Florida SBDC Network Urges Preparation for Hurricane Michael

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October 09, 2018
Media Contact:
Dianne Hafleigh
(850) 898-3486
News Release
October 9, 2018
For Immediate Release
Florida SBDC Network Urges Preparation for Hurricane Michael
Florida SBDC Network Headquarters (Pensacola, Fla.) – The Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance, urges small businesses across the Panhandle and Big Bend region to prepare for Hurricane Michael, a storm forecast to be one of the most destructive to hit the region in decades.  
“Hurricane Michael is a dangerous storm,” said Michael W. Myhre, CEO of the Florida SBDC Network. “Small businesses should take time to prepare today. We stand ready to help small businesses prepare, recover, and reemploy Florida’s families following the storm.”
Statewide with more than 40 locations from Pensacola to Key West, the Florida SBDC Network is a public-private partnership that leverages the resources of higher education and economic development to serve the needs of aspiring and existing small businesses. The mission of the Florida SBDC Network and SBDCs nationally is to provide the strategies, resources, and expertise to help small businesses grow and succeed.
As a principal responder in the state’s Emergency Support Function (ESF) 18 for Business & Industry, the Florida SBDC Network is a key economic development organization that supports disaster preparedness, recovery, and mitigation through its Business Continuation services.
Following the storm, Florida SBDC business consultants, many of whom are Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI) Certified Business Continuity Professionals, are available to assist impacted businesses prepare disaster loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges.
As part of its service offering, the Florida SBDC also offers Bizaster, a free mobile disaster assistance app. Bizaster, available in both English and Spanish for Android and iOS, features risk assessments, customizable checklists, and other resources. The Florida SBDC at FIU – a member of the Florida SBDC Network – developed the app in partnership with FIU’s Extreme Events Institute and the U.S. Agency for International Development Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.
Depending on the storm’s severity and impact, the network will also deploy its mobile assistance centers into communities for impacted businesses to receive on-site assistance.
Preparedness Resources
·    For more information regarding the Florida SBDC’s Business Continuation services and Bizaster app, please click here.
·    For a list of preparedness resources, please click here.
·    www.FloridaDisaster.org – The state’s official source of general and specific information for individuals and businesses from the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
·    www.FloridaDisaster.biz – A new website from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity that helps businesses prepare, respond, and recover from storms.
·    For a hurricane preparedness checklist and other resources from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), please click here.
·    Businesses can call the state’s Private Sector Hotline at (850) 815-4925 for inquiries about the storm, preparedness information, and post-impact information. 
About the Florida SBDC Network:
For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy. Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started. A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.
Dianne Hafleigh
(850) 898-3486