Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NIST-Led Y2K Help Center for Small Business Is Open for Business

Small manufacturers and other small businesses looking for free help in dealing with the year 2000 computer problem can contact the just-opened Y2K Help Center for Small Business located at the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday, the Y2K Help Center will provide technical support to users of Conversion 2000: Y2K Self-Help Tool, developed by NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The center can be contacted at 1-800-Y2K-7557 (925-7557) or y2khelp [at] (y2khelp[at]nist[dot]gov) or by visiting the center’s web site,

"The Y2K Help Center is a wonderful addition to the many tools and activities being offered by NIST MEP to help small companies address this critical problem," said Commerce Secretary William Daley. "Small companies that take advantage of these tools can help prevent loss of profits as well as loss of their customers," he said.

Using the Y2K Self-Help Tool software, available in both Microsoft Access™ and Excel™, small businesses can conduct an inventory of equipment, including hardware, software and embedded systems; identify core business systems and rate their importance to the survival of the business; develop contingency plans; and plan and manage remediation projects.

The Y2K Self-Help Tool is available on the Y2K Help Center web site or from MEP centers around the country by calling 1-800-MEP-4MFG (637-4634).

The Y2K Help Center also will help small businesses determine whether the computer products and equipment they are using will have a year 2000 date problem by providing information on equipment manufacturers’ and vendors’ databases that contain Y2K compliance information.

Located at NIST in Gaithersburg, Md., the center will be staffed by skilled analysts trained to assist small businesses with their Y2K project questions. The Y2K Self-Help Tool was developed by NIST MEP in conjunction with several MEP centers and KPMG LLP. In addition to NIST, the Department of Agriculture and the Small Business Administration also are supporting the operation of the Y2K Help Center.

The year 2000 date problem refers to the failure of a computer program or system because the "00" year designation is misinterpreted or mistaken for "1900." The Stamford, Conn.-based GartnerGroup, a leading authority on information technology issues, the National Federation of Independent Business, and other organizations have reported that many small businesses have not yet taken steps to address year 2000 problems. Many that are addressing problems with their computer systems may be overlooking potential problems embedded in other systems such as machine controllers and building control systems.

NIST’s MEP is a nationwide network of manufacturing extension centers providing a wide array of business and technical assistance to smaller manufacturers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Through MEP, manufacturers have access to more than 2,000 manufacturing and business advisors whose job is to help firms make changes that lead to greater productivity, increased profits and enhanced global competitiveness.

NIST, an agency of the Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, promotes economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Baldrige National Quality Program.

1999: The Year of the Small Manufacturer

In recognition of their extraordinary contributions to the economic strength and well-being of the United States, Secretary of Commerce William Daley has declared 1999 as "The Year of the Small Manufacturer." Throughout 1999, NIST MEP and its network of centers are planning a series of events to celebrate the achievements of small 

Released February 25, 1999, Updated November 27, 2017