Free workshops offer help to some Sandy-damaged small businesses

    A series of free workshops for small businesses in Monmouth and Ocean counties impacted by Superstorm Sandy offers information for owners to recover, rebuild and flourish in the future.

    The first two workshops, conducted by the New Jersey Small Business Developement Council and funded by a one-time SBA Sandy recovery grant, were held on Monday in Long Branch, and yesterday in Hazlet. There, a team of consultants offered pro bono advice and instruction on topics including marketing and social media strategies, navigating insurance claims and policies, and how to apply for available small business grants.

    The third workshop will be held in Ocean County on Sept. 16, with the venue and time to be announced. The workshops are free, but registration is required by calling (732) 842-8685 or visiting www.mosbdc.com . 

    At Monday night’s workshop in Long Branch, insurance expert and business consultant DonnaLyn Giegerich urged business owners to be wise about how much flood insurance they buy, and how.

    “Don’t go in and ask for the cheapest package,” she said. “Go in and ask for the best and work your way down to your needs.”

    Giegerich, president of DonnaLyn Giegerich Consulting in Red Bank, shared helpful websites, including the Federal Emergency Management Authority’s National Flood Insurance Program and urged business owners to “document your losses. Everyone gets paralysis in these types of crises, but get through it.”

    Patience Purdy, of the NJ Economic Development Authority, explained that while the SBA’s loan program deadline has passed, grants are available to businesses or non-profit entities which sustained a minimum of $5,000 in damage. Grants up to $50,000 per damaged location are available.

    Other eligibility criteria include: 

    * the business must have been operating in New Jersey as of Oct. 29, 2012;

    * the business must have less than $1 million in liquid assets;

    * the business must have annual revenues of at least $25,000;

    * storm damage must have been to physical property, including loss of inventory;

    EDA representatives are traveling the coast reaching out directly to business owners, Purdy said. Other information and application instructions for the Stronger New Jersey Business Grant Program are available here: http://application.njeda.com/strongernjbusinessgrant/ . 

     

     

     

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