We all know that small businesses have a huge impact on their local economies by driving growth and creating jobs. They are a critical component in what makes our towns, cities and parishes what they are. The value they bring, and the roles they play in our areas cannot be overstated, so when the Great Floods of 2016 affected so many of Louisiana’s small businesses, there was no question that a portion of recovery funding had to go to help them.
In response, the Office of Community Development, Disaster Recovery Unit (OCD-DRU), in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Economic Development and other federal, state and local economic development partners, created the Restore Louisiana Small Business Program. The program provides assistance to small businesses located in areas adversely affected by the 2016 floods by awarding zero-interest loans for working capital and funds to repair or replace moveable equipment. These loans range from $10,000 to $150,000. There are no payments for the first six months, and 40 percent of the loan will be forgiven when 60 percent of the principal is repaid.
If a business had physical or financial losses, lost equipment or furniture and/or depleted funds to pay working capital expenses due to the floods, this program is for them. The 40 percent forgivable and zero-interest loans are benefits that should not be ignored. OCD-DRU has recently reopened the application window, so any affected business is strongly encouraged to apply. Visit the Restore Louisiana website and click on the Recovery Assistance tab. There you’ll find all of the small business assistance information, eligibility requirements, program documents and instructions on how to apply.
OCD-DRU has partnered with five community lending organizations to implement this program, each servicing specific parishes. Use the link above to identify which lender is servicing your parish, and how to submit your application to them. We hope that this program helps as many affected small businesses as possible. Their recovery and continued success plays a vital role in the recovery of the state of Louisiana and for all of us.
Michael is the Project Manager for the Restore Louisiana Small Business Program. He has been with the Office of Community Development – Disaster Recovery Unit since 2012, where he has served as a compliance monitor and infrastructure analyst before joining the economic development team to manage the small business program.