From the August 1996 issue of Entrepreneur

National

The U.S. Air Force Office of Small and Dis-advantaged Business Utilization has put a page on the World Wide Web to provide businesses with information on how to sell to the agency. The page is part of the Air Force's ongoing effort to increase the amount of business it does with entrepreneurs.

Among the items on the page is a listing of all the Air Force bases around the country as well as the name of the person handling buying decisions at each location. Women's Business Advocates who are based at selected installations are also included.

The home page features a handbook called "Selling to the United States Air Force"; a "Marketplace," which discusses what items are purchased and when they will be needed; The Commerce Business Daily, a publication that lists government contracts put out for bid; and the "Air Force Small Business Plan," which helps entrepreneurs learn to sell to the Air Force.

You can visit the Web site at (http://www.safsb.hq.af.mil).

Catalog Shows Off Regional Products

Pacific West

Entrepreneurs in rural Northern California and Southern Oregon can submit products for inclusion in the Great Northern Corporation Regional Catalog Project.

Small and midsized businesses within 11 counties-Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama and Trinity in California, and Jackson and Josephine in Oregon-are eligible for inclusion in the consumer catalog, funded by grants from the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Agriculture. The products must be produced or grown in the region. So far, the products featured range from medical instruments and pillows stuffed with feathers from wild water fowl to flour produced at a circa-1800 water-powered gristmill and horseradish.

The goal of the catalog, says project coordinator Shari Fiock, is to give small businesses an opportunity to expand beyond their cities. It will be sent to approximately 200,000 people on the West Coast.

The first edition is expected to be available for the 1996 holiday season, says Fiock. August is the deadline to get into the first catalog. Subsequent ones should be available quarterly. For more information, contact Fiock at (916) 842-5788.

Publication Targets Exporters

National

If you want to get involved in exporting, Commercial News USA offers an inexpensive way to reach more than 140,000 potential customers worldwide.

Published by the U.S. Commerce Department 10 times per year, Commercial News USA features product and service descriptions and photos from small and midsized businesses. It is distributed by embassies and consulates to small and midsized firms worldwide.

Each issue typically has four sections-the USA Marketplace, which is a mix of different advertisements, and three other sections targeting specific industries. The December 1996 edition, for instance, will focus on plastics and machinery, hotel and restaurant products, and oil and gas field machinery and supplies. It will also include an annual index of all the companies that have advertised in the publication this year.

Entrepreneurs can publish a product description for as little as $395. The deadline for the December issue is September 2. For information, call (202) 482-4918.

Manufacturers Get Help At Tech Centers

Pennsylvania

Small and midsized manufacturers who have an idea for a new product but need a little financial and development help getting it to market can go to one of four technology centers funded by the state of Pennsylvania.

The Ben Franklin Partnership, which operates the centers, combines the resources of academia and the business world to take a project from research to commercialization.

Selected projects can obtain funding of up to $750,000 for one year. Entrepreneurs who get funding must provide a three-to-one match for each state dollar received; this can be in the form of costs associated with the project (such as employee salaries, equipment, etc.) or cash. Funding for the project must be renewed annually.

In addition to development assistance, the Ben Franklin Centers also create tailored worker training curricula and help entrepreneurs with services such as patent searches and obtaining venture capital. To find the center nearest you, call (717) 787-4147.

Contact Sources

Ben Franklin Partnership, 352 Forum Bldg., Harrisburg, PA 17120;

Commercial News USA, c/o ABP International, (212) 490-3999.