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Local Initiatives Support Corp. Assists Small Businesses With $2 Million Disaster Resilience Wells Fargo Grant

·2 min read

When it comes to rebounding from unforeseen disasters, multiple reports show that many small businesses find it extremely hard, even impossible, to do so.

According to the National Centers For Environmental Information, financial losses from weather and climate disasters in America surpassed $145 billion in 2021, representing the third most expensive year for such events.

To alleviate the problem, the Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC) is working with the Wells Fargo Foundation on a pilot program to help small businesses prepare and recover from disasters. Per a news release, the foundation is seeding the LISC Small Business Resiliency Network with a $2 million grant. The funding will pay for community-based disaster training, planning, and support for as many as 500 small businesses in communities that are notably exposed to disasters.

The program will be run through 20 nonprofit business development organizations (BDOs) in Alabama, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas. As such, the BDOs “can hire and train staff in business continuity management and boost local business’ access to capital.”

The BDOs will help local businesses—especially those in disaster-prone areas—tackle significant challenges ranging from “translating climate change impact for small businesses to building recovery and preparedness into business plans to climate-related business opportunities.” The aim is to help owners deal with the impact of disasters, maintain jobs, and boost local income.

Disasters often hit small businesses the hardest. That’s because they frequently don’t have the resources such as business plans, savings, and insurance to recover from a destructive loss. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, an estimated 25% of small businesses don’t re-open after a devastating hurricane or wildfire. The hurdles are even worse for Black business owners.

“Whether we are talking about hurricanes, wildfires, or public health crises, a disaster can be a crushing blow to small business owners — and by extension, their employees and the communities that they serve,” stated Lisa Glover, chief executive officer at LISC.

Molly Porter, interim president of the Wells Fargo Foundation, said, “With this grant, we aim to catalyze more support for the LISC Small Business Resiliency Network and strengthen the capacity for local nonprofits to guide small business owners through disaster readiness strategies.”

Check out LISC’s site to learn more about the effort.