Open Government Opens the Doors to Small Business
by Caron_Beesley, Community Moderator
- Created: June 2, 2009, 9:53 am
On May 21, a White House blog entry saw the launch of the 'Open Government Initiative' - which echoes and makes real the pledge made by President Obama to make the Federal government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative.
main thrust of the initiative, according to the White House, is to
allow for 'an unprecedented process of public engagement in policy
making ... with the government soliciting comments and input on draft
recommendations, as well as seeking ideas from citizens early in the
recommendation creation process.'
While the 'Open Government
Initiative' represents a truly centralized commitment from the
government to openness, many agencies have been busy for some time
developing and refining innovative forms of citizen outreach - not
least of which is the first government-sponsored online community for
Championing the Open Government Initiative with the Small Business Owner in Mind
you are a Web 2.0 social media hound or prefer to get your information
from more traditional Web and print sources, it’s hard to ignore the
varied, and somewhat disparate, efforts by government agencies to dip
their toes into new media in the form of tools such as Facebook,
Twitter, Second Life, and more.
has over 200,000 'fans' on Facebook. State and local agencies use Web
2.0 tools to collaborate internally and improve citizen outreach in
areas such as emergency response, public transportation updates, and
more recently in providing visibility into the use and reporting of
Stimulus-related public funds.
Few agencies, however, have what would be considered in the business world as an integrated approach to citizen outreach.
does exactly this and challenges the traditional concepts of public
outreach by combining home grown social media tools - such as the Business.gov Community
- as well as popular, established tools such as Facebook and Twitter,
to help small businesses start-up, operate, and grow with resources
from across government.
Small Business and Government have a Two-Way Discourse (in Plain Language)
(launched in February 2009) combines plain language discussion forums,
blogs, and useful tools for navigating the labyrinth of government
resources, policies, laws, and opportunities that impact the small
The objective of the online community is to
allow business owners to interact directly with government and industry
professionals, as well as with each other.
The site also
provides one-stop access to information that is normally stove-piped
across 22 different government Web sites including the Small Business
Administration, IRS, Department of Labor, Federal Trade Commission, and
Sharing Entrepreneurial Goodwill and Advice
What you’ll find on the site isn’t quite what you’d expect from the government.
the Community site is user-driven in its content, the tone is
covering topics such as starting and managing a business, staying in
compliance, and understanding governmental assistance and support
With over 3,000 registered users to date, it’s
interesting to see the diversity of interaction that unfolds online,
with small business experts and entrepreneurs themselves chiming in to
help others out on all manner of questions from 'how do I protect my
business when a customer gets injured on my premises?' to 'how do I get
a loan with bad credit?'
The team at Business.gov also looks to
community members for feedback to drive new content and features on the
site through its 'What kind of topics would you like to see in this Community?' as well as general input on how the government can better serve the small business community.
innovative has Business.gov’s Community been in its delivery of the
vision of open government, that the project was selected by the
View the Business.gov Community profile on the White House’s Innovations Gallery here.
- The Open Government Innovations Gallery -
Celebrates the innovators and innovations championing the President’s
vision of more effective and open government. Browse examples of new
ways in which agencies across the Executive branch are using
transparency, participation, and collaboration to achieve their mission.
- The Open Government Initiative - More on how this new public engagement program is unfolding and how you can participate.
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