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New $ 2.5 million grant to help Wyoming entrepreneurs access critical resources

(Fremont County, Wyoming) – The US Small Business Administration (SBA) awarded the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network a $ 2.5 million grant to implement the SBA’s Community Navigator pilot program in Wyoming .

The goal of the Community Navigator pilot program is to reduce the barriers that all small businesses, including those belonging to disadvantaged groups such as ex-combatants, women and those in rural communities and communities of color, often face. to access essential support.

“Supporting entrepreneurs is part of the University of Wyoming’s land granting mission and a key aspect of our strategic plan,” said Steve Farkas, associate vice president for economic development in the office of research and development. UW Economic Development, which oversees the Wyoming SBDC Network. “The Community Navigator pilot program will provide much-needed support and resources to all small business owners across the state, perfectly aligned with the efforts of the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The Community Navigator pilot program uses a “hub-and-spoke” model from federal public health care programs. Recipient ‘hubs’ – such as the Wyoming SBDC Network – will serve as central and lead organizations and incorporate ‘reasons’ for leveraging partnerships with trusted community organizations to help small businesses navigate government resources and to exploit critical resources.

Wyoming’s “rays” include:

  • UW extension.
  • Wyoming Women’s Business Center.
  • Wind River Development Fund.
  • Wyoming Smart Capital Network.
  • The local crowd.
  • The Laramie County Library System (Library to Business).

The Wyoming SBDC Network and 50 other organizations were selected to manage this program from more than 700 applicants nationwide. The SBA review process ensures the compliance, objectivity and integrity that has enabled all applicants to demonstrate the impact that SBA support to their organizations could have on their communities. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 created the Community Navigator Pilot Program, and the funding will be used over two years.

“Being selected through such a competitive process is a reflection of the Wyoming SBDC Network’s successful experience in supporting, educating and training small businesses and our continued efforts to support the diversification of the business. ‘state economy,’ said Jill Kline, Wyoming state manager. SBDC network. “While these funds are not going directly to small businesses, the grant will allow the Wyoming SBDC Network – the ‘hub’ – and ‘spokes’ to expand services and outreach to help entrepreneurs make a bigger impact. on the state economy. “

For more information on the SBA Community Navigator Pilot Program, visit www.sba.gov/navigators.

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