City of Miami Launches eStart, New App to Simplify Business Licensing

Published on January 26, 2021

Two people smiling while looking at computer, ready to start a business online

The City of Miami today announces the launch of its new eStart mobile-friendly web app, which allows users to apply for business licenses from the convenience of their smart phone or computer. The new tool is designed to help entrepreneurs more easily open new businesses in the City of Miami, and it comes online as Miami’s push to become a major hub for technology businesses gains momentum.

“Last year, I challenged our administration to make it possible to open up a business in Miami from a phone, and with the launch of eStart today, we have delivered on that pledge,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. “Miami has always been a city – and an economy – underpinned by entrepreneurs and small businesses and eStart will ensure that future businesses of all sizes can open their doors even more easily.”

The new eStart platform simplifies the business licensing process by providing users with step-by-step web content that explains the process of opening a business in the City of Miami. Along with providing a clear breakdown of the process, eStart also simplifies the steps that a business must take to secure its license by merging the Certificate of Use and Business Tax Receipt application into one form, eliminating duplicative data entry for users and city departments.

“We’re proud to launch eStart this week and we’re confident it will make it easier to open a business in the Magic City,” said Mike Sarasti, Chief Information Officer for the City of Miami. “A lot of hard work by our team went into this effort and there’s more to come, as our aim is to make continuous improvements to eStart. Future iterations of eStart will include special guides such as ‘Moving your tech business to Miami’, ‘Available incentives’, and more.”

Mr. Sarasti and his team in the City’s Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) worked diligently over the past year – and despite the interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – to create the new mobile-friendly web app. The DoIT team worked on developing the platform in partnership with the City’s Zoning and Code Compliance departments, and with OpenCounter, a well-regarded technology firm that specializes in providing permitting technology to public sector agencies.  User input was also fundamental to the development process, particularly in its earliest stages. Before launching into technology development with OpenCounter, DoIT used its in-house Miami Innovation Academy process to collect valuable feedback from users, partner with foundations and local partners, and work with other City departments to streamline existing processes.