National -- National small Business United (NSBU) has created a clearinghouse of information that helps small firms save money by using energy more efficiently.
The information, gathered under the Energy & Enterprise program, covers topics such as suggestions on energy- and money-saving lighting changes, finding energy-efficient equipment, water-use tips and more.
Culled from government sources, associations, environmental groups and businesses, the data is available to small businesses free of charge via the NSBU Web site (http://www.nsbu.org) and brochures.
Help For The Millennium Bug
National -- You can now get help with Y2K computer bug problems from an unlikely source--your banker.
The help comes in the form of a video and resource manual created by the American Bankers Association which is distributed to their affiliated financial institutions. The video explains how banks can work with you to conduct a Y2K assessment; it also identifies resources entrepreneurs can tap into should they detect problems.
Information in the manual includes a small-business checklist, suggested testing criteria, Web-based and SBA resources, as well as a list of additional dates that may impact a business. The video and manual are available at most banks nationwide; check with your local bank for availability.
FAA Program Takes Flight
National -- In an effort to increase the number of minority- and women-owned firms it contracts with, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has created a pilot program that pairs prime contractors with small firms in the aviation industry.
Operating through 1999, the FAA Mentor-Protégé Program teams certified small businesses with one of the following three prime contractors: Booz·Allen & Hamilton Inc., FDC Technologies Inc. and Science Applications International Corp. The mentors are looking for firms that will complement their products and services and who want a long-term relationship.
For more information, visit the FAA's Web site at http://www.faa.gov/sbo/men2.htm#1.7
Export Advice For Emerging Markets
California -- E ntrepreneurs in the Golden State who want to expand their scope of international business may be able to tap into a new pilot program operated by the California Trade and Commerce Agency in conjunction with the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC).
The program is open to small businesses that already export to designated OPIC emerging markets and want to increase their presence. The program offers assistance in such areas as building a manufacturing plant and opening a retail outlet.
OPIC, an independent federal agency, also sells political risk insurance and loan guarantees. For more information, contact OPIC at (202) 336-8621.
Don't Want Your Waste? Sell It!
New York -- The saying that one man's trash is another man's treasure is the driving force behind a five-year program created by the New York City Department of Sanitation, the Long Island City Business Development Corp. and the Industrial Technology Assistance Corp. (ITAC). Called NY Wa$teMatch, the materials exchange program reduces waste disposal costs for manufacturers and other small businesses while simultaneously providing firms with the raw materials they need.
Companies nationwide can list nonhazardous waste--electronic goods, food, metals, glass, wood, paper, plaster, rubber and more--on a list compiled by NY Wa$teMatch. Firms can then refer to the list to see if there are any materials they can use in manufacturing products. Transactions can be made as long as either the buyer or the seller is located in New York City; ITAC takes a sliding scale percentage based on the savings involved.
Businesses can list their materials for free, and materials may remain on the list until they become obsolete. To sign up or find out what materials are available for exchange, call (212) 240-6966 or visit http://www.itac.org/industry/waste.html