FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
CommerceConnect business assistance initiatives in Austin and Dallas are two 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 Austin and Dallas, Texas – two 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.
Newly cross-trained Commerce staff working in existing local department offices are beginning to assist Austin and Dallas 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 Austin and Dallas regions 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.
“Austin is known for its innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, so it is only appropriate that the Department of Commerce would choose Austin as the next home for its CommerceConnect program,” said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett. “It can assist our Central Texas entrepreneurs and small businesses in accessing important information and assistance.”
“Small businesses are the engine of job creation in this country, creating 65 percent of the new jobs,” U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith said. “Yet, rather than bend to small business’ needs, Washington too often rigidly demands that small business bend to Washington. CommerceConnect aims to help job creators navigate the government bureaucracy and find available services. Austin was recently ranked the top city in the U.S. for economic potential and small business development, and I hope that CommerceConnect will serve as a resource for our local business owners and entrepreneurs.”
Last September, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the opening of a permanent CommerceConnect office in Pontiac, Mich., after the successful pilot program 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 has expanded 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, Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle, New York, Boston and Kansas City.
Businesses in the Austin and Dallas areas interested in working with CommerceConnect specialists can contact the CommerceConnect Call Center at 1-888-728-4190 or visit www.CommerceConnect.gov.