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The Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center joined the Small Business Administration (SBA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Napa-Lake County Workforce Investment Board for an informational session on Wednesday on how businesses damaged by the Valley Fire can register to access disaster assistance loans and other business -related resources.

The Napa-Sonoma SBDC and SCORE discussed services available to help put business back on track.

Since the recovery effort started, the SBA has approved more than $10 million in federal disaster loans for businesses and residents hurt by the September Valley and Butte fires in Lake and Calaveras counties.

According to the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance, the SBA has approved $570,400 for businesses and about $10,452,200 for residents to help rebuild and recover from this disaster.

The SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged property. They help fund businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters to repair or rebuild.

These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

“The SBA Disaster Loan Program is the government’s ‘Recovery Bank’ for those homeowners, renters, and businesses to get the immediate funding to replace their losses, said Mark Quinn, SBA District Director.

“If any business owner has suffered fire loss or – very important – business losses from the Valley Fire, they should first make sure they’re registered with FEMA, and then speak to the SBA Disaster staff.”

“The SBA Disaster Loan is the best tool available for Valley Fire victims, but the SBA provides more services than Disaster Loans alone to help Lake County. The ‘regular’ SBA programs of guaranteed loans along with free consulting through the Small Business Development Center and SCORE are available to help businesses in the long-term recovery and growth of Lake County. The dual SBA missions of immediate Disaster Recovery and long- term economic rebuilding are the plan.”

Businesses may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.

The SBA can also lend additional money to help business and residents with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

Interest rates are low:

- 4 percent for businesses

- 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations and

- 1.875 percent for homeowners and renters

Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

For more information about registering for disaster assistance, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visiting SBA’s website at sba.gov/disaster.

SBDC Business Advisors are available to help with loan packaging, business planning, financial analysis and overall business operations as businesses start the process of recovery.

To contact the Napa Valley College Napa-Sonoma SBDC, call (707) 256-7250 or visit napasonomasbdc.org to request services.

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Mary Cervantes is the business services director for Napa Valley College Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center. Reach her at 256-7253 or mcervantes@napavalley.edu.

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