of our economy, and we need to make it easier for them to do business.”
Kwan-Hui and Parker both said while much progress has been made, there are no plans to slow down.
“Our goal is to be the number one place to start, maintain and grow your business, and we’re just getting started,” Parker said.
New releases, expanded features, and making sure businesses are aware of the new portal are currently underway. For more information, visit beta.business.dc.gov.