PORTLAND – Several new economic development initiatives, ranging from a business visitation program to a streamlining of the city’s permitting process, were introduced at a press conference Wednesday.

The initiatives, based on the city’s economic development plan, are designed to spur economic growth and create jobs.

“For the city of Portland to realize its full potential, we need to be working in concert with one another. Whether it’s the Chamber (of Commerce) or a neighborhood group or a business just starting up, we need to realize that we share the same goals because our quality of life goes hand in hand with our economic prosperity,” said Mayor Michael Brennan in a statement.

Brennan said one way for the city to get feedback from its business community is the Business Visitation Program. Under the program, Brennan and members of the city’s economic development team will visit at least two businesses a month.

“Hearing directly from local businesses is key as this feedback helps city and community leaders better understand the needs and concerns of the business community,” Brennan said.

The mayor said he wants to streamline the city’s permitting process. Portland hired a consultant to look at ways the city can improve its development application and permitting processes.

Brennan also announced the launch of the Business Assistance Program for Job Creation. The program will offer grants of up to $20,000 to businesses for projects that spur job creation. The jobs should benefit low- and moderate-income Portland residents.