Image from Cape Cod Times

Sarah Shemkus of the Cape Cod Times writes if you are looking to start a business in Massachusetts? You could start at the Web site of the state’s office of Housing and Economic Development. A few clicks could take you to a page describing the regions of the commonwealth and the possible advantages of doing business in each.

Back up a few pages, and choose between links for venture capital, business financing, start-up funding and loans. Each of these choices offer a page with yet more choices: state programs, outside agencies, federal sites.

And you still haven’t even begun to investigate permitting or tax laws.

“It’s very confusing to figure out where you can go for help,” said state Senate President Therese Murray, D-Plymouth. “We need one-stop shopping for business in the commonwealth.”

So Murray and Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Framingham, have filed a bill that would create just such a system. And on the Cape, local stakeholders last week expressed optimism about the impact the proposed changes could have in the region.

“The approach they are taking makes a lot of sense,” said Spyro Mitrokostas, executive director of the Dennis Chamber of Commerce.

The bill will be discussed at a committee hearing in Boston on Tuesday.

The central element of the proposed legislation is a major reorganization of the complex network of offices, departments and agencies — 31 in all, Murray said — that currently provide business development and financing services in the state.

In the long-term, the proposed law would save money by eliminating redundant spending in agencies with overlapping mandates, Murray said. And it would increase both state and municipal revenues by bringing new businesses and jobs to Massachusetts.

The bill would create a system of regional economic development centers, which would each act as a central resource for advice and information about locating, financing and developing a business in the area. These centers would generally be independent nonprofit or private organizations which would contract with the state to provide business development services.

A regional agency, Murray said, would “know better what’s in their own region and what they can find for” prospective businesses.

Read more at: Cape Cod Times