New state website is designed to answer entrepreneurs' start-up questions

The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation unveiled a new website Monday designed to help small business owners and entrepreneurs plan, start, manage and grow their businesses.

The new Maryland Business Express website offers a “chatbot” to guide users through the site 24 hours a day. The digital assistant is believed to be the first of its kind used by any state government for business purposes.

The site, at businessexpress.maryland.gov, combines information relevant to small business owners into one site and outlines steps for starting a business.

“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,” Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday in the announcement for the site.

The website is organized into four sections: planning, starting, managing and growing businesses. It offers help with writing a business plan, registering a business, applying for tax accounts and licenses, making legal changes and finding additional business-related programs.

State officials said more than half of all state business documents are filed online, 40 percent outside of normal business hours and 20 percent done with a mobile device.

The state plans to update content in response to feedback from business owners, said Michael Higgs, director of the assessments department

“Our department’s goal is to allow Marylanders to interact with the state any time it’s convenient for them,” Higgs said.

Hogan unveiled the website during the administration’s public cabinet meeting in Calvert County.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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