Hurricane Sandy and Small Business: One Year Later
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
by Jeanne Hulit, Acting SBA Administrator
week, communities and small businesses across the Eastern
seaboard experienced the devastating and tragic effects of Hurricane Sandy, one
of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.
We know that work remains to be done, and the Obama
Administration continues to stand with the communities affected by the storm.
At the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), our job
is to make sure that small businesses have the tools and the resources they
need to succeed at every stage. This includes helping America’s communities and
small businesses recover from disasters through direct loans to businesses and
non-profit organizations of all sizes, as well as to homeowners and renters.
Following the devastating impacts of Hurricane Sandy, SBA
and our disaster assistance team stepped up to the plate to support the
economic recovery of the affected regions. In the year following the storm, the
SBA has approved $2.4 billion in low-interest disaster loans to 36,641
homeowners, renters and businesses. This includes 32,530 home loans for $1.9
billion and 4,111 business loans for $485 million.
SBA’s efforts to help revitalize the post-Sandy economy
directly impacted businesses like FIKA (Swedish for "taking a coffee break), a
chain of pastry cafés in New York. Owner Lars Åkerlund returned to his
financial district store after the storm to find four feet of standing water on
the first floor. The property losses totaled nearly $580,000. Åkerlund got an
SBA disaster loan and was able to reopen his store, rehire 28 employees, add 12
more staff, while also opening a new location in Tribeca.
Meanwhile, small businesses rebuilding in the aftermath
of Sandy have also been able to take advantage of free counseling, training and
technical assistance from SBA’s resource partners—the Small Business
Development Centers, (SBDCs), SCORE, and Women’s Business Centers
(WBC’s), through expanded services provided by a $19 million
funding package approved by Congress.
The funding, awarded in two phases, supported long-term
business recovery and expansion through innovative collaborations between state
and local organizations to help small business owners build stronger and
smarter. Entrepreneurs got help with business continuity strategies, with a
focus on developing strategies to be prepared for the next big disaster.
SBA also hosted "business matchmaking” events in the
areas hardest hit by Sandy to connect small businesses with contracting
opportunities from commercial, federal and local buyers. To date, more than 25
percent of all Sandy-related prime contract dollars obligated in the Federal
Procurement Database System are going to small business.
Entrepreneurship is at the heart of America’s identity
and the key to our economic strength. It’s what built the greatest economy in
the world, and it’s what continues to drive our small businesses as they
recover and rebuild from disaster. One year after Hurricane Sandy hit our
shores, SBA continues to help our business owners and communities repair and
rebuild to be stronger and more resilient than ever before.