UW’s SBDC Receives CARES Act Funding to Assist Wyoming Entrepreneurs

The Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network received $1.28 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to provide recovery technical assistance for small businesses harmed by the current pandemic.

The funds, distributed through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), will provide education, training and business advising to overcome supply chain disruptions, staffing challenges, a decrease in gross receipts or customers, or a closure due to COVID-19.

The CARES funding provides programming, education and advising to existing Wyoming businesses whose operations were affected by COVID-19. The Wyoming SBDC Network also will continue to provide business advising, education and technical assistance to all other small businesses in the state, including any pre-venture clients. The University of Wyoming hosts the Wyoming SBDC Network within its Office of Research and Economic Development.

As businesses begin to open in the state under Gov. Mark Gordon’s modified public health orders announced at a news conference April 28, many will not return to business as usual, and operational and financial pressures will continue. The money provided to the Wyoming SBDC Network will provide continuing advising and education assistance for the next year, as business recovery will be an ongoing process.

“As Wyoming’s economy reawakens, our small businesses may find themselves facing continued operational challenges,” Gordon says. “This funding will provide much-needed assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19.” 

“The CARES Act provides resources that will enable our SBA Resource Partners (Network), including the Wyoming SBDC Network, to provide specialized one-on-one recovery assistance to businesses in Wyoming and across rural America,” says Dan Nordberg, director of the SBA’s Office of Rural Affairs and  Region VIII administrator.

The SBA identified eight core areas for small business recovery programming: accessing financial resources; workplace health and safety threats; disaster preparation; online commercialization; alternate modes of service delivery; intellectual property protection; cybersecurity; and mitigating the effects of reduced travel.

Wyoming SBDC State Director Jill Kline and her team have played a key role in assisting Wyoming small businesses with understanding and applying for financing through the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans, says SBA Wyoming District Director Amy Lea.

“These resources will enable them to continue to assist Wyoming small businesses with recovering from the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on their businesses in the coming weeks and months,” Lea says.

“While the SBDC continues to provide its valuable services to Wyoming small businesses, this funding allows it to extend its reach with additional programming targeted directly at economic recovery and resiliency,” says Ed Synakowski, UW’s vice president for research and economic development. “The University of Wyoming is delighted to support the SBDC and the Wyoming Business Council in providing these services at this time of extraordinary need.”

The Wyoming SBDC Network will provide a mixture of online programming, one-on-one advising and industry expert consulting to businesses experiencing or recovering from interruptions in operations related to COVID-19. These economic recovery steps are a statewide effort and will be coordinated with other entities in the state, such as the Wyoming Business Council (WBC), to ensure that services avoid duplication and that programming will reach those most affected by the disruption in business.

“We understand how much our Wyoming businesses need seamless collaboration and cooperation from their state resources at this time,” WBC CEO Josh Dorrell says. “The Business Council is working closely with our partners, particularly the SBDC, to ensure efficiency in this effort.”

The Wyoming SBDC Network wants to hear about the specific needs of small businesses to help plan programming and secure professional resources to provide assistance. An anonymous, three-item survey is available at https://bit.ly/WY_SBDC_COVID_Survey.

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