Communications and Marketing Manager
Loudoun County staff are making it easier for companies to do business in Loudoun. The county’s new Business Assistance Team will save companies time and effort during the development and permitting process.
“If someone wants to start or expand their business here, or move their company to Loudoun from outside the area, the process should be as quick and painless as possible,” said Kenny Young, Loudoun County Office of Administration senior project manager. “Business owners shouldn’t have to figure out the government structure, or what department has which piece of the puzzle. We’re making a conscious effort to continually improve our process so that no matter which door they come in, they’re at the right place to get help. In Loudoun, there’s no wrong door.”
Companies contact the county for a variety of reasons. They may need licenses, permits, signage, mapping, tax information, rezoning, or help deciding where to locate and which properties are available. Not knowing who to call for which service, business owners may guess that they should start with the Department of Building and Development, or planning, economic development, the courts, the Commissioner of the Revenue, the health department, or even public affairs.
Companies may not even be aware that they need help from agencies that aren’t part of the county government, such as utilities, water, the state Corporate Commission or the state Department of Transportation.
In typical government organizations, staff focus solely on their particular area of expertise. They may not know what’s legally required to operate a business. They may not be aware of regulations businesses have to meet, other than those their own agency administers.
What Loudoun has done is make sure BAT members are cross-trained and resourced to guide business owners through the development process. This way, companies can get consistent information no matter which county department they start with. BAT members include staff from County Administration, Building and Development, Planning, Commissioner of the Revenue and Economic Development – typical points of entry for businesses in the planning and review process.
“Not only do we make sure every BAT member can give accurate details to business owners, we also make sure that if we refer someone to another department, we follow up to make sure he or she was properly assisted,” explained Robyn Bailey, business infrastructure manager with Economic Development.
Bailey, along with Barbara Zimmerman, the assistant director for permit issuance and department management with the Department of Building and Development, was instrumental in launching the Fast-Track Commercial Incentive Program, another tool for helping streamline the commercial development process for business owners. Loudoun County has additional initiatives underway to further enhance business development efforts.
“When we say Loudoun is business-friendly, we mean it,” Bailey said.