Disaster assistance for business owners is commonly provided through businesses insurance coverage but when a disaster impacts a large number of businesses in a community a variety of federal, state or other resources may be available to assist in recovery.
Disaster Planning for Businesses
Without continuity planning and adequate insurance, even a small disaster or event like a power outage or fire, can change a successfully run business to out-of-business. Yet with just a little forethought, communication and preparation, a good business will be much more likely to stay in business even if a disaster were to strike.
To help their local community, the West Central Initiative Foundation, in collaboration with local emergency management in Otter Tail County has created an excellent disaster planning webpage
for businesses to help local entrepreneurs get started with disaster and business continuity planning for themselves. The website includes links, planning resources, tools and testimonial videos from local businesses about the need and importance of continuity planning for even small businesses.
Department of Commerce
Recovering from a disaster usually begins by filing insurance claims, working with adjusters, and hiring contractors. It is critical for victims to start this process as soon as possible after a disaster in order for local emergency managers to assess the extent of unmet needs in the community. All other forms of assistance, including federal, state, non-profit and voluntary normally require insurance claims be filed before any assistance is offered.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce offers a Disaster Information Packet for individuals, homeowners and businesses to help guide them through the insurance and rebuilding process.
Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)
DEED manages a variety of business development, assistance and recovery programs as well as worker assistance and job training programs to eligible individuals whose unemployment results from a disaster. Some of the appropriate assistance programs include:
- Minnesota Investment Fund
- Small Business Development Centers
- Temporary Workforce Centers
- Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
- Small Cities Development Program (SCDP)
- MN Public Facilities Authority (PFA)
In addition, DEED will also administer federal disaster recovery programs including National Emergency Grants (NEG) which can provide temporary work for displaced workers and the federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program which can provide assistance to workers not covered by standard state assistance. Read more on the DEED programs fact sheet:
Or for more information, visit the DEED Programs Website.
Small Business Administration
In larger disasters, the Small Business Administration (SBA) may provide low-interest loans to help business owners rebuild or repair facilities or replace materials or inventory. In addition, even if a business or small agricultural cooperative has not suffered direct damages, loans may be made available to assist them through the disaster recovery period.