Secretary of state reaching out to small businesses

Saturday, September 8, 2001

Jim Thompson's job is so new most people don't know about it.

Thompson manages the Small Business Outreach Project, an effort by the Missouri secretary of state's office to assist small businesses.

"It's brand new," said Thompson, who discussed the outreach project at the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce's First Friday Coffee. Nearly 100 people attended Friday's gathering.

Thompson said he spent the first part of this year defining the project's mission. Part of his job, he said, is to direct business owners and operators to the proper state regulatory offices.

Thompson said he also is an advocate for small business. "I generally like to promote myself as a friendly voice in state government," he said.

His job also is to promote the state's services that can help small businesses. Missouri's state government does a bad job of promoting its services such as a guide to funding sources, he said.

Thompson said he's looking to hear from small businesses as to how government can better serve them.

"You are going to tell me what to do," he told the First Friday Coffee crowd.

Thompson said the secretary of state's office is rebuilding its Web site to make it easier for Missourians to get information about state government. But he said the Web site won't eliminate the need to print thousands of copies of the state Blue Book, which details every commission, office and agency of state government.

Thompson said the printing of the Blue Book every two years is mandated by the state constitution.

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