Florida SBDC Network State Office (Pensacola, Fla.) – The Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of small business assistance, is committed to ensuring that small business owners impacted by Hurricane Ian receive the resources and assistance they need to rebuild and recover. The network is pleased to announce that Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has provided the Florida SBDC with $50,000 to support the network’s continued efforts to help small businesses impacted by the storm.
“Since Ian first impacted our state, our network has been hard at work helping small
businesses access the resources they need to rebuild and reopen,” said Greg Britton, state director of the Florida SBDC Network. “We are so appreciative of FPL’s support and their commitment to small businesses. It is through their generous support that we are able to continue to do the important work we do to help businesses recover.”
Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida as one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the United States. The powerful storm has caused widespread damage to small business owners across the state.
The Florida SBDC Network serves as part of the state’s Emergency Support Function (ESF-18) for Business and Industry. In this role, the network plays an integral role following a disaster in helping coordinate recovery efforts and helping small business owners apply for disaster assistance.
In partnership with the SBA, state, and local partners, the network has opened and staffed Business Recovery Centers (BRCs) in hard-hit communities where impacted business owners can come for in-person assistance in understanding and applying for state and federal disaster loans. The Florida SBDC has also deployed its fleet of mobile assistance centers (MACs) - a fleet of recovery vehicles - into communities to establish BRCs where physical facilities are not easily available. MACs have been on the ground in the impacted area since immediately after the storm. These mobile units have brought support to eleven counties, helping to facilitate over 2,100 hours of service provided to impacted business owners through consulting at mobile and fixed site business recovery centers.
Florida Power & Light Company’s donation enables the network to extend its MAC and staff deployment in the field to support long-term recovery efforts, ensuring small business owners have access to critical resources.
“I believe Florida’s SBDC is the best small business support network in the country,” said Pamela Rauch, vice president of external affairs and economic development for FPL. “They have been on the ground for more than a month in those areas hardest hit by Hurricane Ian and we’re happy to help them extend that support. Small businesses are the foundation of Florida’s economy and getting them back on their feet is critical to rebuilding not just the regions affected by the storm but the entire state.”
FPL’s Office of Economic Development works to attract new and expanding companies and capital investment to the state by providing Infrastructure assessments, energy rate quotes, information on energy efficiency programs and more. FPL also provides a small business tool to help companies identify and map potential customers and suppliers, and map demographics, labor force and consumer expenditure data.
For more information on how the network is helping small businesses recover from Hurricane Ian, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org/disaster.