Web portal offers one stop shop for business questions


By Elena Olmstead for TCAJoB

Before the launch of Tri-CitiesBusinessBuilder.com if a person had a question about starting a business or a business owner had questions about permits or anything else pertaining to their work, they didn’t always know where to turn.

Trish Herron, of the City of Richland, said it was common for a business owner to come to one agency with a list of questions and be given a list of other offices they would have to visit to find the answers.

“We were making them beat the street,” Herron said.

To solve this problem, a group – now known as the Emerging and Expanding Business Group, came together to help make the Tri-Cities a more inviting place for businesses.

The group is made up of business leaders from the local ports, cities, non-profit groups, chambers and business owners.

Herron, a primary leader in the group, said one of the its objectives when it formed in 2010 was to create a web portal — a place online where all of the community’s business resources could be found in one place.

It took more than a year, but on Oct. 26, 2011, the Tri-CitiesBusinessBuidler.com web portal was launched.

Herron said the group is still in the process of refining and adding to the website, but it already offers a lot of information for business owners and entrepreneurs.

One of the most useful elements of the website is its resource navigator tool, Herron said. When the navigator tool is clicked, the user is asked a few simple questions about their business. Then the resource navigator provides people with a list of agencies that can help them. It typically lists phone numbers, email addresses, physical addresses and websites of the agencies and service providers who can help with those specific issues.

“The site is aimed at anyone who has a business or is interested in starting a businesses,” Herron said.

Herron said the information available right now on the site is limited, but she said that will get better as the site grows. She said the group is working with more than 20 resource providers to maximize the amount of information on the site.

The site features a calendar, where service providers can list different business classes that are available and events that business owners or entrepreneurs may find useful.

So far, Herron said the response to the web portal was been great and they hope that will continue as the site grows.

“We’re working to better our entire Tri-Cities business community,” Herron said.

For more information on the web portal visit the site at www.tri-citiesbusinessbuilder.com.

by Elena Olmstead
Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

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