Inspired by Governor Larry Hogan’s Regulatory Reform Commission recommendations, the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) has unveiled Maryland Business Express, a new website that will make it easier for Maryland’s small business owners and entrepreneurs to plan, start, manage, and grow their business. Accessible at businessexpress.maryland.gov, the new site combines information previously spread across many state agencies into one, easy-to-navigate site, while also providing a clear outline of the steps involved in starting a business.
Maryland Business Express also features a digital assistant designed to communicate with and deliver guidance to Marylanders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This “Chatbot” is the first of its kind to be used by any state government specifically for business purposes.
“Since taking office, our administration has been committed to ensuring Maryland is Open for Business, and since that time, we have become one of the top states in the country for entrepreneurial business growth,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Now, Maryland Business Express will make it easier than ever to start a business, and will provide quick access to the many tools and resources that Maryland agencies have to offer to support our small business job creators.”
The site’s layout is based on the questions most commonly asked by existing business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, and contains four main sections: Plan, Start, Manage, and Grow. The Plan and Start sections list orderly steps that guide entrepreneurs through the process of developing a business plan, registering a business, and applying for tax accounts and licenses. The Manage and Grow sections help business owners remain in good standing, make legal changes to their business, and find additional programs that best fit their needs.
“Our Department’s goal is to allow Marylanders to interact with the state any time it’s convenient for them, and the new Maryland Business Express will move us closer to that goal than ever before,” said SDAT Director Michael Higgs. “This new website will be a tremendous benefit to Maryland’s business community, and the feedback we receive will allow us to continually update content to better suit their needs.”
The new site was officially unveiled last week at the Hogan administration’s public cabinet meeting in Calvert County.
Over the past few years, SDAT has focused on making government services more accessible to the hundreds of thousands of Maryland businesses that interact with the Department annually. Recent efforts to provide more services online have resulted in dramatic improvements in processing times, including a reduction from 10 to four weeks to start a business. Today, more than 50 percent of all documents are filed online, 40 percent of which occur outside of normal business hours and 20 percent of which are done through a mobile device. SDAT’s online services process more than 250,000 transactions annually.
The new Maryland Business Express is another step toward allowing customers to interact with the state any time it’s convenient for them. The site and Chatbot are currently in beta mode, and as users type in questions and submit feedback through the customer experience survey, Maryland agencies will continue to improve the content.