Poll says 62% of small biz in San Francisco have no plans to be Y2K ready

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There was some not so good news about large firms recently...


...and now San Francisco has done a survey on small business there. 62% of the small businesses polled have no plans to be Y2K ready:


-- Linkmeister (link@librarian.edu), August 26, 1999


[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]

Small S.F. Firms Lackadaisical About Millennium Glitch

Steve Ginsberg, Chronicle Staff Writer

Thursday, August 26, 1999

San Francisco's small-business owners apparently are taking a ``so what'' approach to Y2K computer preparedness.

That's the conclusion of a study released yesterday that says 62 percent of the city's small businesses surveyed have no plans to be Y2K ready.

Another 20 percent said they will wait until November or later to get going.

Problems could materialize for small businesses that rely on errant computer programs and chips that mistake the year 2000 as 1900.

Commissioned by Mayor Willie Brown, the study is based on a sample of 201 of the city's 83,000 small businesses.

Brown committed $25,000 in city funds to find out what steps small businesses have taken to get ready for Y2K problems.

The funds are being used in an information campaign to fight Y2K apathy among small businesses. Microsoft and Cnet also have contributed $25,000 each to the effort.

Among other things, the city, through an outside consultant, is setting up a Web site (www.sfy2k.com) to prepare small- business owners for potential Y2K problems. The city also is planning community outreach meetings and outdoor advertising.

The apathy of small businesses toward Y2K problems is widespread. The Small Business Administration, for example, has made little headway across the country in getting small businesses to apply for special Y2K loans.

Nationally, few have applied for the loans. The San Francisco SBA office has made just one loan since the program started in April.

Gary Marshall, economic development specialist at the SBA's San Francisco office, said many small- business owners simply have gone out and bought new computers this year to avoid costly new software or consultants to help fix Y2K problems.

Some small-business men who are Y2K compliant say there are still other fears to consider on January 1.

Consider Douglas Stewart, the owner of Howler Products, an organic ice cream-maker in Hunters Point, who has a Macintosh computer system that he says is Y2K ready.

``Our biggest fear is the power grid system. We have already lost power three times this year because of PG&E breakdowns. For the New Year, we are considering a backup generator.''

PG&E spokesman Len Anderson said those fears are unfounded. ``Jan. 1, 2000 will be a day like any other, with full service reliability. We are in very good shape as we approach the rollover.''


-- Linkmeister (link@librarian.edu), August 26, 1999.

I'm holding the San Francisco Examiner in my hand. There is is huge headline, stacked on the right-hand side (which is the most prominent position) of the paper:

BUSINESS OWNERS SHRUG OFF Y2K FEARS - S.F. survey shows a third of small firms aren't ready; more aren't aware.

It's a very serious article. S.F. is taking this very seriously now. Better late than never. [Unfortunately, I think it's too late.]

-- Cheryl (Transplant@Oregon.com), August 26, 1999.

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