Business groups partner to start small business relief fund
BATON ROUGE – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry announced the creation of the Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund to help small businesses recover from the recent flooding.
The Greater New Orleans, Inc., the Louisiana chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, the Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and One Acadiana are also partners of the fund.
An amount of $100,000 has been pledged to the fund by the NOLA Media Group, which consists of the Times Picayune and NOLA.com, already. An estimated 12,000 small businesses are located in flood-affected areas. NOLA Media Group will partner with the Foundation for Louisiana to administer the fund.
The U.S. Census data indicates that more than 50,000 businesses and 590,000 employees could have been impacted, but is expected that those numbers will increase as damage calculations are confirmed.
The Rebirth Fund was created to provide small grants to support the thousands of small businesses impacted in the 20 parishes impacted: Acadia, Ascension, Avoyelles, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Livingston, Point Coupee, St. Helena, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Vermilion, Washington and West Feliciana.
Eligible small businesses must be located within one of the 20 parishes, have 50 or fewer employees and have been in business on Aug. 10, 2016.
Those interested in contributing to the Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund are encouraged click here. The application process has not yet been finalized, but those interested should sign up to receive notification when the application is available.
An independent committee with technical, accounting and legal expertise will review the applications and prioritize grants to affected businesses.
When we announced the Fund earlier this week, we heard from other business organizations interested in doing something similar to provide immediate assistance to small businesses," Stephen Waguespack, LABI President, said. "We decided to join forces, recognizing that we'll have greater impact working collectively – essentially helping more businesses more quickly."
Adam Knapp, BRAC president and CEO, said the grant will help expedite the recovery process for small businesses.
"Jump starting their recovery through grant making will expedite a longer term entrepreneurial renaissance for our community. We're pleased to partner with LABI and other organizations in this shared effort," Knapp said.