North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley recently announced the establishment of an economic recovery program to help businesses that suffered losses from last fall’s hurricanes.
Funded by the Hurricane Recovery Act of 2005, the program offers $10 million in state loans to eligible businesses for losses not covered by insurance or federal disaster relief. The program will also rebate a portion of the interest borrowers will pay on federal Small Business Administration disaster loans.
“This program will provide critical loans and rebates to help businesses stay in operation and get back on track,” Easley said. “Small businesses are vital to the growth and development of communities throughout our state. This program will provide vital assistance to these businesses, their employees and the communities that depend upon them.”
The Business Recovery Assistance Program began the week of March 21 with a series of information sessions for business owners in the areas most affected by the hurricanes. In addition, business counselors will be available at Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) offices in Cullowhee, Asheville, Hickory, Boone, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Charlotte, Fayetteville and Elizabeth City to serve as business recovery assistance centers.
Easley, in response to recommendations from the Western Recovery Task Force that he established last October, has already reallocated more than $90 million in state funds to offset storm losses and help meet recovery needs. By leveraging these state funds, Easley was able to access more than $100 million in federal dollars for recovery efforts.
In addition, the Hurricane Recovery Act which Easley signed in February, appropriates $247 million to the Disaster Relief Reserve Fund to establish grant programs for housing and economic recovery assistance, restoration of public utilities and the repair, renovation and restoration of public buildings.
For more information about the business recovery program, the location of assistance centers or the informational meetings, visit www.sbtdc.org/disaster or call the SBTDC at 1-800-258-0862.
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