In the Fond du Lac, WI, program referenced earlier, the funds were available and announced to the business community within a week and the first loan was made within 8 days. As more needs were identified, access to larger amounts were orchestrated through the Department of Commerce and USDA Rural Development.
In Gays Mills, WI, the Lion’s Club purchased gift cards from locally owned businesses, and gave them to the residents of the community. This helped drive traffic and purchases back into the businesses once the disaster passed.
Are business recovery grants available? No. Federal or state disaster recovery assistance is through loans. Emergency microloans that may be available locally are smaller amounts at low interest rates. Larger, long term loans for direct or indirect damages may be available through the SBA Disaster Division.
What are indirect losses? A gas station had a booming business until traffic was diverted because of a nearby flood. For weeks, no one could go to the station, even though it was not directly affected by the disaster. This affected sales and ultimately slowed the business. It’s important to calculate these losses to help prioritize how recovery funds are allocated, and to clearly communicate that they exist.