The 2018 Hurricane season blows in on June 1st. If disaster strikes, the Florida SBDC and Florida Gulf University is here to help you remain open for business.
Research shows that approximately 40 percent of businesses that close following a disaster never reopen. You spent a lot of time, money, and effort building up your business, so you want to protect it. Disasters of all types, whether man-made (cyber attack or data breach, loss of a key employee, road construction that displaces traffic, supply chain interruption, etc.) or a natural disaster (hurricane, flood, drought, freeze, etc.), can threaten businesses no matter where they are located. These interruptions can make it difficult for small businesses to keep the doors open. To improve your chances of staying in business should the worst happen, every business owner should have a plan in place.
Ensuring Florida Remains Open for Business
Established in 1976, the Florida SBDC Network has more than 40 offices from Pensacola to Key West. As a principal responder in the state’s Emergency Support Function (ESF) 18 for Business & Industry, the Florida SBDC Network is a key economic development organization that supports disaster preparedness, recovery, and mitigation through its Business Continuation services.
Through the network’s service offering, professionally certified business consultants can help small business owners develop comprehensive business continuity, emergency preparedness, and disaster recovery plans at no cost. Florida SBDCs also offer online and in-person educational training on disaster preparedness, tips, and resources.
As part of its service offering, the Florida SBDC also offers Bizaster, a free mobile disaster assistance app. Bizaster, available in both English and Spanish for Android and iOS, features risk assessments, customizable checklists, and other resources. The Florida SBDC at FIU – a member of the Florida SBDC Network – developed the app in partnership with FIU’s Extreme Events Institute and the U.S. Agency for International Development Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.
In the event of a disaster, Florida SBDC business consultants, many of whom are Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI) Certified Business Continuity Professionals, help affected businesses prepare disaster loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges.
Following Hurricane Irma, the Florida SBDC Network partnered with DEO and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation to administer the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan and Citrus Emergency Loan programs.
The Florida SBDC Network closed 828 Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans totaling $27.7 million and 58 Citrus Emergency Loans totaling $7.08 million. Florida SBDC professionally certified consultants and disaster specialists provided nearly 9,000 hours of direct, one-on-one consulting to help affected business owners prepare disaster loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges.
In the event of a disaster, the network will also deploy its mobile assistance centers into communities for affected businesses to receive on-site assistance.
Preparedness Resources: Where to Go
- 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.
- The 2018 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins Friday, June 1 and extends through Thursday, June 7. To learn more about the holiday and qualifying items, please click here.
- For a hurricane preparedness checklist and other resources from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), please click here.
- For more information about Business Continuation services offered by the Florida SBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University, please click here Business-Continuation-Flyer-5.7.2018.