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Published April 09, 2020
A weekly look at issues facing Wyoming business owners and entrepreneurs from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Nicholas Giraldo, market researcher, Wyoming SBDC Network
Wyoming has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced local governments and businesses to close their doors and cancel events in an effort to protect the public and stop the spread of the disease.
These social distancing rules have been especially hard for small businesses, but local business groups, volunteers, and state and federal agencies have stepped up and marshaled their resources to help Wyoming entrepreneurs minimize the impact of the coronavirus closures.
Local chambers of commerce are offering support. Chambers around the state are collecting resources and getting engaged via social media to connect their members with important information. Here are some of the ways chambers in Wyoming are helping:
-- Creating social media pages that list special hours and delivery/curbside pickup options of their members.
-- Sponsoring challenges where residents are entered to win prizes when they buy gift cards from local businesses.
-- Providing their membership with up-to-date information and weekly webinars to help businesses make it through these recent closures.
Volunteers from around the state came together last month to form the Wyoming Technology Coronavirus Coalition (WTCC) with the goal of minimizing the effects of COVID-19 through technology and community involvement.
So far, they have coordinated personal protective equipment supply drives that have collected around $6,400 worth of desperately needed equipment -- including N95 masks -- to donate to medical facilities around the state. The WTCC also coordinated with makerspaces around the state to manufacture surgical masks and face shields for health care workers in Wyoming to protect themselves against coronavirus.
The recent Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides financial relief to small businesses across the country affected by the coronavirus pandemic through disaster and paycheck protection loans, which are administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The Wyoming SBDC Network has trained advisers who are accessible virtually around the state and ready to help small-business owners apply for these SBA loans.
What the examples above show is that the pandemic may have us separated, but it doesn’t mean we have to go it alone. All around the state, citizens from all walks of life are working together to help each other through this crisis. Through collaboration, they are proving that Wyoming really is just a small town with long streets.
If your business needs assistance during this pandemic, Wyoming SBDC Network advisers are available to help you with every aspect of business operation. Contact your local adviser for no-cost, confidential assistance by visiting www.wyomingsbdc.org.
The Wyoming SBDC Network offers no-cost advising and technical assistance to help Wyoming entrepreneurs think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their business. In 2019 alone, the Wyoming SBDC Network helped Wyoming entrepreneurs start 108 new businesses; create or save 3,402 jobs; and bring a capital impact of more than $24 million to the state. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by UW with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council and funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. SBA.
To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email email@example.com, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY 82071-3922.