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    $75,000 grant enables Small Business Development Center to prepare small businesses for disasters

    When it comes to natural disasters, Southeast Texans know as much as anyone about the stress and uncertainty of recovery and a return to normal.

    Through a generous $75,000 grant provided by Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the Wells Fargo Foundation, Lamar State College Port Arthur’s Small Business Development Center will be able to make that path to recovery more strategic and much smoother in the face of disaster.

    The grant allows further development of the Small Business Resiliency Network, a 20-organization cohort in Alabama, New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, and Texas. Through that network, Lamar State College Port Arthur SBDC is providing one-on-one support, technical assistance, and workshops for small businesses to help them be more prepared for things such as weather-related disasters, pandemic impact, or an industrial emergency.

    The first workshop will take place in Bridge City on August 18 with plans for additional events held in Mid-Jefferson County, Port Arthur, and Orange. The Bridge City event, hosted through the Chamber of Commerce, 

    From immediate relief to longer-term resiliency, the workshops will help small businesses located in disaster-prone locations recover from catastrophes and prepare for future adversities through activities and supports designed to address the full cycle of disaster response. 
    Additionally, LSCPA SBDC will participate in a training on Disaster Planning for Small Businesses. Training topics may include organizational capacity/shifts, business continuity planning, business operational support, financing needs related to disaster preparedness and recovery. The training will include up to 40 hours of asynchronous and synchronous learning and focus on the five learning objectives below:

    1. Participants can facilitate exercises with small businesses to identify barriers to preparedness.

    2. Participants can conduct a Risk assessment (Threat, Hazard, Vulnerability, Impact) and prioritize investments and attention accordingly.

    3. Participants can develop strategies to maintain essential functions during emergencies, crises, and disasters that ensure safety and mitigate loss (income, jobs, relationships, community services, physical loss, etc.

    4. Participants are able to facilitate reconstitution, rapid innovation, and adaptation to both short-term and long-term changes in their environment and markets to resume or improve business outcomes post-impact.

    5. Participants are able to understand who or where small business owners can go for further recovery and preparedness assistance outside the scope of their organization’s services training disaster resiliency coaches that will provide support including disaster recovery support, long-term business planning, and connections to capital.

    “By rooting our approach at the intersection of economic and environmental recovery, our network will strengthen the resilience of our communities through the resilience of our small businesses,” indicated by Dana Espinal, director of the LSCPA Small Business Development Center.