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Fund seeks to help businesses damaged by flood.

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber and the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry have teamed up with other regional business organizations to create a fund specifically designed to help small-business owners affected by the flood quickly get back on their feet and back in business.

The two groups announced the creation of the Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund Aug. 24 in partnership with Greater New Orleans Inc., the Louisiana chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, the Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and One Acadiana.

"Small businesses are the most impacted," BRAC President and CEO Adam Knapp said. "Jumpstarting their recovery through grantmaking will expedite a longer-term entrepreneurial renaissance for our community."

Originally announced by LABI on Aug. 22 as the Louisiana Small Business Disaster Relief Fund, the fund has been expanded and rebranded as the Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund to reflect its evergreen status to assist small businesses anywhere in the state following disasters.

"When we announced the fund earlier this week, we heard from other business organizations interested in doing something similar to provide immediate assistance to small businesses," said LABI President Stephen Waguespack. "We decided to join forces, recognizing that we'll have greater impact working collectively--essentially helping more businesses more quickly."

The fund will focus on making micro-grants of less than $10,000 to affected small businesses. The idea is to provide them with cash, no strings attached, that they can spend on whatever services or equipment will help them get back in commerce most expediently, Knapp said.

NOLA Media Group, which owns NOLA. com | The Times-Picayune, is one of the first major donors to the fund. The media company has pledged $100,000 to the Rebirth Fund and will partner with the Foundation for Louisiana to administer the grant.

Eligible small businesses must be located within one of the 20 parishes included in the federal disaster declaration area, have 50 or fewer employees, and have been in business on Aug. 10, 2016.

Those interested in contributing to the Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund are encouraged to visit the Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund's website for additional information. Information about donating to the fund will also be accessible on the websites of each participating business organization.

--Stephanie Riegel of the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

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Title Annotation:Small Business
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Sep 5, 2016
Words:381
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