Can Census data make for smarter startups?
- By Derek Major
- Sep 11, 2015
Thinking about starting a small business? The Census Bureau has an app for that.
The Bureau on Sept. 9 unveiled Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition -- a web-based tool to help entrepreneurs and small business owners leverage local demographic data when researching where and whether to open a new business or expand an existing one.
According to the Bureau, the tool uses demographic data from the American Community Survey, the economic census, County Business Patterns and other economic surveys to paint a detailed business profile of a given area. It also uses third-party consumer spending data.
Census Business Builder's features include easy-to-use menus to select type of business and potential locations; an interactive map that allows selection of the area to explore for business opportunities, including comparisons to neighboring areas; and dynamically generated, downloadable and printable county and city-level reports. Those reports include trend charts that can be used for business plans, loan applications and other business needs.
The app was created with user needs in mind, Census officials said. Small business owners, trade associations and other government agencies were consulted during the design and development process.
“Census Business Builder brings together demographic and economic data, which are invaluable resources for those looking to start or expand a small business,” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said in a statement. “Our new tool is also helpful for anyone interested in learning more about their community.”
The app currently focuses on 49 distinct industries, including construction, health care, food services and retail.
Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.