Originally run in the American Press
Thousands of businesses of all sizes have been severely impacted by Hurricanes Laura and Delta as well as trying to survive a COVID-19 world.
The Chamber SWLA and Economic Development Alliance have been operating a Business Recovery Center at The SEED Center, 4310 Ryan St., to assist businesses with SBA loans and other recovery programs.
The McNeese Small Business Development Center and Alliance staff have been meeting with businesses for several weeks.
When SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza visited the SEED Center Sept. 22, a plea was made for SBA counselors to help. It took a while and with prodding from Sen. Bill Cassidy, we now have the help we need.
Last week, the U.S. Small Business Administration sent counselors to help with one-on-one assistance for businesses. Director Tanya Garfield of the SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West said the center will provide a one stop location for businesses to access a variety of specialized help.
Due to the severe property damages and economic losses inflicted on Louisiana businesses, we want to provide every available service to help them get back on their feet,” she said.
SBA customer service representatives will meet with each business owner to explain how an SBA disaster loan can help finance their recovery. They will answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process and help each business owner complete their electronic loan application.
So far, SBA has approved more than $300 million in federal disaster loans for Louisiana businesses and residents impacted by this terrible disaster. According to Garfield, SBA has approved almost $10 million for businesses and over $293 million for residents to help rebuild and recover.
Businesses of any size and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery, and equipment, and other business assets. These loans cover losses that are not fully covered by insurance or other recoveries.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers economic injury disaster loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury disaster loans (EIDL) are available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage.
For business owners who are unable to visit the Business Recovery Center, they may apply online using SBA’s secure website at: https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/.
The deadline to apply for property damage due to Laura is Oct. 27. The deadline to apply for EIDL for Laura is May 28, 2021.
Another Disaster declaration has been issued for Hurricane Delta which will give additional time to file for damages from that event.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, services at The SEED Center are provided by appointment only and all services are free of charge. Please no drop-ins. Businesses may call between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at 337-433-3632 to schedule an appointment.
SWLA has been given a three punch and we face a long recovery. If we work together, our region will re-emerge and continue our key role in the world economy.