Starting, growing a business has never been easier
West Virginia’s unemployment rate is 5.3 percent, the lowest recorded level in over a decade. Core industries such as timber, manufacturing and mining have experienced a 13.1 percent growth rate in the last two years. Tourism is expanding as more travelers make their way to our wild, wonderful state. Small businesses are forming at an incredible pace as consumers demand new travel experiences, unique goods that are handmade, homemade or rooted in history and Appalachian culture, as evidenced by one recent study that demonstrated traveler spending last year in West Virginia was 30 percent above the national average.
It’s an exciting time for business. In 2017,10,987 businesses were registered in West Virginia, compared with 8,806 in 2010 — a 24.7 percent increase. Recently, in one 48-hour period, 63 new business organizations formed across West Virginia. Perhaps there has been no better time in decades to be in business in the Mountain State. At the One Stop Business Center, we are committed to it being easier than ever before to start or grow your business.
The West Virginia Legislature enacted laws establishing both a web-based business portal permitting the payment of fees and registration as well as creating an interface for West Virginia business owners to have easy access to the Secretary of State’s Business and Licensing Division, Workforce West Virginia, the Division of Labor and the State Tax Department. This cooperative multi-agency partnership is indicative of the collaboration across government needed to provide excellent service to the public.
Additionally, on East Washington Street in Charleston — within a block of the state Capitol complex with plenty of free parking — the Secretary of State’s Office has opened the One Stop Business Center, a first-of-its-kind center in the nation that brings together four government agencies essential to starting, operating or growing a business all under one roof.
Business owners can file new registrations in as little as one hour — instead of several business days — thanks to the Legislature and Secretary of State’s collaboration to establish expedited service for a nominal fee. According to a study published by the Harvard Quarterly Journal of Economics, initial barriers to starting a business can inhibit or slow economic growth; conversely, ease of access in starting a business can be an accelerant to economic growth.
Furthermore, One Stop is also the home of the state business call center, created to assist businesses obtain information regarding compliance with state law.
In sum, the One Stop Business Center is a revolutionary service for businesses, and our staff is ever-focused on continually evaluating how our service can be enhanced. We are constantly identifying and cultivating partnerships to further aid the business community, all while providing excellent customer service to those who visit the One Stop Business Center and being courteous, responsive and helping to solve problems at the speed and pace the business world requires. When you’re on the move, we’re right there with you — moving at the speed of business.
When you visit the One Stop Business Center, there’s a few things you can expect from us. First is excellent customer service. From the moment you walk in until the time you leave with your filings complete and questions answered, we’ll greet you professionally and with great courtesy, provide access to information to help you make informed decisions, and have you on your way to conducting business as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
The second thing you’ll find is experience. Our extraordinary, experienced staff— with decades of aggregate government experience — are at the forefront of helping to usher West Virginia’s economic resurgence through the ease of access and support we provide, and the pace in which we provide it.
Third, you can expect openness, cooperation and a desire for partnership with West Virginia’s business community. One Stop is open for tours for businesses and organizations.
We’re available to present to community or civic groups, and we’re open to ideas as to how to make doing business easier — cutting through red tape and providing the best customer experience possible.
Visit our online portal at www.business4.wv.gov to learn more information, manage your state business filings or register a new business.
Come by the One Stop Business Center at 1615 Washington Street East in Charleston, or visit one of the Secretary of State’s regional business hubs in Clarksburg or Martinsburg. Call us at 304-558-8000. We’re here to serve and assist you as West Virginia businesses come roaring back. Remember, it’s never been easier or quicker to start, grow or operate your business in wild, wonderful West Virginia.
Jason Parsons Is director of the WV One Stop Business Center.