FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September
Small Business Resources Deployed to Affected Communities
Public-private partnership formed to offer immediate and long-term recovery options to impacted small businesses
North Carolina's leading state resources for small and midsize businesses are collaborating to provide a more streamlined and efficient recovery response to business owners affected by Hurricane Florence.
"The U.S. Small Business Administration is strongly committed to providing North Carolina residents with the most effective response possible to assist businesses, homeowners, and renters with federal disaster loans," said
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Linda McMahon. "Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority."
As the collaboration's federal partner, the SBA has established their base of operations at the NC Rural Center in Raleigh. From there, they will deploy their reservists to affected areas to help accept SBA loan applications. North Carolina's Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) is in active conversation with other states, including Texas, Louisiana, Florida, New Jersey, and New York, discussing additional disaster-related assistance.
"North Carolina businesses took a major hit with Hurricane Florence and we must help small business owners repair and reopen so they can continue powering our economy through this recovery," said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.
In the aftermath of a natural disaster, businesses may face months, or even years, of financial and physical setbacks. In addition to the immediate physical damage resulting from Hurricane Florence, businesses will have to navigate lost revenues, staff shortages, road closures, as well as, persistent and ongoing economic downturns within their local communities.
"I have had to eat nearly 50 percent of the costs of running my business since the storm hit," said Ryan Gibbs, owner of Gibbs Management Services, a Wilmington, NC, small business that contracts with local municipalities and nonprofits to provide pre-prepared meals for their local Meals On Wheels programs. "In order to continue to serve those in need, I needed access to cash flow quickly. Since many local businesses are still closed, including my local bank, I quickly ran through much of my business's credit. Within minutes of contacting Thread Capital, I was already in touch with someone who helped me through the loan process."
Services available to business owners include help with developing post-storm recovery strategies, access to short-term capital to support immediate cleanup costs and cover lost revenue, as well as longer-term support with repairing physical damage and recovering from more significant economic losses.
Here are the steps affected business owners can take to get help:
- Contact a business counselor near you. Call Business Link North Carolina (BLNC) 800.228.8443 or visit www.sbtdc.org/hurricaneflorence and submit a Business Recovery Intake Form. Staff will help you find a local counselor with the North Carolina's Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) or the community college's Small Business Center Network. Business counselors experienced in disaster recovery can assess your business impacts, provide an overall recovery plan, and help you navigate the application process for Rapid Recovery or SBA disaster loans.
- Contact your insurance carrier to file your claim.
- Register with FEMA online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800.621.3362. (TTY: 800.462.7585).
- Consider applying for a Hurricane Florence Rapid Recovery Loan. Thread Capital, a subsidiary of the NC Rural Center, offers expedited bridge loans for up to $50,000 at 0% interest for six months. These loans help provide immediate cash to businesses while they wait for SBA loan or insurance payouts.
- SBA disaster loans are an affordable option for those affected by Hurricane Florence. SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses, nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters. Physical damage and economic injury loans of up to $2 million cover uninsured or underinsured losses and help meet financial obligations.
The collaboration of federal, state, and nonprofit partners provides a more connected network of support agencies, meaning businesses will get the support they need more quickly so they can get back on their feet and get back to work.
The collaborative group has created NC Open For Business, a one-stop website to better and more efficiently assist North Carolina business owners in their disaster recovery efforts. Businesses affected by the hurricane can find a step-by-step guide on what to do once the storm has passed and the waters have receded. Resources are updated daily.
Partner organizations include:
- North Carolina's Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC)
- NC Rural Center
- Thread Capital (a subsidiary of the NC Rural Center)
- North Carolina Small Business Center Network (SBCN)
- Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC)
- North Carolina Department of Commerce
- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
For media inquiries:
Senior Director of Public Affairs
NC Rural Center