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SBA offers Web aid

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WASHINGTON - Small businesses will have the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge from industry leaders and e-commerce advocates about how to leap into the new economy through a series of fall summits and a new CD-ROM, both courtesy of the Small Business Administration.

The E-Commerce Summits, economic town hall meetings, are sponsored by the SBA and Nortel Networks as well as one offered in collaboration with Microsoft Corp., in Seattle. They will be structured to promote open discussion of Internet opportunities among representatives of small businesses.

"The pace of the new economy brings new challenges for even the most adept entrepreneurs by creating new ways for small businesses to compete and attain economic success, SBA Administrator Aida Alvarez said.

The SBA also has unveiled a new CD-ROM, "Build Your Business on the Web," developed in partnership with AllBusiness.com and Bigstep.com to help small businesses develop their own Web presence on the Internet. The CD-ROM is an educational resource that offers a clear and simple approach to building and maintaining a Web site, SBA officials said.

Statistics show that small businesses which use the Internet are growing at a rate of 46 percent faster than those which do not and that 85 percent of small businesses are expected to conduct business via the World Wide Web by 2002.

The packaged software is available without charge from SBA Information Centers, One-Stop Capital Shops, Tribal Business Information Centers and affiliates across the nation. For locations, please visit http://www.sba.gov/services/.