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In today’s economic development environment, a variety of local, state and federal resources are available to support small businesses and entrepreneurs. However, the wide variety and geographical dispersion of agencies, programs and organizations providing services can prove confusing for even the savviest individuals and institutions. As a response, many states and regions, and municipalities have launched websites to serve as resource and information “one-stops,” “hubs” or “portals” to help make sense of the landscape. This publication provides a case-study example based on the experiences of one such web-based resource, SourceLink Virginia, an online portal project that was started in 2014 to support and connect small businesses and economic developers across the Commonwealth. During its 5-year existence, SourceLink Virginia emerged as a value-added resource and as an example of one way to leverage internet sites to facilitate the start, growth and management of small businesses. The lessons-learned from that initiative may enhance the chances of success for those agencies and organizations considering the development of such resource websites.
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February 24, 2020