Best government Web sites: SBA's Business.gov
Imagine you want to open a restaurant in Laurel, Md. What forms would you need to fill out, and what permits must you obtain? A trip to Business.gov would provide you with all the information you'd need. Just enter your ZIP code and the type of business you'd want to start, and it returns a page with pointers to the appropriate tax permits, entity filings, insurance requirements and even requirements for hiring workers.
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Business.gov is a great example of a Web site that goes beyond just posting information to helping visitors execute the tasks they set out to do.
Although launched in 2004, Business.gov has stepped up from being just an outlet for SBA ' which runs it in a partnership with 21 other federal agencies ' to being the business-facing component for all of government. Considering that, in 2003, businesses and individuals spent about 8.2 billion hours filling out paperwork, a site that helps ease the task is welcome indeed.
Recently, the site was broadened to include information from more than 9,000 state, local and municipal agencies. It also has an embedded Google Maps function showing the locations of local offices that offer assistance.