Wheeling, W.Va – Entrepreneurs often work long and irregular schedules, so it’s not always convenient for them to contact a state agency during typical business hours. If an entrepreneur wants to learn more about opening a new company after 5:00pm, in the middle of the night, on weekends, or in the middle of a busy workday, what can they do? Now, West Virginia has the solution.
During the annual Bridging Innovation and WV Entrepreneurs Conference on Tuesday at Oglebay Park in Wheeling, WV Secretary of State Mac Warner proudly announced the launch of an online artificial intelligence that extends his office’s online business services to 24/7/365 for entrepreneurs looking for information on how to start a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in West Virginia.
And, the chatbot has a name.
"We held an online public opinion election among West Virginia citizens to help us name the new online tool. After two weeks of voting, ‘SOLO’ was selected from a list of five options," said Secretary of State Mac Warner.
According to Warner, "SOLO" stands for "Single Online Location” for the online complement to the brick-and-mortar One Stop Business Center established in West Virginia. He said that the purpose of the chatbot is to provide a single online location where entrepreneurs can learn all about forming a new company, and at a time most convenient for them.
SOLO is powered by artificial intelligence and machine-learning products by IBM’s “Watson,” and is developed by a team of professionals from the WVSOS Business & Licensing Division, WVSOS Technology Division, and IBM. SOLO can currently provide anywhere from general information to specific details relating to the formation of LLCs in West Virginia.
"SOLO is a great addition to our Business & Licensing Division staff. Now, an entrepreneur can get answers to most of their questions any time of the day or night," Warner said. “While SOLO doesn't replace the services our professional staff provides, SOLO is another tool available to assist entrepreneurs with navigating West Virginia’s business registration process."
Warner also said that while SOLO’s expertise is currently limited to LLC formation, SOLO will continue to learn and will eventually be able to answer questions and provide guidance on other WVSOS subjects such as all types of business entity registrations, professional licensure, and elections.
"The future is promising for SOLO," Warner told the crowd of more than 250 attending the annual Bridging Innovation and WV Entrepreneurs Conference held this year at Oglebay Park in Wheeling. "One day, SOLO may well revolutionize the way West Virginians interact with their government."
The launch of SOLO comes on the heels of the integration of Workforce WV services into the
Business4WV online portal, making the process of starting a new business online even quicker and easier than before. Find the SOLO icon at the bottom-right corner of the
WVSOS website. The next time you have a question about LLCs, please give SOLO a try!