Delaware launches new ‘One Stop’ business registration site

The landing page of the state’s new “One Stop” business registration resource. The site can be found at onestop.delaware.gov/.

DOVER — After about three years of collaborative multi-agency work and an approximately $1 million investment, the state launched Delaware One Stop — a website that pulls all the business registration, licensing and other obligations and resources into one place for companies looking to open their doors in the state.

Dana Rohrbough, the director of Government Information Center, says they’re still making tweaks to the site, which is in a soft-launch phase that started mid-August, as they receive user feedback. Ms. Rohrbough says the site is technically a full revamp and relaunch of an earlier “one-stop” resource from 2005.

“This project looked at that site in its totality and improved it in a lot of really important ways,” she said. “We needed to take it into the modern age. With this site, there’s an account dashboard and a lot more features. You’re basically guided through the process. It makes ensuring that you’re in compliance so much easier for businesses just getting started.”

Though the Government Information Center did much of the heavy lifting on the project from a design perspective, Ms. Rohrbough said it required a lot of inter-agency cooperation because launching a business in the state is a multi-tiered process.

“I think it’s one of the most collaborative projects that exists in state government,” she said. “There are so many different agencies involved in business licensing and permitting or the types of things businesses need to do with government agencies. For example, the Division of Revenue did a lot of work with us because they’re responsible for licensing and renewals, the majority of the transaction. It’s a big change too that you used to have to go to two separate places to do that, but now it can all be done here. The Department of Labor put in a ton of work too.”

Acting as a beta tester, the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce expressed relief that the state took on the project and enthusiasm for its future prospects.

James DeChene, the organization’s senior vice president of government affairs, test drove the website alongside another chamber member business.

“The idea for this type of site has been thrown around for the last five or so years and the business community was really looking forward to an easy, streamlined resource,” he said.

“What’s great about this is the interface is really simple, but it does a lot of complicated stuff on the back end — it’s not just a site with a series of links that will take you all over state government and end up getting you lost.”

Mr. DeChene encourages anyone planning on starting a new business to examine the site.

“There’s a lot to think about when you’re starting a business like getting your EIN (employer identification number) from the feds, managing your withholding, setting up a company to be a proprietorship or LLC, licensing, permitting and on and on,” he said.

“The state did already have some resources for this, and if you were savvy enough to sit through the process, you could find your way around. But this is really notable in that it puts everything you need in one spot and save a lot of time.”

One exception to this, are local jurisdictions, Mr. DeChene adds.

“You’ll still need to check with your county and municipality depending on where you’re opening the business because often there are local permit, inspections and registration to deal with,” he said.

Mr. DeChene believes that any step the state takes toward simplifying and speeding up the regulatory process for businesses is one in the right direction. Chamber members frequently raise concerns about the speed at which they’re able to begin their businesses — often being subject to costly delays.

“We’ve heard in the past that some of the requirements aren’t clear, and this site should help with that,” he said. “But we’ve often heard complaints about the speed of inspections and other necessary steps to open a business. For instance, the Health Department that does all the inspections for restaurants has only two people in their office — one either has left or is getting ready to leave. That’s caused some delays for folks who may have had projects in the pipeline for a year or so who can’t get to work in a timely manner because they’re waiting on an inspection.”

Delaware One Stop can be found at onestop.delaware.gov/

Staff writer Ian Gronau can be reached at 741-8272 or igronau@newszap.com

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