Back in January 2009, “open government” was the hot topic in
In fact, President Obama’s first memorandum
on entering the White House proclaimed a new era of openness in government
centered around the core mandates of transparency
(making government data and operations
more open), participation (driving
greater and more diverse expertise into government decision making) and collaboration (fostering cooperation
across agencies and with the public).
This week, the spotlight is firmly back on “open government”
as a host of federal government agencies including the Department of Health
and Human Services, NASA and Veteran Affairs were
“inducted” in the Open
Government Innovations Gallery.
Already home to 12 agencies – including the SBA’s Business.gov – this hall of fame, in its own
words, “…celebrates the innovators and
innovations who are championing the President’s vision of more effective and
The Innovations Gallery lets the public browse examples of
how agencies are using transparency, participation, and collaboration to
achieve their mission. Highlights
include Business.gov’s first government-sponsored online community for small
businesses, and the Veterans Benefits Administration’s innovation initiative
which enables employees to submit groundbreaking ideas to improve the claims
process for Veterans.
Open Doors Enable
Small Businesses to Participate and Steer the Way Government Serves Them
Celebrations aside, Business.gov has long been a champion of
open and collaborative government and was inducted into the Innovations Gallery
when it first launched in May 2009.
And this is good news for small business owners. Why?
Business.gov not only makes accessible the disparate small
business resources that exist across more than 20 government agencies in a
one-stop shop format, it also allows business owners to interact directly with
government and industry professionals, while sharing information about starting
and running a successful business with each other via the Business.gov Community.
Launched in March 2009, the community has more than 6,500 members and is constantly
evolving – driven primarily by contributions and input solicited from business
owners through open forums such as the
Idea Exchange and a variety of discussion forums where small business owners can discuss and share information about starting and running a
In addition to providing business owners with an opportunity
to steer the direction Business.gov takes to better serve their needs, the
site’s In the Loop blog provides insight into the planning process, content and
features being considered and invites members to comment on direction and
Business.gov also champions an integrated approach to
citizen outreach, engagement and collaboration by combining everyday social
media tools – such as the Business.gov Community Blogs which provide insight and
information to help small business owners start, operate and grow (guest bloggers include experts Rieva Lesonsky, Tim Berry, Anita Campbell and
more) – with popular channels for informing and engaging with citizens
and You Tube.
How Do I Participate?
Join the more than 6,500 small business owners who
participate in the Business.gov Community. Member registration simply requires
a login, password, and an e-mail address.
It does not cost anything to join; it does not cost anything
to participate. In fact, participating may help you save time and money as you
gain new ideas and insights into how best to run your small business.
And don’t forget to follow Business.gov on the social media
networks mentioned for up to the minute resources and information.