Vermont site boosts businesses

With some face time on the state's Web site, Vermont is trying to make it easier for local businesses to market themselves.

The Vermont Department of Economic Development (www.thinkvermont.com), in conjunction with computer consulting firm Competitive Computing, has developed two new features on Vermont's Web site (www.state.vt.us).

The Vermont Business Registry (www.vermontbusinessregistry.com) enables companies to enter their business information into a central database accessible to consumers who are looking for particular goods and services. It gives Vermont businesses another way to reach out to their local client base.

The state also introduced an online Vermont Bid Opportunities System on which the state can post bidding opportunities for requisitions of public goods and services.

Ken Horseman, spokesman for the state Department of Economic Development, said that the new services are the efforts of the Government Marketing Assistance Office, a subsidiary of the economic development office.

"There is a degree of handholding that is required, and many Vermont businesses are not ready to do business with government," Horseman said, citing government requirements regarding such things as hiring, delivery turnaround and packaging.

But with the new Web services, local businesses will be able to identify the best government prospects. And in turn, government contractors will be better able to identify possible business partners. "It's like being on a very good VIP list," Horseman said.

The system is slated to be expanded in the coming months, giving local and other businesses access to federal, state, municipal and private business bids.

Paul Kaza Associates Inc. is coordinating technology projects for many Vermont government agencies, but this is its flagship effort, said Paul Kaza, the company's president and creative director.

"This is the most ambitious projects in the state in terms of its level of interactivity," Kaza said. "Also in terms of what kind of traffic we expect this to generate to the site and the service capabilities it creates."

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