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Can't Find Your Way?

Congress may offer a guide through the labyrinth of federal regulations.

By Stephen Barlas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

For years, small businesses have complained to Congress thatcompliance with federal regulations costs them much more than itdoes the Fortune 500 crowd, who can afford guidance from$350-an-hour K Street lawyers. Entrepreneurs may have to ditch thatparticular lament, though, if the National Small BusinessRegulatory Assistance Act of 2001 (H.R. 203), which the House SmallBusiness Committee passed in August, becomes law.

Currently, the 1,000 or so Small Business Development Centers(SBDCs) nationwide help entrepreneurs with the operationalchallenges of starting and growing their businesses. The new billwould create a pilot program in which the SBA designates two SBDCsin each of 10 regions to dispense regulatory advice free of charge.Don Wilson, president of the Association of Small BusinessDevelopment Centers, says the selected centers will focus oneducating entrepreneurs about complicated laws, such as theAmericans With Disabilities Act, so they don't violate the lawunwittingly.

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