Small businesses rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy will get both immediate and long-term help laying a foundation for economic recovery and resiliency thanks to expanded services funded by a $19 million emergency appropriation.
Puerto Rico has been included in that funding assignment, with $19,000 going to local partners Women’s Business Institute and the Puerto Rico Small Business & Technology Development Center, SBA officials confirmed Thursday.
The money will be used to help small businesses can take advantage of free expanded counseling, training and technical assistance through the partners.
“The wellbeing of Puerto Rico’s small business community is critical to fostering our economic development,” said SBA District Director Yvette T. Collazo. “We are very pleased that our Women’s Business Institute and the Puerto Rico Small Business & Technology Development Center will now have additional resources to provide much needed technical assistance to help local entrepreneurs recover from difficult times, so they may grow and create jobs.”
Funding was made available as part of a package approved by Congress in January to meet the demand for SBA assistance. Through these funds, SCORE, SBDCs and WBCs can help provide long-term small business rebuilding strategies, as well as help small businesses through the SBA lending process.
In the first phase of counseling and technical assistance funding, $5.8 million is being distributed to SBA resource partners in 11 states–Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia–and Puerto Rico.
“This is yet another example of placing proven, effective tools in the hands of America’s small business owners who are recovering from Hurricane Sandy,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “SBA’s extensive resource partner network continues to play a critical role in fostering economic development in those hard-hit areas, and I’m pleased those resources will be made accessible on a broader scale to help those who need it most.”
SBA makes low-interest, taxpayer-backed disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses and non-profit organizations of all sizes. More information about the disaster assistance program is available at www.sba.gov/disaster.
As of April 11, the SBA has approved disaster loans totaling $1.8 billion to individuals, and $279 million to businesses and nonprofit organizations recovering from Hurricane Sandy.