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State agencies can help boost business

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Virginia’s state agencies don’t just regulate businesses — many offer assistance and training.  A few examples:

If your business markets to tourists and visitors to Virginia, the Virginia Tourism Corp. has programs to help develop and promote your business. http://www.vatc.org

Want to start your own transportation company? Clear explanations of trucking and chauffeur business requirements are offered by the Department of Motor Vehicles.  http://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/commercial/mcs/index.asp

Do you sell agricultural products? The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offers marketing assistance. http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/marketing/index.shtml

The Virginia Department of Social Services has regional offices where entrepreneurs interested in starting child-care or elder-care businesses can receive licensing assistance. http://www.dss.virginia.gov

If safety — OSHA compliance — is a concern, check out the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s programs. http://www.doli.state.va.us/whatwedo/coop_prog/faq.html

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DPRT) provides incentives for Virginia businesses to establish or expand telework programs. http://www.teleworkva.org

Six good start-up resources
Virginia entrepreneurs are fortunate to have an abundance of outstanding online and published resources free of charge. Here are some favorites:

1) Entrepreneur Express. These free half-day seminars are held around the state. They offer tips and resources to help existing businesses expand their sales and new businesses get off the ground. Find dates and locations at http://www.vastartup.org

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2) How to Start Your Own Business: A Recipe for Obtaining Capital. This Longwood SBDC publication is essential reading for anyone seeking to finance a new business. http://www.longwood.edu/sbdc/cookbook.htm

3) Guide to Establishing a Business. Everything you need to know about Virginia’s regulatory framework from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. http://www.yesvirginia.org/pdf/guides/EstablishingBusiness.pdf

4) Starting a Business and Keeping Records, IRS Publication 583. Determining how to account for income and expenses is critical. This pamphlet can help. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p583.pdf or call (800) TAX FORM.

5) Starting Your Food Business. Published by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. What you need to know before starting a catering, food product or restaurant business. Call (804) 786-2373 to request a copy.

6) Labor Market Information.  Demographic and statistical data to support your business plan is provided by the Virginia Employment Commission.http://www.vawc.virginia.gov/analyzer/default.asp


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