New $2.5 Million Grant to Help Wyoming Entrepreneurs Access Critical Resources
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) awarded the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network with a $2.5 million grant. The grant will be used to implement the SBA’s Community Navigator Pilot Program in Wyoming. The goal of the Community Navigator Pilot Program is to reduce barriers that all small businesses, including those owned by disadvantaged groups such as veterans, women, and those from rural communities and communities of color, often face in accessing critical support.
The Community Navigator Pilot Program utilizes a “hub and spoke” model from public health care federal programming. Grantee “hubs” — such as the Wyoming SBDC Network — will serve as centralized, lead organizations and will incorporate “spokes” to leverage partnerships with deeply trusted community-based organizations to help small businesses navigate government resources and tap into critical resources. Wyoming’s “spokes” include:
- University of Wyoming Extension
- Wyoming Women’s Business Center
- Wind River Development Fund
- Wyoming Smart Capital Network
- The Local Crowd
- Laramie County Library System (Library to Business)
“Supporting entrepreneurs is part of the University of Wyoming’s land-grant mission and a key aspect of our strategic plan,” says Steve Farkas, associate vice president for economic development in UW’s Office of Research and Economic Development, which oversees the Wyoming SBDC Network. “The Community Navigator Pilot Program will bring much-needed assistance and resources to all small-business owners throughout the state, aligning perfectly with the efforts of the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.”
The Wyoming SBDC Network and 50 other organizations were selected to operate this program from more than 700 nation-wide applicants. The SBA’s review process ensures compliance, objectivity, and integrity that allows every applicant an opportunity to demonstrate the impact the SBA’s support of their organization could have on their communities. The Community Navigator Pilot Program was created by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and the funding will be utilized over the course of two years.
“Being selected through such a competitive process is a reflection of the Wyoming SBDC Network’s long track record of assisting small businesses and our ongoing efforts to diversify the state’s economy,” says Jill Kline, state director of the Wyoming SBDC Network. “While these funds will not be dispersed directly to small businesses, the grant will allow the Wyoming SBDC Network to expand its services and reach to help entrepreneurs find even more success and have a greater impact on the state’s economy.”
For additional information on SBA’s Community Navigator Pilot Program please visit www.sba.gov/navigators.