Leaders of seven nonprofit organizations serving Eastern Kentucky have joined together to support small businesses as they recover from the catastrophic flooding that occurred on July 28.
Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), Mountain Association, Southeast Kentucky Economic Development (SKED), Community Ventures, Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, Kentucky Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), and Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation (KHIC) are collaborating to ensure that businesses have the information and resources they need to rebuild.
The Small Business Administration and these partner organizations have opened Business Recovery Centers in Hazard, Manchester, and Whitesburg, to provide one-on-one assistance for Eastern Kentuckians as they apply to available programs. In addition to getting support from the SBA on its disaster loan programs, business owners and nonprofit leaders can talk to staff from the collaborative about their programs.
Each organization is offering services to complement the SBA and FEMA assistance, including grants, additional loan assistance, as well as business coaching. For example, the SBDCs have free business coaches available to assist Eastern Kentuckians through reopening their business after a disaster, navigating a business crisis, and managing a business in times of financial difficulty. They have also created a Facebook group for business owners to ask questions outside of the Centers.
“In times of crisis, we want to work as efficiently and effectively as possible to meet the needs of those directly impacted,” said SOAR Chief Operating Officer Joshua Ball. “This collaborative effort is streamlining information, leveraging each other’s capacity, and eliminating silos to serve those in need with a sense of urgency.”
While the Centers are in Clay, Letcher, and Perry counties, the disaster declaration covers Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike, and Whitley Counties. There may also be options in adjacent or other counties for some of the programs if a business or organization can show they have flood-related damages.
The Centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. until August 20, 2022 at the following locations:
Hazard Community and Technical College
Jolly Classroom Center
1 Community College Drive
Hazard, KY 41701
Eastern Kentucky University – Manchester
50 University Drive
Manchester, KY 40962
229 East Main Street
Whitesburg, KY 41858