by Phil Yacuboski
Opening a business just became much easier in Pennsylvania thanks to a new online tool that allows entrepreneurs to file paperwork and complete other tasks online from the comfort of a desk chair.
"The focus is all businesses services," said Sonya Smith, associate state director, Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center. "It will be used for new businesses and established businesses. The concept is that an entrepreneur can go there to get all of the resources they need to be successful."
Licenses, permits, forms and contact information are just some of the resources that will be available at business.pa.gov.
"The registration checklist allows entrepreneurs and small business owners to feel confident in the preliminary steps of registering their business, which can be an overwhelming process," said Governor Tom Wolf. "The PA Business One-Stop Shop was created with exactly that intention – to take out the guess work and ensure that resources are collectively available and can be accessed with ease."
Before, business owners had to reach out to a number of different agencies to seek out the different forms. The process began in October of 2018 with the passage of legislation simplifying business forms.
"It makes things easier," said Smith. "Especially when that small business owner needs contact information for the state and for local municipalities to make sure they are in compliance."
The website helps entrepreneurs flush out an actionable business plan, register the business, explore small business diversity programs and view employer responsibilities when operating a business.
"For any of us getting work done on our car, per se, it's easier to go to one place to get tires, brakes, an oil change," she said. "It's the same concept."
"It's encouraging that the Governor is taking steps to simplify processes for small businesses – this has been needed for a long time," said Lisa Hall-Zielinski, director, The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center. "Aspiring entrepreneurs still need guidance in determining the feasibility of an idea, figuring out how much it will cost, learning business skills and so on. The PA SBDC network is still the place to go for that type of assistance and beyond."
According to the state, small businesses in Pennsylvania employ half of the state's private workforce and about 99.6% of all businesses in Pennsylvania are small businesses.
"Governor Wolf tasked agencies with simplifying state government by cutting red tape to bolster business development and growth," said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin. "By streamlining the Business One-Stop Shop process, we are giving entrepreneurs the peace of mind they need to take their business from concept to reality in a personalized, efficient way."
The changes will also make user data more secure and safe, according to the state. There's also a single phone number for access to different information.