Teranet Enterprises Inc., the private company half-owned by the Ontario government, has teamed up with Youngstown, Ohio-based LightGov. Inc. to jointly market and develop each other’s

applications in Canada and the U.S.

Teranet, which is best known for automating Ontario’s land registry system, is supplying the financial transaction technology used in such systems as online parking ticket payments. The Toronto-based firm offers ASP-style services and middleware infrastructure for government transactions known as the Unity framework.

LightGov has developed a number of e-government applications for government procurement and surplus disposition, as well as for licensing and permitting, and tax and utility payment processing.

The partners will target their joint offerings to the municipal level of government, as well as to large townships and county governments.

“We are a smaller company that has been growing in this marketplace and it’s Teranet’s experience that is extremely important to us,” says LightGov CEO David Engler. “When it comes to operating a system and ensuring customers their money is going to be transacted, and having it co-ordinated with the back end, it’s difficult to find a better solution.”

For Teranet, the advantage of the agreement is the access it offers to a huge market.

“The U.S. market is 10 times as big as Canada’s,” says Al Shaver, director of new technical development at Teranet. “There are about 80,000 municipalities. What we’re partnering for is local market knowledge and contact. We could not have introduced ourselves to as many as LightGov has introduced us to in the last six months.”

The benefit to the Ontario government, he adds, is that as the company profits, so does its half-owner — not just in value, but in job creation as well.

“When we started Teranet the government was looking for certain things,” he explains. “It was looking to get a large project completed (the land registry automation), but it was also looking to create jobs. We had 66 people in the first year and there are 830 people today.”

Engler attributes the quality of the Teranet technology to the fact that Canada is more advanced than most other countries — including the U.S. — when it comes to e-government.

“I think some of our governments as they start to move towards e-government applications are going to be looking at the Canadian models that are here — how they’ve done it, what type of success they’ve had and how we replicate that,” says Engler.

LightGov’s products include an election services applicat

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