SBA to Give Grants on the East Coast

hurricane and storm
Hurricane Sandy’s damage is still being felt by many business owners.

In response to this, the SBA announced that it will be distributing a $19 million emergency appropriation. According to an SBA press release, Administrator Karen Mills said that these funds would put proven and effective tools in the hands of small business owners located in hard-hit areas.

Cecelia Taylor, SBA spokesperson, told that the $19 million in funding is not to be lent to qualified small businesses as business loans. Rather it would fund the SBA’s resource partners, such as the Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers and SCORE. These organizations help entrepreneurs by providing counseling, training and technical assistance.

Taylor explained that the SBA’s resource partners also provide assistance to disaster survivors in the form of counseling and business advice. Since the onset of relief efforts, the SBA’s resource partners have been present on the East Coast providing aid.

The SBA’s resource partners have also provided business model re-assessment services to local businesses. This is especially helpful since in the wake of the natural disaster many businesses may experience a change in target customer demographics, labor problems, or changes in suppliers. These businesses need to adapt to the post-disaster business landscape in order to return to profitable status.

Taylor also said that the SBA’s resource partners help reconstruct lost records, mitigate future damages and help business owners obtain better insurance protection.

An initial $5.8 million will be distributed to 11 states. Puerto Rico will also receive a portion of the aid.

At an undetermined date, and as part of another funding phase, $13.1 million will be distributed to the resource partners. The goal of this latter funding will be to build community-based partnerships.

The SBA stated that as of April 11 it had lent out $1.8 billion disaster loans to individuals while lending out $279 million in business loans to businesses and non-profit organizations in hurricane-affected areas.

(Interview with Ms. Taylor conducted by Isaac Juarez)