Gov. Easley Announces Aid For Hurricane-Damaged Businesses
Posted September 23, 2003 11:47 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Mike Easley announced free business assistance for North Carolina business owners who suffered storm-related damages from Hurricane Isabel.
"This storm interrupted people's lives and their livelihoods," Easley said. "We want to help businesses damaged by Isabel so that we can get people back to work and help restore those communities as quickly as possible."
The assistance, provided by the N.C. Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) and the N.C. Department of Commerce, includes access to low-interest loans and free business management counseling to help assess the storm's impact, minimize loss, handle creditors and reconstruct financial statements.
"Accessing U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans will be critical to citizens, businesses and communities in eastern North Carolina as they begin to recover from Hurricane Isabel," says Scott Daugherty, SBTDC executive director. "Our organization assisted many businesses following Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and we are prepared with the help of Secretary of Commerce Jim Fain and his department to provide the same services to those in need."
SBTDC staff will travel to nearly 24 outreach sites at local chambers of commerce and community colleges to meet with those affected. Business Recovery Assistance Centers have also been opened in Elizabeth City, Greenville, Rocky Mount and Wilmington. There, business owners will receive help in preparing applications for SBA Disaster Loans. Typically, SBA approves less than 50 percent of Disaster Loan applications; after Hurricane Floyd, the approval rate was nearly 70 percent due to the outreach efforts of the SBTDC and the N.C. Dept. of Commerce.
Business owners should call the nearest center for an appointment:
The centers are staffed and coordinated by the SBTDC, a business development service of The University of North Carolina system operated in partnership with the U.S. SBA, with assistance from the state Dept. of Commerce and the UNC system.