STATE’S BUSINESS WEBSITE TAPPED FOR
NATIONAL BEST PRACTICES AWARD
www.choosemaryland.org wins 2010 Digital Government Achievement Award
BALTIMORE, MD (September 1, 2010) – The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development’s (DBED) interactive business website, www.choosemaryland.org, has won a 2010 Digital Government Achievement Award from the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute. The award, which will be presented later this month, recognizes government websites for being progressive and innovative, while also serving as a model for best practices. Done in-house with input from a number of focus groups, www.choosemaryland.org was redesigned earlier this year to incorporate more interactive and social media features, better communicate Maryland’s competitive advantages and business community success stories and strengthen key economic and employment data.
“When we redesigned www.choosemaryland.org, it was critical that we incorporate the latest interactive tools, current economic data and streamlined access to business assistance resources to make it easier for our businesses to do business in Maryland,” said Secretary Christian S. Johansson. “I am proud our website has been selected to serve as a model for best practices for government websites nationwide.”
Claudia Morrell, Founder of Maryland Women in Technology and facilitator of DBED’s web site focus groups, applauded the agency’s achievement award stating, “I salute DBED’s leadership for this recognition and for their willingness to include the voices and ideas of some of their toughest critics. They improved their site – and their relationship with their constituents – by listening, understanding and integrating the recommendations of their key customers.”
The redesign of DBED’s website is among a number of accomplishments by DBED’s new Marketing and Communications Division, which was formed in June 2009 by bringing together the research, creative services, public relations, marketing and interactive teams. In that time, the Division has launched three e-zines, Business Pulse, Economic Pulse and Global Pulse; created the MaryLand of Opportunity advertising campaign, which highlights State’s competitive advantages by featuring successful business owners; unveiled the CyberMaryland report to position Maryland as the nation's epicenter for cyber security; developed a social media strategy via Twitter, Facebook and Flicker, among others; and hosted a number of live webinars and streaming video meetings to promote key economic development initiatives. Earlier this year, CyberMaryland was recognized with the 2010 Excellence in Community & Economic Development Research Award from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER), a national organization that promotes excellence in research.
“This national award recognizes the hard work that was done in house by our talented Interactive and IT teams, as well as the insight and ideas we received from our external stakeholders, to make our website more effective, efficient and easier to navigate,” said Andrea Vernot, Assistant Secretary for DBED’s Division of Marketing and Communications. “As we move forward, we will be continually reevaluating www.choosemaryland.org to ensure it meets the needs of our ever-evolving business community.”
As part of a Phase I rollout, www.choosemaryland.org features a business news channel, MDBizTV, which provides RSS feeds, video and links to breaking news stories on Maryland companies and links to the latest Maryland business news through social media sites like Twitter, Flickr and Facebook. The site also highlights data on key Maryland industry sectors; profiles of Maryland companies and entrepreneurs; a statewide business calendar, which economic development organizations update regularly with events and information; and GIS Interactive maps that provide data on a variety of demographics, such as education, taxes and workforce. In the coming months, DBED plans to incorporate more user generated content by giving external stakeholders greater access to blogs, microsites and select sections of the website. Plans are also in the works to create a microsite to connect Maryland businesses with prime and federal/military contractors.