Florida SBDC Network Stands Ready to Aid Florida Businesses Impacted by Flood

FSBDCN State Office: As the flood waters recede, business owners across the Panhandle are left with one question in mind: "Where is the help?"

The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida (UWF), stands ready to assist small businesses in their recovery from the devastating storm that swept through Northwest Florida Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.

"We are deeply saddened to see and hear the stories of damage and loss that individuals and small businesses in our area have suffered," said Michael Myhre, CEO and Network State Director for the Florida SBDC Network. "We want businesses to know that help is here and available through our area offices. Our mission is to help small businesses succeed - especially in times of need."

Florida Damage and Loss Assessment Needs

The State of Florida is assessing the damage caused by the recent storm. Officials are determining the extent of damage and what financial assistance will be made available to those most adversely affected. Small businesses who have incurred losses due to the April 29-30, 2014 flooding in Northwest Florida are asked to complete a Business Damage Assessment Survey. This is not an application for disaster assistance. The survey will help the State Emergency Response Team determine the needs and level of assistance for impacted businesses, including if the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan should be activated. If activated, the Emergency Bridge Loans are for physical damage to a business only. FEMA and SBA disaster assistance for individuals is also being determined.

"Businesses affected by the flooding should contact our office directly," said Kelly Massey, Regional Director for the Florida SBDC at UWF. "Our team stands ready to aid the businesses in our community."

The Florida SBDC at UWF can provide confidential, no-cost consulting to help affected business prepare disaster loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges. The Florida SBDC will also activate its Mobile Assistance Center (MAC) and make it available beginning Monday in Pensacola and throughout the disaster area for the next week. The MAC is equipped with business disaster specialists, laptops, printers, satellite communication, business libraries, supplies and more.

For more information regarding disaster assistance, please contact the Florida SBDC at UWF at (850) 474-2528 or the Florida SBDC at UWF - Fort Walton Beach at (850) 863-6552.

About the FSBDC Network

For over 35 years, the Florida SBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state.

In 2012, the Florida SBDCs served approximately 38,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 47,845 jobs created, retained and saved at a significantly low cost of $112 per job; $6.3 billion in sales growth; $235.2 million in capital accessed; $588.4 million in government contract awards; and 744 new businesses started. For every $1 of Florida public and private sector investment in the FSBDC program, $40 was returned to the state in tax revenue.

A statewide service network of 40 centers with 60 outreach locations, the Florida SBDC Network is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida, and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the Network's designated lead host institution. The Florida SBDC Network is state designated as Florida's principal provider of business assistance and is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs.