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Starting a Business

Let's get started!

Every business is different, and the requirements and steps necessary to ensure you are doing everything properly can be daunting. When you don't know your DBA from your EIN or your permits from your sales tax you can lose your mind.  Just remember, we're here to help you get on the right track!

Each page in this section holds information related to the most commonly asked questions, starting from obtaining your Assumed Name or "Doing Business As" (DBA) to getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN, like a social security number for businesses) and why it's important. We also include information regarding training, financial assistance, and finding other business resources.  Just click on an item below and your will find helpful documents, resources and tools, needed to help you start your business.

RESOURCES TO START YOUR BUSINESS

Mentoring Assistance
Madison Chamber of Commerce
Huntsville - Madison County Chamber of Commerce
Alabama Technology Network (ATN)
Boots to Business
ICE Lab
TechRich
Braintrust
Still Serving Vets
Women's Business Center of North Alabama (WBCNA)
North Alabama African American Chamber of Commerce (NAAACC)
Co-Starters
Made In Alabama (Small Business Resources through the AL Department of Commerce)
Alabama Department of Revenue (Entity Registration & Processing Service/Taxes)

Research & Development Centers
U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command (AMCOM, Small Business Programs, Redstone)
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Small Business Programs, )
Missile Defense Agency (MDA) (Small Business Programs, Redstone)
Department of Veteran Affairs (SE Network VISN 7, Atlanta)
IRS Small Business / Self-Employed Division
U.S. Small Business Administration (Regional Advocate, Atlanta)
Social Security Administration (Alabama Field Office, Montgomery)
U.S. Department of Commerce (Export Assistance Center, Birmingham )
U.S. Department of Commerce (Minority Business Development Agency, Atlanta)
U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (Redstone)

U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (AMRDEC)
Anniston Army Depot (Public-Private Partnerships)
Auburn Huntsville Research Center
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Small Business Programs)
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
University of Alabama- Huntsville, Research Institute

Investors & Financing
InCrowd Capital
Neighborhood Concepts (NCI)
Alabama Launchpad
Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (Business Incentives & Resources)
Madison Industrial Development Board (Tax Incentives)
Alabama Department of Revenue (Tax Incentives)
Alabama Department of Commerce (Financing Programs & Tax Incentives)
Foreign Trade Zones (Madison is in FTZ #83 at HSV International Airport)

Regional Incubators & Accelerators
Fusion 44 (Madison) - Madison's first coworking space.  Coming Soon!
Lowe Mill
BizTech
Huntsville Steamworks (formerly MindGear Labs)
Huntsville West
Rocket Hatch


BUSINESS LICENSING

Did you know there are two different types of business licenses depending on where you open you business? Business location in a traditional office space, storefront, or industrial area must obtain different approvals and submit the Non-Residential Business License application. If you are opening a business that you will run from your residence, then you must complete the Home-Based Business License application. 

Non-Residential Business Licenses
checklist
Step 1:     Check Your Location

Use our Available Property & Building tool to search for your location. Once you find a property, complete Step 2, BEFORE you enter a purchase or lease agreement.

Step 2:     Submit a Compliance Certificate
The Compliance Certificate application does not commit you to a business venture, but it will provide you with confirmation that the business can be operated at the location and what the development regulations and requirements will be for that specific location. Approval will likely require a visit to the location with the Planning, Building, Engineering, Fire, and Madison Utilities to ensure compliance prior to final approval. Submit your application to the Planning Department to begin the process.

Step 3:     Get Your Business License
Visit the Revenue Department to complete your Non-Residential Business License application and the Supplement. Don't forget to provide your public business phone number, website, and social media links! The Economic Development Department will assist you in promoting your business by 'Liking' your social media links and sharing your events and promotions. We will also list your business on our Find More Madison website!

FMM-CLING DESIGN 2014web.jpgAbout one month after you obtain your business license, the Planning Director will send you a Welcome! Letter.  In this letter, there will be Find More Madison window stickers for your business entries.  If you need additional stickers, just pick them up when you get your business license!

Home-Based 'Residential' Business Licenses

Step 1:     Submit a Home-Business Application
If you are starting a home-based business, please submit this new Home-Business application 
and submit it to the Planning Department to begin the process. If you do not own the residence, you will be required to provide a signed letter from the property owner or leasing agent with your application that gives you permission to operate the requested business from the residence.

Step 2:     Get a Business License
Visit the Revenue Department to complete your Home-Business License application. Don't forget to provide your public business phone number, website, and social media links! The Economic Development Department will assist you in promoting your business by 'Liking' your social media links and sharing your events and promotions. Some home-based businesses will even qualify for spots on Find More Madison!


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