By Luther Turmelle New Haven Register, Conn.
The Connecticut secretary of the state's office has launched an online Business Startup Tool to offer entrepreneurs a more user-friendly way to access state and federal agencies.
Av Harris, a spokesman for Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, said some of the material included in the Business Startup Tool already was on the agency's website, but in a different location.
The Business Startup Tool was launched Monday and Harris said its purpose is "linking business people to the information they need."
"We've put it in a format where they can get what they need all at once," Harris said.
Merrill said in a statement that her office has made great strides in making it easier for businesses to make required filings with the agency.
"Successful businesses mean more profits, more capital flowing into our economy, and more jobs created," Merrill said in a statement.
"With today's technology, the public rightly expects government to provide more services and information online. The Business Startup Tool is a useful way to integrate regulatory information from various government agencies and present it in a simple way to entrepreneurs to help them cut through the government red tape and get to work."
The online business startup tool lists direct links to the Connecticut Departments of Consumer Protection, Energy and Environmental Protection, Labor and Revenue Services, as well as the Connecticut Licensing Information Center.
It also connects entrepreneurs to the federal Small Business Administration, Internal Revenue Service and Department of Commerce Patent and Trademark Office.
In addition to regulatory agencies, the online Business Startup Tool also has links to information on public and private sector business financing, as well as assistance for those planning to start companies.
Harris said business owners now can file their annual reports to the agency online, and even dissolve their company should it close. Filing the necessary legal papers that the agency requires of a new business owner still must be done with hard copy documents via mail, he said.
"We hope to have all of the business documents that are filed with this office available for online viewing by the end of April," he said. Making it possible go online and do all the filings needed to start a business "is still a work in progress," Harris said.