Josh Davies is running for Denver City Council At Large. A training executive in the hospitality field for over 15 years, Josh is also actively involved in the Denver community and is passionate about making Denver the best place to work, live, and play.
Presently, he serves as President of the Lower Downtown Neighborhood Association, and is also a member of the Downtown Denver Partnership’s Transportation and Development Council. and is also a member of the Downtown Denver Partnership’s Transportation and Development Council. He is an active volunteer throughout the community, working on behalf of organizations such as Mile High Montessori, the Samaritan House, Cherry Creek Arts Festival, Concerts for Kids, and Share Our Strength.
He earned his BA in Communication, Law, Economics, and Government from American University. In 2007, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Foodservice by the North American Food Equipment Manufacturers Association for his contributions to the foodservice industry. He lives in downtown Denver with his wife, Lara. They enjoy the city by running and biking on the trails, walking their neighborhood, and cheering on the Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets, Avs, Mammoth, and Rapids
Josh – if elected to serve as City Councilman at Large, you, like the Mayor, will represent all of Denver. As you have seen on the campaign trail, there is a lot of struggle right now – citizens are either out of work or they are helping their friends and family who are unemployed. What role does the City play in helping the unemployed get back to work?
You are right – everyone I talk to on the campaign trail has a story about the unemployment crisis. I think the answer is fostering small businesses to grow and expand and encouraging new innovation through entrepreneurship.
Eighty percent of the job growth over the past five years has been from small business and we need this trend to continue. Small businesses not only provide opportunities for unemployed people to find and start new careers, they also lend character and provide services to our neighborhoods.
What are the biggest challenges for local small businesses right now?
Small business is the key to big change. They want to grow and they want to hire more people to help them with that growth! Fostering our own small businesses not only has the most immediate impact on the local economy, it is also the best way for individuals to create their own long-term economic security.
But right now, the challenge for small businesses is the one-two punch of tight credit markets and increasing operating costs.
I’ve talked to a lot of small business owners and they agree that the most workable strategy is to remove barriers to entry and increase support of our local entrepreneurs. We need a fresh view at the way the city both licences and supports small businesses.
There are common fears and intimidations for anyone who decides to become an entrepreneur. One of the stereotypes of City government is that the red tape and the hoops you have to jump through are an obstacle, not a helping hand to starting a new business or expanding a small business. Is that a fair criticism of City government and how would you change it?
One good example is the Bureau of Excise and Licence, where the city issues more than 90 different business permits! Last year the City Auditor benchmarked other cities and found that the average number of licences that other cities issued was 30! Clearly we need to see if we still need all of the red tape and regulations in today’s world. The horror stories from local businesses who get caught up in construction and opening delays as well as exorbitant extra costs only because of the heavy hand of the red tape of Denver city government can be really outrageous.
What are other creative ideas would you like to see happen to help jumpstart new business and entrepreneurs in Denver?
While streamlining the city helps, the biggest hurdle to entrepreneurship in Denver is also the lack of capitol. While the city can better utilize the two existing funds they distribute, the real key to success is getting outside partners. Existing venture capitol and angel investors are looking for new opportunities – they want to invest in the next best thing! Often, the local entrepreneur doesn’t have access or connections to these investors and I believe, that is where the City can help. The city can set up a matching service, similar to an entrepreneurial eHarmony, that can pair up start-ups and small businesses with investors who are looking for a particular sector or level of risk. Finding new ways for the city to work at developing partnerships is a foundation of my campaign, and key to jump-starting small business and innovation in Denver.
To learn more about Josh Davies, go to http://www.daviesfordenver.com