Post-Hurricane Irma, Collier Businesses Are Ready to “Get Back to Business”
Sep 28, 2017
On September 28, the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce hosted 25 business leaders from the Collier County community to speak with U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney to discuss the economic impact and recovery assistance programs regarding Hurricane Irma.
Business and community leaders from across Collier County — including representatives from the hospitality, healthcare, agriculture and nonprofit sectors — explained the aftermath of Irma for both businesses and residents, and discussed next steps.
“The small business community is the cornerstone of our Southwest Florida economy. It is critical for state and federal agencies to provide the resources necessary for these businesses to make a full recovery from Hurricane Irma. As our area prepares for tourist season, we want to ensure that we are open for business in Collier County,” stated Congressman Rooney.
The strong community partnership was evident as members talked about the overwhelming support from individuals who volunteered their time, resources and money. However, everyone agreed that some areas, such as Immokalee and Everglades City continue to need attention and are hard at work to offer support where needed.
“It was beneficial to hear feedback not only from our chamber members, but from our community members,” said Michael Dalby, President, and CEO of the Greater Naples Chamber. “Our discussion spurred great ideas on how we can rebuild and support one another through this time. We are in positive spirits and will continue to work on our mission of making Collier County the best place to live, work and play in America.”
Going forward, business leaders want the public, both locally and nationally, to know that “the coast is clear” and business is underway as usual. Many individuals from around the nation have asked, “what can we do to help?” Business professionals say, come visit and enjoy your time – it’s not only great for the visitor, but also great for the local workforce. Naples’ beautiful coastline, unique shops and restaurants are ready to serve and welcome everyone back to paradise.
The Great Naples Chamber of Commerce is committed to helping our businesses rebuild. Below is a list of resources for post-hurricane needs. If you have questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- The Collier County Office of Business & Economic Development and FGCU’s Small Business Development Center have set up a Business Recovery Center at the Naples Accelerator, 3510 Kraft Road, Suite 200. The location is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. For more information, call 239-252-8990 or 850-989-3489. Businesses can also email BusinessRecovery@colliergov.net for more information.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration has disaster recovery loans available for businesses and residents. Businesses of all sizes can apply for a physical disaster loan from the SBA to repair/replace damaged real estate, equipment, inventory or fixtures. More information about the SBA Disaster Recovery Loans can be found at https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance.
- If your business has been damaged, you are encouraged to take the Business Damage Assessment. The information provided will be shared across various state and local agencies, and that information will be used to expedite implementation of disaster relief programs for businesses. The Business Damage Assessment Survey can be found here.
- The Disaster Unemployment Assistance program provides financial assistance to individuals whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of a storm. The assistance program is available to people who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits.
- Rick Scott has activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, which is meant to provide immediate relief to help businesses get back on their feet. The Naples Business Accelerator is operating as a center for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan, and small businesses are encouraged to visit the center to see how it can help. More information can be found at www.floridadisasterloan.org or by calling 239-252-8990.
- Disaster Dislocated Worker grants are available for temporary employment to workers affected by major dislocations, including natural disasters. Disaster relief employment can be in the form of temporary jobs to address structural and humanitarian needs of residents in an area that suffered a federally declared emergency or major disaster. More information about Disaster Dislocated Worker grants can be found here or by contacting CareerSource of Southwest Florida.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration has disaster recovery loans available. Businesses of all sizes can apply for a physical disaster loan from the SBA to repair/replace damaged real estate, equipment, inventory or fixtures. More information about the SBA Disaster Recovery Loans can be found at https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance.
- FEMA, through an agreement with the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association, is providing free legal help for survivors of Hurricane Irma through its Disaster Legal Services program. Florida Disaster Legal Services can be reached at 866-550-2929.
- The Community Foundation of Collier County has established the “Collier Comes Together Disaster Relief Fund.” The fund will provide assistance to victims of Hurricane Irma, and 100 percent of the donations collected will be distributed to victims and their family. More information about the fund can be found here.