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January 20, 2009
By Claudene Wharton
The Nevada Small Business Development Center at the University of Nevada, Reno was one of just four small business development centers in the country recently awarded funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration for projects offering energy-efficiency assistance to small businesses.
The Nevada Small Business Development Center will be awarded a $125,000 Small Business Sustainability Initiative grant for the program this year, and will be eligible for $125,000 grants each of the next three years as funds are available.
Specifically, the Center will help small businesses evaluate their energy efficiency and implement energy-efficiency measures. These efforts may include support with renewable energy technology; green building and construction; and development and commercialization of clean-technology products, goods and services. Greg Mosier, the Dean of the College of Business said, "This grant represents the College's commitment to sustainability as one of our strategic initiatives in helping businesses in the State and region enhance their productivity and profitability."
"I think that small businesses are going to be a big part of the clean-technology, green-collar job revolution," said Kevin Dick, director of the Center's Business Environmental Program. "Some of the new ideas that are coming out of garages will help us save energy and operate more efficiently in the future. We want to help foster these innovations, and help businesses identify ways to increase their energy efficiency."
The Center has already plowed new ground in helping businesses with environmental issues, being the first small business development center in the nation to develop an environmental assistance program in 1988. It has helped several industries implement cost-effective approaches that have improved their environmental performance. As a result, similar programs were developed in 11 other states.
U.S. Sen. Harry Reid has supported the Center's environmental programs and research and says this new grant will help continue and expand the work being done by the Center and the University's College of Business.
"The forward-thinking work being done at this Center shows why I believe Nevada will lead the clean-energy revolution," Reid said. "From our major corporations in big cities to mom-and-pop stores in rural Nevada, improving energy efficiency is central to reducing our consumption and moving us closer to the reality of production and delivery of our state's vast solar, wind and geothermal resources. I'm proud to support the Nevada Small Business Development Center and I'm eager to see its work continue its contributions to the great cause of clean energy."
Dick said that he is also grateful to their partners in this new initiative, NV Energy and KEMA Services Inc., an energy management consulting firm that works with NV Energy. They will help provide resources, training and direct assistance to businesses identifying energy-efficiency opportunities. The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have also provided funding for the Center's Business Environmental Program.
The recent grant will allow the program to provide several workshops that target specific industries, such as food service and retail, offering recommendations that apply to the broad range of businesses in those industries. The first workshops will be offered this spring and will be announced when the dates are set. Businesses seeking more information on the workshops or how to address environmental issues are encouraged to contact the Nevada Small Business Development Center at the University of Nevada, Reno, (775) 784-1717.