Governor Markell Launches New Website for Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs

“Business First Steps” helps potential businesses find information on licensing and permitting in Delaware


New Castle, DE – Joined by Secretary of State Jeff Bullock, legislators, startup companies and organizations that help small businesses, Governor Jack Markell today launched Business First Steps, a new website to help small businesses find information on business licenses, permits, and other State requirements. The site (FirstSteps.Delaware.Gov) is an index of almost 200 different industries, professions, or products that require State registrations, licenses, certifications, or permits.

“We must remain committed to removing unnecessary obstacles and giving our entrepreneurs the best opportunity to start and expand their companies,” said Governor Markell. “Today we take another step toward that goal with the Business First Steps website. Now the aspiring entrepreneur can find a checklist of steps to open a business in Delaware.”

In addition to State requirements, the Business First Steps site provides links to, and information about, local Delaware governments that have their own licensing requirements. Businesses, such as contractors who perform site work in multiple towns and cities, must have appropriate licenses and permits in each locality where they perform work. Often, businesses are not aware of such requirements. The Business First Steps site will help them avoid that problem.

Entrepreneurs and the business community are encouraged to continue to give feedback about the website via

Companies such as Delaware Green Mattress Disassembling and Recycling, LLC (DGMDR) were glad to see a clearinghouse for licensing and local permits, and encouraged new businesses to take advantage of the resource.

“The New Castle County Open for Business program connected me with some wonderful mentors, and I am currently navigating the licensing and permitting process,” said Tanya Whye, owner of DGMDR, and a member of the New Castle Chamber of Commerce. “The Business First Steps website is the perfect tool for a one-stop place for a wealth of information.”

Sen. Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington West, was a co-chairman of the Blue Collar Jobs Task Force which, last January, recommended setting up a one-stop, online location for issuing permits and paying fees.

“This is a significant building block that builds on the task force’s ideas about making Delaware a more welcoming place for small businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Marshall. “It’s important to remove the stumbling blocks and reduce the stress on people trying to start a business that can be caused by government creating a confusing and often burdensome bureaucratic process.”

Business First Steps is the result of many state agencies working together and soliciting feedback from the business community. It is the first state website to centralize information on business licensing and requirements for operating a business in Delaware across state government. It was designed and built by the Government Information Center (GIC), an office within the Delaware Department of State.

“The Governor has made knocking down barriers for Delawareans to start businesses a top priority. This is why a clearinghouse for new businesses to find information about permits and licenses is so important, and why the Business First Steps website will be a great tool that Delaware can offer to new businesses,” said Secretary Bullock.

Today’s event was held in the Emerging Enterprise Center, part of the New Castle Chamber of Commerce, and another resource for small business start-ups and existing small businesses.

“The Business First Step website will be a valuable resource for all businesses seeking information concerning licenses and permits. It will save a great deal of time for small business owners and allow them to concentrate on their business. The site also provides a wealth of information about a wide range of business assistance programs and startup information.  I think Chamber members will find the Business First Steps web site to be an invaluable tool,” said Mark Kleinschmidt, President of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce.

Organizations such as the Small Business Administration Delaware office, Delaware Small Business Development Center, Delaware SCORE, Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Procurement Technical Assistance Center of Delaware, Women’s Business Center at First State Community Loan Fund, and other state offices, such as the Delaware Economic Development Office and the Office of Supplier Diversity, were on hand to show their support for the new site.

“Whether an entrepreneur is a PHD scientist spinning an advanced technology out of the University or a chef trying to open a restaurant in Rehoboth, they have the common need for information on the many steps in the process of taking a business from idea to opening. Bringing this complex set of information together in an easily assessable website that also includes practical ‘how to’s’ and sources of assistance is a huge help to Delaware Businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. Business First Steps is a great leap forward,” said Barbara Nercarsulmer, Deputy Director of the Delaware Small Business Development Center.

Rep. Michael Mulrooney, D-New Castle, another co-chair of the Blue Collar Jobs Task Force, lauded the website as a big step forward for Delaware businesses.

“One of the big complaints we hear is that there are a lot of hoops and hurdles for businesses to jump through to get started and keep being successful,” said Rep. Mulrooney. “This website will streamline processes to make it easier for Delaware businesses to succeed, which creates more opportunities down the line for Delaware workers and consumers. In this case, simple is better, and I hope we see the benefits of this new site soon.”

Fast Facts on Business, Professional, and Industry Licensing in Delaware:

 About Emerging Enterprise Center

The Emerging Enterprise Center, a New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Initiative, is a small business incubator designed to provide businesses with a comprehensive program of Support, Advice and Access to resources, in a nurturing environment, so that they can grow their business, develop business skills and graduate with a sustainable business model.

About New Castle County Chamber of Commerce

The New Castle County Chamber of Commerce ( is the premier business organization in New Castle County, Delaware. The Chamber advocates for its 1,400 members at all levels of government. The Chamber also sponsors networking and other special events, provides emerging businesses with support and services, offers health and insurance benefits to our members, and oversees a wide range of programs for businesses of all sizes.

About the Small Business Development Center

The Delaware Small Business Development Center is a nationally accredited business assistance program hosted by the University of Delaware Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships. Funded by the Small Business Administration, the State of Delaware and the private sector, SBDC’s advisory services are offered at no cost to the entrepreneur. No matter where the business is in its life cycle, SBDC’s professional business advisors have the real world experience and the technical expertise to help businesses grow and succeed.  SBDC can help businesses expand markets and grow revenue, apply for funding, locate and bid on government contracts, evaluate the feasibility of new opportunities and plan for unforeseen emergencies. SBDC also offers training including free online content available 24/7. See for more information.

About the Government Information Center

The Delaware Government Information Center (GIC) assists Delaware government agencies in using the internet, web-based tools, and social media to improve their communications with and services to Delaware residents, businesses and visitors to the state.

Resources for Small Business Owners/”Open for Business” Event Partners*

*Every fourth Thursday of the Month is the New Castle County Open for Business Event, which brings together many of these resource partners and others so that small businesses can easily connect to multiple organizations at one time. New Castle Chamber of Commerce, 12 Penns Way, New Castle, DE.

*Every first Thursday of the Month is the Kent County Open for Business Event, which brings together many of these resource partners and others so that small businesses can easily connect to multiple organizations at one time. Kent County Levy Court, 555 Bay Road Room 220, Dover DE.

*Every third Thursday of the Month is the Sussex County Open for Business Event, which brings together many of these resource partners and others so that small businesses can easily connect to multiple organizations at one time.  Sussex County Emergency Operations Center at the Georgetown Airport, 21911 Rudder Lane, Georgetown DE.