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New Y2K Business Continuity Program Helps Small Businesses with Last-Minute Planning, Response to System Failures

Commerce Secretary William M. Daley today announced a new business continuity effort to help small businesses prepare for—and respond to—the year 2000 computer problem.

"Just as any scout knows it is best to be prepared, so should small business owners plan for the ‘what ifs’ of the Y2K problem," Daley said. "To small business owners across the nation, I ask a simple question: Are you ready? If not, now is the time to get started."

Through this new effort, small business owners will be better prepared to recover from any Y2K-related glitches thanks to new information and tools developed by the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a program of the Commerce Department’sNational Institute of Standards and Technology. These new resources, coupled with existing services such as free technical assistance at the Y2K Help Center for Small Business and free Y2K Self-Help Tool planning software offer small businesses the tools they need to make it through the year 2000 transition.

United with many Commerce Department components in the effort to encourage action by small businesses nationwide are the Small Business Administration, the Department of Agriculture and other federal government agencies of the President’s Council on Year 2000 Conversion.

Small businesses are advised to:

  • Plan ahead. Contingency planning is the process of anticipating how and when systems may fail or face disruptions as a result of Y2K-induced problems. To make this process easier, the Y2K Jumpstart Kit—available free from the Y2K Help Center for Small Business—includes the Y2K Self-Help Tool, contingency planning guide and contingency planning template. Using these resources, managers can consider the potential impact a disruption could have on an organization and can develop alternative approaches that could keep a business running.
  • Get help. The Y2K Help Center for Small Business offers assistance in English and Spanish between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. The Help Center can be reached at 800-Y2K-7557 (925-7557), by email at y2khelp [at] (y2khelp[at]nist[dot]gov), or on the web at For assistance in communities across the country, small business owners can contact their local NIST MEP center at 800-MEP-4MFG, reach a local SBA office by calling 800-8-ASK-SBA, or get in touch with the nearest USDA Cooperative Extension office by checking local listings.
  • Respond quickly if an unexpected problem occurs. Rapid response strategies are time-critical, action-oriented, damage control and recovery procedures that are designed to help businesses quickly mitigate losses and address Y2K failures. While not a substitute for prior planning, the Rapid Response Tool can assist anyone facing a Y2K failure, and its accompanying Rapid Response Sourcebook contains information on Y2K problems and fixes for hardware, software, and embedded systems that are commonly used in small businesses and manufacturers. Both the software and the sourcebook are available free online at

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 advisers whose job is to help firms make changes that lead to greater productivity, increased profits and enhanced global competitiveness.

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST strengthens the U.S. economy and improves the quality of life by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program, and the Baldrige National Quality Program.

1999: The Year of the Small Manufacturer

In recognition of small manufacturers’ extraordinary contributions to the economic strength and well-being of the United States, the U.S. Department of Commerce 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 manufacturers.

Released September 17, 1999, Updated November 27, 2017