COVID-19 relief options and additional resources

SBA Announces Winners of First Ever Start-Up in a Day Competition

Release Date: 
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Release Number: 
Advisory Date: 
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Mark Gibson

ATLANTA – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today announced 28 winners of the first ever Startup in a Day Competition, totaling $1.6 million in cash prizes.  Atlanta named in the Start Small Model Prize category. 

The winners are located in 19 states and the District of Columbia, representing a wide array of cities and Native American communities.  Startup in a Day is an initiative announced by President Obama earlier this year designed to help cities and Native American communities streamline the licensing, permitting, and other requirements needed to start a business in their areas, with the goal that an entrepreneur can apply for everything necessary to begin a business within one business day.  Cities were encouraged to take a public pledge to commit to these goals, and were invited to apply for funding through two SBA prize competitions.  At the time of the announcement in June, eleven cities had agreed to the Startup in a Day pledge.  Today, more than fifty additional cities and Native American communities have taken the pledge.

When announcing Startup in a Day, President Obama said, “I’m calling on city halls across the country to join the initial 11 mayors in a simple but powerful pledge to entrepreneurs and small business owners: If you want to start a business, we’ll make it so easy to navigate the license and permitting system online, that you’ll be off and running within 24 hours.”

“When I started my businesses, it was overwhelming,” said Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, head of the SBA and member of President Obama’s Cabinet.  “I had to set up a legal structure, find office space, learn local zoning laws, apply for multiple licenses and permits and navigate a maze of city, county, state and federal requirements before I could even open my doors.  That’s why I’m proud to join the White House in announcing the winners of the Startup in a Day prize competition as we work to make it easier for entrepreneurs all across the country to get started.”

Two levels of prizes were announced today.  The first level consists of 27 prizes of $50,000 through the “Start Small” competition.  These prizes were awarded to 25 cities and two Native American tribes in order to help these communities develop a streamlined, centralized business formation platform.  The final prize of $250,000, was awarded to the city of Los Angeles, California, through the “Dream Big” competition.  Los Angeles will use the prize money to create an open source solution that will be replicable and scalable on a broad basis.  The SBA reviewed more than 100 applications, and applicants of both competitions were awarded priority points for being rural/non-metropolitan, high poverty, a Veterans Economic Community, and/or a Promise Zone. 

New business formation in the U.S. is experiencing a decades-long decline, with entrepreneurs citing red tape as a chief obstacle. The U.S. ranks 46th—down from 41st last year—on ease of starting a business, according to the World Bank.

SBA has created a prize competition to help our nation’s cities simplify the licensing process so entrepreneurs can startup in a day. Technology now makes it easy and inexpensive to create online license and permitting tools that meet SBA’s Startup in a Day challenge. The online tools we are encouraging with this prize competition will help more of Americas entrepreneurs apply for all permits and manage the application process from a single online interface.

The SBA is conducting the Startup in a Day initiative in partnership with the National League of Cities (NLC), which represents thousands of municipal leaders around the country.  Following the awarding of prizes, the NLC will lead a group of winners to share best practices and build community development and implementation of startup solutions. 

Cities are still encouraged to get involved by taking the Startup in a Day pledge.  Please visit for more details or e-mail to learn how to become involved.

Start Small Model Prizes

City & State

Anchorage, Alaska

Asheville, North Carolina

Atlanta, Georgia

Austin, Texas

Boise, Idaho

Boston, Massachusetts

Brookings, South Dakota

Burlington, Vermont

Champaign, Illinois

Jackson, Michigan

Long Beach, California

Memphis, Tennessee

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Oakland, California

Peoria, Illinois

Riverside, California

Rockland, Maine

Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Rutland City, Vermont

Salt Lake City, Utah

San Francisco, California

Seattle, Washington

St. Louis, Missouri

Washington, District of Columbia

Wilmington, Delaware


Native American Communities

Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation

Choctaw Nation


Dream Big Model Prize

City & State

Los Angeles, California