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Business Council seeks input on Wyo. business needs

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The Wyoming Business Council has released a survey seeking information on financial business needs around the state.

The goal of the WBC survey is reportedly to understand what types of financial programs Wyoming businesses need to be successful in the next 12 to 24 months.

The WBC says they are conducting research to apply for additional federal funding through the State Small Business Credit Initiative or SSBCI.

“The SSBCI program will fund state, territory, and Tribal government small business credit support and investment programs,” the WBC said in a statement Wednesday. “The program does not support grants but does provide opportunities to support both debt and equity options for Wyoming businesses.”

In April 2021, US Treasury announced a preliminary SSBCI allocation to the State of Wyoming of roughly $56 million to support capital access to small businesses within the state.

According to the WBC, the funds can be invested through five eligible categories of financial tools, similar to the previous round of funding in 2011, though new rules and regulations are still pending approval and release from Treasury.

“We want to hear from the people on the ground who own and operate businesses in Wyoming to better understand their financing needs,” said WBC Entrepreneurial Services Manager Bert Adam. “We are looking for input from Wyoming-owned businesses about their current and projected needs to help us stand up the most appropriate programs.”

Wyoming business owners are encouraged to provide their feedback on the survey here. The survey will be open until Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021 at 5 p.m.

The WBC goes on to say some specific requirements remain unclear and the new legislation, paired with previous guidelines, provide a basis for early design of programs and partner organizations that will work in conjunction with the WBC.

“The anticipated guidelines of the current SSBCI program will likely include requirements that states deploy their initial funds within three-year periods to remain eligible for subsequent disbursements of obligated funds from the Treasury. Funds will also likely need leverage against private investment, and portions of the total allocation are specifically required to target underserved and minority communities, as well as reaching ‘very small businesses,’ defined as fewer than 10 employees,” the WBC announcement says. “To comply with these requirements, the Wyoming Business Council will evaluate the strengths of multiple organizations and tools, including a Capital Support Program, Direct Lending, Loan Participation, and Venture Capital Investments.”

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