SBA's new portal portrays OMB's idea of e-gov

SBA's new portal portrays OMB's idea of e-gov

SBA's Jim Van Wert, left, and Hector Barreto, center, and OMB's Mark Forman introduce the portal BusinessLaw.gov at the National Press Club.

The Small Business Administration has become the first agency to accomplish one of the goals of the Office of Management and Budget's 23 approved electronic-government initiatives. Through its newest Web site, aimed at helping small companies understand and comply with regulations, SBA will combine the resources of federal, state and local governments to provide a one-stop shop.

The site, at www.businesslaw.gov, has more than 20,000 links to federal, state, local and legal organizations throughout the country and was put together in a combined public and academic effort.

The Web portal is the first piece in the e-gov Business Compliance One-Stop project, for which SBA is the lead agency.

'The bulk of the government's day-to-day transactions are done with small- and medium-sized businesses,' said Mark Forman, OMB's associate director for IT and e-government. 'The portal looks across all levels of government, and that is what the leadership initiative is all about.'

Forman said the site is an example of using technology to drive information down to the customer.

'On average, there are 19 different departments or agencies servicing any one line of business, but there is only one customer,' he said, 'and the customer doesn't care where the regulation comes from, they just need to be aware of it.'

Click for resources

BusinessLaw.gov consolidates and indexes links to sources of information in 39 topics, ranging from licensing and permitting to e-commerce and exporting.

The site also offers state and local information such as hiring laws and tax statutes. Information for each state is broken down into 12 categories.

'Because it provides interagency and intergovernmental information arranged by subject, Businesslaw.gov will simplify the way government at all levels interacts with small businesses,' SBA administrator Hector Barreto said.

SBA and its field offices collected the state information and teamed with the Cornell University and Kansas University law schools to incorporate some of the legal features.

In-house developers programmed the site using ColdFusion from Macromedia Inc. of San Francisco, and the data resides in a database management system from Sybase Inc. of Emeryville, Calif., on Unix servers. The site cost $100,000 to build and was in development for more than a year.

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