Looking for a way to save money and protect the environment? If you sign up for the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Small Business program, you'll receive free information on how to save an average of 30 percent on your energy bills.
Participants receive the agency's free 90-page guide, Putting Energy Into Profit, which contains efficiency techniques and examples of how other small businesses have successfully reduced their energy costs. Also, a monthly EPA newsletter will keep you abreast of the latest information about deregulation, and you can find additional conservation tips posted at the EPA's Web site, http://www.epa.gov/smallbiz
To enroll, call (888)782-7937 or visit the EPA's Web site.
The A to Zs of collecting payments internationally
A new publication is helping entrepreneurs navigate the challenging waters of obtaining payments from international clients. International Payment Methods Handbook is a 90-page booklet created by the Oxnard College Center for International Trade Development, one of 14 such centers based at community colleges throughout California that help entrepreneurs get involved in trade.
The handbook offers readers an explanation of the approaches to and risks of international payment, a list of California and national trade resources, and step-by-step information on how to deliver quotes, respond to trade requirements and set up payment systems.
For information on how to obtain a copy of the booklet, contact the Oxnard College Center at (805)986-5831.
NIST offers Y2K-compliance tools.
A new agreement between the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) manufacturing extension partnership program and Tava Technologies is helping small manufacturers determine whether their computer systems are Y2K compliant.
According to NIST officials, Tava's Plant Y2KOne utility program enables users to inexpensively inventory systems that may be susceptible to the millennium bug and then compare them against a Tava-created database of problems. Once areas of concern are identified, small businesses can contact the appropriate software or hardware manufacturer for a solution. Manufacturers can access the Tava utility at one of NIST's 400 centers and extension offices nationwide. Each location charges a small fee for the service.
NIST has also created a Web-based Y2K help center for small businesses (http://y2khelp.nist.gov), which provides computer programs that can evaluate potential Y2K-compliance problems, including a program called the Y2K Self-Help Tool that's basically a scaled down version of Y2KOne. The other evaluation programs are FindDate, a simple scanner that searches for dates that could cause problems; New Time Frequency Transmitter, a service that determines if networks are synchronized; Unravel, a system that helps you figure out why a fix doesn't work; and GfjDates, which generates Y2K reference data for checking program results.
For more information on Tava's utility programs, call (800)MEP-4-MFG to find NIST's nearest manufacturing extension partnership office. To access the Y2K help center, visit the site, call (800)Y2K-7557 or e-mail email@example.com
Investor targets non-Twin Cities companies.
Small emerging growth companies located or with a substantial presence in Minnesota but outside the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area can seek investments of $50,000 to $700,000 from the Minnesota Investment Network Corp.
MIN-Corp, capitalized at $7 million, targets all businesses except those in the farming, timber, mining and retail industries. Entrepreneurs should have a unique technology or product, and an ability to create competitive returns and quality jobs.