FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 7, 2011
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
CommerceConnect business assistance initiative in Chicago is one of 16 to launch this year
Following the launch of its Michigan office last September, the U.S. Commerce Department’s CommerceConnect is expanding into the Chicago region – one of 16 regions where the service is being launched this year.
Announced in 2009 in Michigan, CommerceConnect is a one-stop-shop initiative in which Commerce Department employees are cross-trained so that they have the ability to connect firms to the full menu of Commerce programs and can link business owners with other federal, state, local and nonprofit resources. The effort is designed to cut through red tape and simplify access to services and resources that can help companies grow, create jobs and become more efficient.
Newly cross-trained Commerce staff working in existing local department offices are beginning to assist Chicago area businesses – no matter where they are in their life cycle, whether just getting off the ground or looking to expand into overseas markets – in collaboration with state and local partners.
“We are excited to expand CommerceConnect beyond Michigan so we can help even more U.S. businesses grow and create jobs in their communities,” CommerceConnect Executive Director Dennis Alvord said. “We look forward to working with companies in the Chicago region and leveraging our extensive resources to assist them in reaching their business objectives.”
Trained CommerceConnect specialists can assess clients’ business needs – whether it's access to capital, intellectual property protection, export promotion or guidance on how to make operations more efficient – and refer them to appropriate resources.
Last September, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the opening of a permanent CommerceConnect office in Pontiac, Mich., after a successful pilot program that served more than 90 companies and provided more than 300 referrals to nine different Commerce bureaus and 13 other Federal, state, local and non-profit partners throughout the region.
Since the launch of the pilot program, the CommerceConnect network is expanding to include not only a Michigan field office but also a growing contingent of cross-trained specialists in U.S. Department of Commerce field offices across the country, as well as a national call center and web portal. Last month, the Commerce Department announced CommerceConnect’s expansion into Philadelphia, the first city outside Michigan to have access to the program’s business assistance resources.
Chicago area businesses interested in working
with CommerceConnect specialists can contact the CommerceConnect Call
Center at 1-888-728-4190 or visit