BATON ROUGE, LA (UPDATED September 16, 2016) – 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 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.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS IS CLOSED AS OF SEPTEMBER 16, 2016.
Originally announced by LABI as the Louisiana Small Business Disaster Relief Fund, the Fund has been expanded and rebranded as the Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund to reflect its evergreen status to assist small businesses anywhere in the state following disasters.
“When we announced the Fund earlier this week, we heard from other business organizations interested in doing something similar to provide immediate assistance to small businesses,” said Stephen Waguespack, LABI President. “We decided to join forces, recognizing that we’ll have greater impact working collectively – essentially helping more businesses more quickly.”
NOLA Media Group, which consists of The Times Picayune and NOLA.com, has pledged $100,000 to the Rebirth Fund to specifically help small businesses recover from the flooding that began August 12. Within the Capital Region alone, an estimated 12,000 small businesses are located in flood-affected areas. NOLA Media Group will partner with the Foundation for Louisiana to administer the grant.
The full impact of the flooding remains to be calculated. U.S. Census data indicates that more than 50,000 businesses and 590,000 employees could have been impacted. It is expected that actual numbers will increase as damage calculations are confirmed.
The Rebirth Fund was created to provide small grants to support the thousands of small businesses impacted by the historic flooding in Acadia, Ascension, Avoyelles, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Livingston, Point Coupee, St. Helena, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Vermilion, Washington and West Feliciana parishes.
Eligible small businesses must be located within one of the 20 parishes included in the federal disaster declaration area, have 50 or fewer employees, and have been in business on August 10, 2016.
Those interested in contributing to the Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund are encouraged to visit www.LaBizRebirth.org for additional information. Information about donating to the fund will also be accessible on the websites of each participating business organization.
An independent committee with technical, accounting and legal expertise will review applications and prioritize grants to affected businesses.
“Small businesses are the most impacted,” said Adam Knapp, BRAC president and CEO. “Jumpstarting their recovery through grantmaking will expedite a longer term entrepreneurial renaissance for our community. We’re pleased to partner with LABI and other organizations in this shared effort.”
Information is available at www.LaBizRebirth.org.