New Department of Commerce Initiative to Aid American Businesses to Launch in Detroit
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced a new Obama Administration initiative designed to streamline government bureaucracy and bring services and solutions directly to businesses and entrepreneurs creating and sustaining jobs. Locke made his announcement at the Detroit Economic Club’s National Summit. The new initiative will be launched this summer in the Detroit area.
Responding both to President Obama’s call to make government more responsive and a once-in-a-generation economic crisis, Locke initiated the effort after seeing how complicated it can be to navigate the alphabet soup of Commerce agencies and programs.
In the coming weeks, the department will dispatch a team of Commerce experts to begin preparing the launch of the initiative. The team will consist of representatives who have been cross trained on the wide breadth of programs and activities that the Commerce Department and its bureaus have to offer, programs that can assist a business at nearly every point of its life cycle, whether just getting off the ground or looking to expand into overseas markets.
“The Department of Commerce is singularly equipped to help American businesses grow and create jobs.” Locke said. “This new initiative will provide a single point of contact for every Commerce program available to business owners and will work with state and local agencies, academia, labor and other key stakeholders to provide a unified, integrated resource to grow and sustain jobs.”
Locke tapped the director of the Department’s successful Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Roger Kilmer, to lead the effort. Kilmer will be responsible for staffing the new initiative with an interdisciplinary team from across Commerce’s varied agencies. (In fiscal year 2007 alone, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership helped create over $5 billion in new sales for partner businesses.)
Kilmer’s goal is to unveil by the end of the summer a brick and mortar “one-stop” office in the Detroit area, making more accessible services offered by Commerce’s Patent and Trademark Office, Minority Business Development Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology and International Trade Administration, among others.
“Main Street businesses shouldn’t have to hire their own consultant to navigate the federal bureaucracy to get them the very assistance their tax dollars help support,” Locke said. “The Commerce Department has tools to help companies. It’s long past time we made it easier for them to access those resources.”
The on-the-ground experts will be responsible for assessing a business’ full spectrum of needs, whether it’s access to capital, intellectual property protection, export promotion or guidance on how to make operations more efficient. They will be a partner for Detroit area business owners, allowing them to leverage several different federal programs at once to help companies grow and create jobs.
Locke also said he would look to partner with additional federal agencies as the initiative progresses and look for new opportunities to cut red tape.
“If the Detroit pilot program is successful – and we are confident it will be – then Commerce will begin opening other “one-stop” offices throughout the Midwest and across the country,” Locke said.
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