Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Jun 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

OpenCounter Goes Live

blog opencounterFRESH DIRT > The city’s new online business hub is up and running

The new online portal OpenCounter, a system that streamlines the process of applying for business licenses, permitting and other legal startup requirements, went live on the City of Santa Cruz's website Wednesday morning, Jan. 9. The launch was celebrated by a small group of city officials, business owners and tech professionals at Cruzio Coworking in Downtown Santa Cruz. 

The system enables users to enter their business information and then see the details of what they must do to implement their plan, greatly cutting down the confusion that is often associated with the bureaucratic requirements for starting a business.

OpenCounter organizes an entrepreneur's business information, which was previously written and filed by hand, and delivers it to the right departments at the city in the correct sequence to maximize efficiency.

In partnership with the San Francisco-based public service nonprofit Code for America, the city worked to develop OpenCounter throughout 2012, says Peter Koht, economic development coordinator for the city.

“It's really a way to discover the [business application] process dynamically,” he says. “You give it answers to questions, you're served the requirements you need to start your business and you're given an idea about the whole process. And at the end, all that information is sent to planning.”

Koht, who took a lead role on the project and worked with people from Code for America to see it through, describes working with the nonprofit as one of the most positive experiences of his career.

Code for America Tech Strategist Joel Mahoney compares OpenCounter to TurboTax, the popular program that walks people through filing tax returns.

“It has simplified an incredibly complicated process and helped walk people through it in a really intuitive and user-friendly way,” he says.
Santa Cruz City Councilmember David Terrazas, who participated with the technology task force that led up to adopting the OpenCounter plan, says it's a game changer for entrepreneurs.

“It cuts through a lot of the bureaucracy,” he says. “Instead of putting it on the prospective business owner to go to different [city] departments, this brings the departments to them.”
The city issues between 210 to 230 permits a year, and Koht hopes the new system will cause those numbers to go up.

“Maybe we'll see more because it's a lot easier to apply for now,” he says. “It's still an experimental process to have this resource out there, but my thought is that it's really going to improve people's ability to get the information they need to start businesses.”

Peggy Dolgenos, co-owner of Cruzio, say she believes OpenCounter will encourage more entrepreneurs to choose Santa Cruz as the place to start their businesses and also incentivize growing businesses to stay local.

“We'd really like to get some of that Silicon Valley spillover in Santa Cruz,” she says.  Dolgenos hopes OpenCounter will help that to happen.

“It's a very intuitive process,” she says of OpenCounter. “It's all laid out on a platter.”

To access OpenCounter, visit opencounter.cityofsantacruz.com.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

I Was a Teenage Deadhead

Memories of life on tour, plus the truth about that legendary Santa Cruz Acid Test

 

I Build a Lighted House and Therein Dwell

Wednesday, June 24, Chiron turns stationary retrograde (we turn inward) at 21.33 degrees Pisces. We usually speak of “retrograde” when referring to Mercury. But all planets retrograde. Next month in July, Venus retrogrades. What is Chiron retrograde? Chiron represents the wound within all of us. Wounds have purpose. They sensitize us; make us aware of pain and suffering. Through our wounds we develop compassion. Through compassion we become whole (holy) again. Chiron helps develop these states of consciousness. Everyone carries a wound. Everyone carries family wounds (family astrology tracks the astrological “DNA” through generations). Chiron wounds are deep within. We’re often not aware of them until Chiron retrogrades. Then the wounds (through pain, hurt, sadness, suffering) become apparent. They seem to break us open emotionally, psychologically. Painful events from the past are remembered. They are brought to the present for healing. Through experiencing, talking about and deeply feeling what is hurting us, healing takes place. We begin to understand and bring healing to others. All week, Jupiter and Venus move closer together in the sky. They meet in Leo at the full moon, Cancer solar festival, on Wednesday, July 1. The Cancer keynote is, “I build a lighted house and therein dwell.” The soul’s light has finally penetrated the “womb” of matter. The New Group of World Servers is to radiate this light. At the end of each sign are keywords to use and remember during the Chiron retrograde.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of June 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Kickin' Chicken

Local kitchen alchemist Justin Williams is fast becoming a cult flavor master. His late-night wizardry, which began last fall delivering mainly to starving UCSC students, is catching on with taste buds beyond campus. Kickin’ Chicken delivers its spicy-sweet fried chicken and waffles to Westside residents between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. nightly. Or you can catch him and his brother and sister, Candice and Danny Mendoza, serving it up at their “Sunday Mass” at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge at 1001 Center St. in Santa Cruz. Using sous vide, a French method of cooking chicken in a water bath at a tightly controlled temperature, they then flash fry it for an amazingly crispy coat. Candice Mendoza spoke to GT about Kickin’ Chicken’s rise.

 

What’s a creative new approach to addressing summer beach litter?

Robotic dogs, with duct tape on their paws, that walk around picking up litter wherever they go. Joaquin Heinz, Santa Cruz, Barista

 

Pelican Ranch Winery

The most popular red wines found on store shelves are also those most commonly known, such as Pinot, Zinfandel and Merlot. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Pelican Ranch Winery’s Cinsault ($19), it opens up a whole new world. Cinsault is a grape that can tolerate heat, so it is found in countries with warmer climes such as Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, and France. It’s rare in California but grows well in places like Lodi—Silvaspoons Vineyard in this particular case—where it’s hot and dry. Often used as a blending grape, the silky Cinsault is just fine on its own.

 

Open Wide

Soif’s soft reboot leads to expanded menu, plus the ‘thinking woman’s ketchup’