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Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Cuts Ribbon on CommerceConnect, Department's First One-Stop Shop

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

202-482-4883

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Cuts Ribbon on CommerceConnect—Department’s First One-Stop Shop

New Center to make department’s services more accessible, help Michigan businesses be more competitive

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke opened the department’s first one-stop shop today in Plymouth, Mich., bringing together under one roof all the agency’s services to make it easier for local businesses and entrepreneurs to access them. Locke announced the opening of the new facility, named CommerceConnect, at the Midwestern Governors Association Jobs and Energy Forum this morning and later held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center. Today’s event marked the secretary’s fifth trip to Michigan since becoming Commerce secretary.

“The Commerce Department offers tremendous resources for businesses, but too few businesses take advantage of these and other government services because there is no GPS for navigating the bureaucracy,” Locke said. “CommerceConnect will provide a single point of contact where businesses can access the full array of Commerce programs available to them.”

CommerceConnect will be staffed by specialists trained on the broad range of programs the department offers. The one-stop initiative, first unveiled by Locke in June, is focused on integrating Commerce Department programs to help businesses at every point of their life cycle, and the staff there will act as case workers for individual businesses that seek assistance. Roger Kilmer, director of the department’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, is leading the effort.

Manufacturers from around Michigan met with government officials in July to discuss industry needs and work with officials as they developed the one-stop shop initiative. The Commerce Department hosted representatives of 12 Michigan companies in a roundtable discussion held at the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, now the site for CommerceConnect.

CommerceConnect experts will be responsible for assessing a business’s full spectrum of needs, whether it's access to capital, intellectual property protection, export promotion or guidance on how to make operations more efficient. The office will be a partner for Detroit area business owners and entrepreneurs, allowing them to leverage several different federal programs at once to help companies grow and create jobs.