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    Introducing the Shenandoah Valley Business Link
    by Reba Leiding, editor

    One of the outcomes of the Libraries & Educational Technologiesí grant from the Small Business Administration (SBA) is the Shenandoah Valley Business Link, a web portal to business information in the Harrisonburg and central valley area.  A gateway that pulls together federal, Virginia, and local information, it is designed as a tool for local entrepreneurs looking to start up a business as well as for business students and educators. 

    Sources of current information in on the site include a continually updated feed of business news from the Washington Post, and regional news through Topix.net, an Internet news service.  The site also offers a direct link to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and a list of links to most Virginia newspapers.

    Other features of the portal include links to:

    • Online editions of important business journals such as Business Week, Forbes, and Virginia Business.
    • Online reference tools such as dictionaries and directories.
    • Research guides detailing how to use JMU Librariesí print materials and online resources for various aspects of business research.  These guides are developed by Business Librarian Kathy Clarke for College of Business students, but the research tips they contain are equally useful for local business people as well.
    • Key state and Federal government informational sources such as Census data, U.S. Department of Labor sites, Virginia labor market information, the Federal Register, laws and regulations from Federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

    The site has also collected links to numerous online tutorials found on the Web.  Topics for these instructional sites range include information on economic indicators from the Federal Reserve, a Small Business Tax Workshop from the Internal Revenue Service, and small business informational resources from the Bank of America, SBA, and others.

    The portal also contains a link to Find It Virginia, a service that provides access to commercially produced online business resources available to anyone with a Virginia public library card. 

    The Shenandoah Valley Business Link is a new site that is still growing and adding features and content.  Its permanent URL is http://biz.lib.jmu.edu.

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