Case Study 01

NIC made business licensing a one-stop service.

Executive Summary

In nearly every state, starting a new business means navigating a myriad of government agencies at both the state and local level. Multiple forms and applications must be completed and various fees must be paid throughout the process. In one state, just receiving notification back on the initial application was taking up to 10 weeks using the manual paper application process. States needed a better way to help entrepreneurs start a business and truly become a ‘business-friendly’ state.

New Solution

Utah: Relevant Information Only

In Utah, registering a new business required going to five agencies. Through a multi-level “One Stop Business Registration” online service, the forms and information from all agencies were brought together in a single portal. The Utah service includes a “wizard” approach in which the service knows what type of business is being registered and only asks for the information relevant to that business.

Oregon: Users Set Site Structure

NIC’s Oregon team brought together nine state agencies to collect and prioritize business information as part of that state’s new Business Xpress portal. Usability testing revealed that grouping information by business function was a better approach for Oregon’s business community. As a result, Business Xpress categorizes information by topic such as “relocate and expand,” “permits and licenses,” “Am I compliant?” and more.

Maryland: Entering Data Once for Multiple Forms

In just over a year after partnering with NIC, Maryland launched its first business one-stop service, the Central Business Licensing and Registration Portal (CBL). Prior to the new online service, the manual paper process took up to 10 weeks to process a business registration.

The new CBL System brings together multiple agencies and condenses the process into four simple steps. With the new system, business owners input universal business data about their company once – with the information automatically populating across all other agency forms that require the same information. The new system also allows trade name availability to be searched quickly and then registered.


With each business one-stop application, NIC’s teams helped partner states streamline the business start-up process. Agency silos were dismantled and the online efficiencies created time savings for government agency personnel who previously were inputting information from a paper form into a database. Specific results include:


• 405,000+ businesses registered online since 2003
• 95% business license online renewal rate
• Entrepreneur magazine ranked Utah #1 state for entrepreneurs with One Stop Business Registration cited as an “easy to use resource that keeps communities and businesses connected”
• Each online registration saves business owners an average of 80 hours


• Since its launch, the new business portal has helped contribute to a 51% increase in online business registrations


• The processing time to register a business has been slashed from 10 weeks to 2 days
• 40% of sole proprietorship, general partnerships and trade names are done online
• 97% of CBL customers would recommend CBL to other Maryland business owners

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