One-stop Web portal created for launching Virginia businesses

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by Jessica Sabbath

Starting a business in Virginia just got easier.

Entrepreneurs can now visit the Business One Stop Portal to receive a customized list of necessary licensing, permitting and registration requirements to start a business. Launched during Virginia Business Appreciation Week, the service is free for its first 90 days.

“It can take weeks to collect all of the information and paperwork to start a business in Virginia,” Del. Brian Moran, D-Alexandria, said in a statement. “We expect this system will cut that time in half.” Moran sponsored the 2007 legislation that created the portal.

After users fill out a simple questionnaire, the system will prefill forms needed by most new businesses. The portal will create a customized to-do list of permit applications for each type of business and also include the rules, regulations, general laws and local licensing information required.

The system is being implemented in phases. The first phase centralizes necessary information for startup businesses, and the second phase will allow system users to apply with state agencies directly from the system, according to Moran spokesman Jesse Ferguson.

Currently, it is designed for the most common types of business organizations. It is not meant for residents who want to create a professional corporation (PC), a professional limited liability corporation (PLLC) or nonprofit organization. In addition, it should not be used for businesses that require unique formation processes, such as insurance companies or banks.

“This is one of the best resources the commonwealth has ever produced for helping its new and existing small businesses,” said Julia Ciarlo Hammond, the Virginia director of the National Federation of Independent Business, in a statement.

Moran designed the program after hearing complaints from business owners about the complexity of starting a business. Rhode Island’s Business Fast Start program was a model for Virginia’s.

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