FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Baton Rouge, LA (February 6, 2017) – The Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund today announced an additional $147,000 awarded in grants to 29 small businesses in five parishes. Grant recipients include auto mechanics, health clinics, daycares, engineering companies, veterinarians, lawn care, janitorial services, real estate firms, and more. Seventeen of the 29 companies are minority-owned small businesses.
This is the fourth distribution from the Fund, which as of February 1, 2017, has awarded and distributed $761,755 directly to 142 small businesses impacted by the catastrophic 2016 Louisiana flood.
In August of 2016 severe storms, that would change the course of countless lives, rolled into south Louisiana. The inundation that began on August 11, 2016, took the lives of 13 individuals and caused an estimated $8.7 billion in damage. By August 14, 2016, the President approved a major disaster declaration for the State. While federal resources were granted, the devastation was far and wide, and the small businesses of Louisiana were left in the wake. Very few avenues of financial support are available to aid them in their recovery process.
In rapid response to the need for recovery support for small businesses, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) announced the creation of the Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund, representing a partnership with Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.), the Louisiana chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (LACCE) and One Acadiana.
Originally announced by LABI as the Louisiana Small Business Disaster Relief Fund, the Fund was expanded and rebranded as the Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund to reflect its panoptic mission of providing assistance to small businesses anywhere in the state following disasters.
Stephen Waguespack, president and CEO of LABI stated, “Six months later, the effects of the August flood are still evident across south Louisiana. We are grateful to those companies and organizations that have made it possible for us to award additional Rebirth grants and support the recovery of small businesses across the affected area.”
Waguespack continued to say, “We were overjoyed by the enthusiastic response to this program’s fundraising efforts and we are honored to be involved in the Rebirth project. Our small businesses continue to make progress along the path to full recovery and LABI and other members of the Rebirth project stand ready to jump back in and provide further assistance as resources are made available. We have a long road ahead, but these small businesses are not alone.”
Grant recipient E. Keith Joseph, of MHSC Home & Commercial Services of Denham Springs, exclaimed “It’s so much work to get a growing business going again; and in earning new business as recovery continues in the area. With your help, not only are we able to make this transition much easier, but it’s personally motivating to know that the communities we serve were able to send some help back to us when we need it most.”
“Flood recovery assistance for small businesses is one of the flagship priorities for BRAC in 2017,” said Adam Knapp, president and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. “Getting impacted small businesses back on their feet and open for commerce is critical for the sustainability of the regional economy. With federal funding slow to reach pockets, the Rebirth Fund continues to play an important role in getting much-needed, no-strings-attached grants to those in need.”
The Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund was created to provide need-based triage grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 to help small businesses recover. Eligible small businesses must have been located within one of the parishes included in the federal disaster declaration area, have 50 or fewer employees, be registered with the Louisiana Secretary of State, and have been in business on August 10, 2016.
Donations to the Rebirth Fund from large and small businesses as well as foundations and individuals around the country made the second round of grants possible. Donations are tax deductible and 100 percent is awarded directly to affected small businesses.
The Rebirth Fund will continue to accept donations and will make a determination on additional rounds of funding based on available resources. Those interested in contributing to the Fund are encouraged to visit www.LaBizRebirth.org.
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) announced in August 2016 the creation of the Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund, representing partnership with Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.), the Louisiana chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (LACCE) and One Acadiana.
Information is available at www.LaBizRebirth.org.
For Press Inquiries Contact:
Baton Rouge Area Chamber
Louisiana Association of Business and Industry