Microsoft, Elance offer service for small businesses

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Online freelance marketplace Elance Inc. has teamed up with Microsoft to launch a services marketplace designed to match up small businesses with freelance marketing and Web development professionals.

According to a recent survey commissioned by the two companies, more than half of the small-business owners interviewed did not have a Web site while almost two-thirds admitted that having a Web presence is important to the success of their business. Lack of budget, time and technical expertise were among the top reasons cited for not having a Web site.

“Small businesses increasingly need a sophisticated Web presence to compete, but more often than not people would rather do other things than design their own Web site,” said Brad Porteus, chief marketing officer at Elance.  

Service providers on Elance who take a test to prove they have the skills to use Microsoft Office Live Small Business tools and are savvy in Web design will be eligible to be featured in the new community on Elance. Microsoft will be pointing customers of its Microsoft Office Live Small Business service to the new community.

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