THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
CLINTON ADMINISTRATION REACHES OUT TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES ADDRESS THE YEAR 2000 PROBLEM March 31, 1998
The year 2000 problem could have far-reaching effects. In a world economy increasingly dependent upon the electronic exchange of financial and other data, the year 2000 problem -- whereby many of today's computers use two digits to record the date (1998 is '98") and may be unable to properly recognize the year 2000, causing them to stop running or to start generating erroneous data -- is a global one that could potentially affect all of us.
The consequences of being unprepared could range from minor inconveniences to serious disruptions. The consequences of systems failure could range from minor inconveniences, like not being able to properly program your VCR, to serious disruptions like the failure of local power or telephone service.
PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON YEAR 2000 CONVERSION
The Administration is committed to minimizing year 2000-related disruptions in the lives of the American people. Last month, the President established by Executive Order the President?s Council on Year 2000 Conversion, which in addition to ensuring that Federal agencies are using resources effectively to make their own mission-critical systems year 2000 compliant, will be working with the agencies to ensure that the Federal Government is reaching out, particularly to private sector organizations, to increase awareness to the year 2000 problem and to offer support.
The Council is enlisting Federal agencies to serve as economic "sector coordinators," encouraging them to reach out to private sector organizations -- both domestically and internationally -- that fall within their policy areas.
In addition to the challenge the year 2000 problem poses for government, it also poses a significant challenge for small businesses. Of all the private sector organizations, small businesses are of special concern because, unlike large Fortune 500 corporations, many do not have adequate institutional resources for fixing the problem.
SBA is working aggressively to help small businesses ensure that their systems are prepared for the transition to the year 2000. As sector coordinator for the Nation?s small businesses, SBA is working to reach out to small business owners on the year 2000 problem.
SBA's Web Page offers small business owners valuable tools to help
agencies ensure that their systems are ready for the transition to the
year 2000. These include:
-- a checklist for business owners to use in determining whether they have a problem.
-- a description of the five-step process businesses should follow to deal with the problem.
-- a search engine to enable businesses to find outside firms that can help them solve year 2000 problems.
-- a database of year 2000-compliant equipment and software. -- links to larger companies and descriptions of their year 2000 efforts.
The SBA Administrator has also been meeting with small business associations and is encouraging them to reach out to their members about the year 2000 problem.