FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 25, 2011
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
CommerceConnect business assistance initiative in Seattle 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 Seattle – one of 16 regions where the service is being launched this year.
Announced in 2009, 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.
“Our ability to out-compete the rest of the world and win the future relies on the success of U.S. businesses,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “CommerceConnect streamlines businesses’ search for federal and local assistance so we can quickly connect them with the resources they need to grow, strengthen and succeed.”
Newly cross-trained Commerce staff working in existing local department offices are beginning to assist Seattle 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 to cities across the country 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 Seattle area 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.
“I applaud the CommerceConnect program for its vital work helping businesses create jobs, and we are excited to see this service expanding to Seattle,” said Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. “Especially for a small business or business start-up, it can be difficult to know where to look to find the right government or community resource that can help your business grow or become more efficient. CommerceConnect makes that process easy, enabling local businesses to instead focus on growth and creating jobs in our communities.”
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 9 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. In recent weeks, the Commerce Department has announced the expansion of CommerceConnect services into Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and today announced expansion into the Denver area as well.
Seattle area businesses interested in working with CommerceConnect specialists can contact the CommerceConnect Call Center at 1-888-728-4190 or visit www.CommerceConnect.gov.