Florida SBDC Network Urges Preparation for Hurricane Dorian

State’s Principal Provider of Small Business Assistance Heeds Preparedness as Storm Approaches

Florida SBDC Network Headquarters (Pensacola, Fla.) – The Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance, urges small businesses to prepare for Hurricane Dorian, which is expected to make landfall along Florida’s east coast as an extremely dangerous hurricane early next week.

According to FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor, 40 percent of small businesses do not reopen following a disaster. Within one year, an additional 25 percent will close and, within three years, 75 percent without a business continuity plan will be out of business.

Businesses should consider several elements in preparing for a disaster. Not only is it important to protect the staff, building, data, and inventory of a company, it is also critical to prepare a plan to continue operations following the disaster. A good plan may include provisions to relocate to a pre-identified site, retrieve data, including employee, customer and vendor records; and a way to operate efficiently with a smaller staff of key individuals.

Small business owner Joshua Street, gets help from Johnny Branch, a consultant for the Florida SBDC at UWF, in the network's emergency response Mobile Assistance Center (MAC) after Hurricane Michael destroyed his office in Panama City.

Small business owners are also encouraged to gather key business information and documents they may need to apply for disaster assistance. Common information needed for disaster loan applications include: the business’ physical address, tax identification number, legal structure, name, social security number, contact information and percentage of ownership for each owner, and business insurance coverage. Common documentation needed includes personal tax returns for owners, business tax returns, schedule of liabilities and debts of the business, and current financial statement (profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow statements).

As the first responder for small business following a disaster event, the Florida SBDC is a primary state agency on the Florida State Emergency Response Team (SERT) for the Emergency Support Function for Business, Industry and Economic Stabilization (ESF-18). In that capacity, immediately after a storm, the Florida SBDC is primarily responsible for assisting the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in the administration of business disaster loans. As part of its service offering, Florida SBDCs also assist impacted small businesses prepare disaster loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges.

“Hurricane Dorian is a dangerous storm and every small business across the state should take time to prepare today,” said Michael W. Myhre, CEO of the Florida SBDC Network. “We stand ready to help small businesses prepare and, if needed, rebuild, recover, and reopen quickly following the storm.”

Preparedness Resources

  • For more information regarding the Florida SBDC’s Business Continuation services and Bizaster app, please click here.
  • For a list of preparedness resources, please click here.
  • www.FloridaDisaster.org – The state’s official source of general and specific information for individuals and businesses from the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
  • www.FloridaDisaster.biz – A new website from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity that helps businesses prepare, respond, and recover from storms.
  • For a hurricane preparedness checklist and other resources from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), please click here.
  • Businesses can call the State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) at (800) 342-3557 for inquiries about the storm, preparedness information, and post-impact information.

For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.