July 24, 2009

SBA help available to storm-damaged businesses

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- On a daily basis and in a variety of ways, the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale assists small businesses located throughout the region.

Inquiries have poured in since the devastating May 8 derecho and yes, help is available. They’re working to get the word out that special assistance is available for a limited time from the U.S. Small Business Administration, funding agency for the center at SIUC.

Lynn Andersen Lindberg, director of the ISBDC, said she is encouraging her clients and other businesses throughout the region to stop by one of the SBA’s Disaster Loan Outreach Centers in Marion or Carbondale as soon as possible and learn about the low-interest loan funding available.

Businesses and non-profit organizations can qualify for up to $2 million in loans at interest rates as low as 4 percent for a term up to 30 years. The funds are for repair or replacement of damaged or destroyed property. There also is financing available to cover the cost of preventative measures to avoid future storm damage. In addition, there is economic injury funding to provide working capital to businesses damaged in the storm.

“This is really critical to help small businesses recover from the May 8 storm,” Andersen Lindberg said. “We’re really encouraging our clients and other businesses to visit with SBA officials at the Carbondale and Marion locations and see what help is available for them.”

The Jackson County Center is at 200 S. Illinois Ave. in the Carbondale Civic Center. The Williamson County center is at the Williamson County Emergency Management Agency, 8805 EMA Road in Marion.

Time is running out though. Those centers are open only until 4:30 p.m. Thursday, July 30. The Carbondale location’s hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays today through July 30 and Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., July 25. The Marion location is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays today through July 30 and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, July 25.

Andersen Lindberg said individuals are also eligible for disaster loan funding. Rates as low as 2.437 percent for up to 30 years in amounts up to $200,000 are possible.

The SBA sets exact terms for the business, individual and not-for-profit organization loans based upon each applicant’s financial situation. The outreach centers have loan applications and all of the details about loans for individuals and businesses.

To learn more or see if you or your business qualifies for the special funding, visit either outreach center during regular hours. The deadline is Sept. 14 to apply for loan funding to cover physical property damage. Those seeking funds for economic injury must apply by April 16, 2010.

Andersen Lindberg encourages people to visit with officials at the outreach centers to get personal assistance and all questions answered. Those unable to visit one of the centers can also learn more by contacting the SBA’s customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 if hearing impaired) between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. or via e-mail at disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Additional information is also online at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.