(Fort Myers, FL) – The Florida SBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University urges small businesses to prepare for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins June 1 and extends through November 30.
According to a forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to be near-normal, with 12 to 17 total named storms. Of those, five to nine could become hurricanes, including one to four major hurricanes. The Florida SBDC encourages businesses, regardless of how much activity is predicted, to develop and review their disaster preparedness plan and make necessary preparations for the season.
“As hurricane season begins, all small businesses should take time now to develop a preparedness plan,” said Greg Britton, state director of the Florida SBDC Network. “No storm should be taken lightly and all small business owners should prepare each year no matter the forecast.”
Businesses should consider several elements in preparing for a disaster. Not only is it important to protect staff, their building, data, and inventory, 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. The Florida SBDC also strongly encourages businesses to back up data and ensure they have access to important files, such as tax records, and legal, and financial documents.
The Florida SBDC at FGCU is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a public-private partnership that leverages the resources of higher education and economic development to serve the needs of aspiring and existing small businesses. As a principal responder in the state’s Emergency Support Function (ESF) 18 for Business & Industry, the Florida SBDC Network helps small businesses prepare and recover from disasters.
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 training on disaster preparedness, templates, tips, and resources.
In the event of a disaster, Florida SBDC disaster specialists help affected businesses prepare disaster loan applications. The network will also deploy its mobile assistance centers into communities for affected businesses to receive on-site assistance with disaster loans and other post-disaster challenges.
Florida SBDCs also offer online and in-person educational training on disaster preparedness, tips, and resources.
- For preparedness resources from the Florida SBDC Network, please visit https://floridasbdc.org/services/consulting/disaster-preparedness-recovery/.
- The 2023 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is May 27- June 9 and Aug. 26 – Sept. 8. For more information, please visit https://floridarevenue.com/disasterprep.
- www.FloridaDisaster.org – The state’s official source of information for individuals and businesses from the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
- www.FloridaDisaster.biz – The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s website provides businesses access to critical information before, during, and after a disaster.
- For a hurricane preparedness checklist and other resources from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), please click here.
About the Florida SBDC Network:
For more than 45 years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy. In 2021, the Florida SBDC Network delivered more than 157,000 hours of consulting to more than 18,000 small business clients – resulting in business owners securing over half a billion in capital, securing more than $380 million in government contracts, impacting 28,930 jobs, increasing sales by over $4 billion, and creating 778 new businesses.
With over 40 offices statewide, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Department of Defense, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.