CHARLESTON – Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant recently hosted the first meeting of West Virginia’s Business Portal Advisory Committee, which brings together the Secretary of State’s Office, the West Virginia State Tax Department, Workforce West Virginia and the Division of Labor to provide one information and process entry point for someone who would like to start, expand or operate a business in the state.
“The enhancement of the Business for West Virginia portal is important because we need to make it even easier for people who want to start or continue to run their business to be able to find information quickly,” Tennant told The West Virginia Record.
Tennant said there is already a lot of information out there about owning a business, and it can be found in many different places. However, she said the enhanced Business for West Virginia Online Portal will combine all of that information into one place.
“Business owners should spend less time with red tape and more time actually running their business,” Tennant said.
Tennant said the goal for the business portal over time is for it to become the go-to resource for business owners. To accomplish that goal, the secretary of state said the portal plans to work with many state agencies to provide a central location for those looking to begin the process of starting a business, as well as to provide an online resource for all different types of interactions with the government.
“By centralizing and streamlining the process, we save business owners time and allow them to do what they really want to do – grow their business,” Tennant said.
The Secretary of State’s Office said in a news release that it is leading the portal’s development because of the continued success of its current Business for West Virginia website.
“The advisory committee is an essential part of the development of our enhanced statewide business portal because it is a direct link to the business community,” Tennant said. “As the four agencies work together to enhance the portal, we want constant contact and feedback from the business community so we can respond to changing needs to keep the online service efficient and relevant.”
Members of the West Virginia Business Portal Advisory Committee include Ours, Lawyer, Lewis & Co. PLLC member Eric Lewis, West Virginia Small Business Development Center Deputy State Director Debra Martin, WorkForce West Virginia Employment Program Manager Missy Comer, West Virginia Bankers Association General Counsel and Government Relations Director Loren Allen, West Virginia State Tax Department Executive Project Manager Lydia McKee, Bowles Rice attorney and West Virginia State Bar Association Representative Julie Chincheck and West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office Business and Licensing Director Penney Barker.
The Secretary of State’s Office said committee members are charged with attending meetings, helping to determine the direction and focus of enhancements to the portal and reviewing proposed changes before they are added to the system.
During the 2015 legislative session, state lawmakers passed HB 2878, which authorizes the participating agencies to combine their information.