FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 10, 2011
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
CommerceConnect business assistance initiative in Atlanta is one of 16 to launch this yea
Following the launch of its Michigan office last September, the U.S. Commerce Department’s CommerceConnect is expanding into the Atlanta metro area – 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 Atlanta 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 Atlanta 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.
“Having local access to CommerceConnect services in the City of Atlanta will help businesses prosper, encourage more entrepreneurship and create much needed jobs in our region and state,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “I applaud Secretary Locke’s leadership on this vital economic initiative, which will give Atlanta’s business owners a competitive advantage by offering them enhanced access to information, technical assistance and government services.”
Last September, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the opening of a permanent CommerceConnect office in Pontiac, Mich., after a successful pilot program that 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 is expanding 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’s business assistance resources into Philadelphia and Chicago, with additional locations to be announced shortly.
Atlanta area businesses interested in working with CommerceConnect specialists can contact the CommerceConnect Call Center at 1-888-728-4190 or visit www.CommerceConnect.gov .