More than 80 businesspeople showed up at the Westside Police Service Center on Thursday to hear what government and local nonprofits can do to help small businesses.
Attendees of the "Tucson Means Business" forum learned about Small Business Administration loans and counseling, resources for businesses affected by transportation projects, and changes in the city's permitting and licensing processes, among other things.
"This is really nice, helpful to be here," said Cecilia Sahm, who recently opened Morning Sky Salon. "I was feeling really isolated."
She said she would definitely pursue some of the resources she heard about at the meeting, including getting a green-business certification for the salon. "I had no idea they do that," she said.
Among the recent changes the city has made to become more business-friendly is hiring a small-business ombudsman, Maricela Solis, who is the primary contact for small businesses at the city.
Officials judged the event - one of a series held by various City Council offices - a success. There was more interest in the information session than they could accommodate.
"We had to cut (registrations) off because of the fire code," said Linda Mehall, executive assistant for Councilwoman Karin Uhlich, who hosted Thursday's forum.
Another dozen people called but had to be turned away, she said.