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U.S. Commerce Department's CommerceConnect Expands Into Kansas City

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 31, 2011
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
202-482-4883

CommerceConnect business assistance initiative in Kansas City is one 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 Kansas City, Mo. – one 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 Kansas City 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 Kansas City area 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.

“One of the most important tasks of government – especially during a time of high unemployment – is to make it easier for businesses to prosper and to create jobs,” said U.S. Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-4), whose district includes the southern suburbs of Kansas City. “This effort to cut through red tape can only be beneficial to job creators. I hope businesses and job-seekers in the 4th Congressional District will benefit from CommerceConnect’s expansion into the Kansas City area.”

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 and Boston.

Kansas City area businesses interested in working with CommerceConnect specialists can contact the CommerceConnect Call Center at 1-888-728-4190 or visit www.CommerceConnect.gov.