SBA Has Disaster Relief Help

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

February 9, 2023

Anyone who sustained losses from this winter’s storms can apply for federal disaster financial assistance and moral support through various federal agencies and programs.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) office at 872 Higuera St., at the Cal Poly Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

“SBDCs,” reads an information sheet from the SBA, “are providing the following services to help small businesses impacted by the disaster” (no charge for any services): 

• Counseling for financial, accounting, marketing and other post-disaster challenges;

• Management and technical assistance;

• Business planning to help business owners re-establish their operations and plan for their future; 

• Help in reconstructing damaged or destroyed business records; 

• Assistance with updating or rewriting business plans; and,

• Assistance with accessing government contracts and procurement related to the disaster. 

The SBA also has Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC) “designed to provide entrepreneurial development, business training, counseling, and mentoring for eligible veterans who own or are starting a small business,” according to SBA.

SBA has but two VBOCs in California — one in Sacramento serving Northern California and one in Carlsbad serving Southern California. 

SLO County is considered Southern California and the Carlsbad VBOC contact information is: Phone — (760) 795-8739; email to: socalvboc@miracosta.edu; or see the website at: www.socalvboc.org.

SBA is also affiliated with Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), a mentorship program which offers expert assistance to anyone trying to start a new business. Mentors are available to help small businesses with their disaster recovery at no charge for individual and team counseling. Services include: 

• Free online disaster preparedness/recovery resources for small business at: www.score.org/disaster-preparedness-recovery; 

• Matching volunteer business-management mentors with clients in need of expert advice; 

• In-depth counseling and training with small business owners and managers; 

• Help to identify business problems, determine the causes and find solutions; and,

• Maintaining a confidential and personal relationship.

See the SCORE website at: www.score.org.

And finally, SBA also has Women’s Business Centers to help women with their business needs. “WBCs,” SBA said, “provide technical training and counseling to women and others who are currently in business or thinking about starting a business. Assistance is targeted to meet specific needs whether a beginner or seasoned entrepreneur.”

The WBC in SLO County is at the Mission Community Services Corp., 71 Zaca Ln., Ste 130; phone  (805) 595-1357; email: info@mcscorp.org;  or see: www.mcscorp.org to set up an appointment or for more information. WBC also has a website, see: www.awbc.org.

SBA said people should not wait too long to file applications with SBA for disaster assistance. 

“It is very important for applicants to initiate an SBA application to ensure recovery options by the March 16, 2023, deadline,” SBA said. “The Economic Injury deadline is Oct. 16, 2023. There is no cost or obligation, and eligibility is based on a case-by-case review for each applicant.”

It should also be noted that SBA is in the business of giving out low interest loans and not grants.

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