WASHINGTON, DC – The US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, along with founding sponsor FedEx, today announced the launch of the Small Business Readiness for Resiliency Program (R4R), to provide financial assistance to small business owners impacted by a natural disaster. R4R will distribute approximately 400 grants to eligible small businesses over the next four years.
“Small businesses employ nearly 50% of the US workforce and are central to our economic stability as a nation, ”said Rob Glenn, vice president of global resilience at the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “We’re proud to work with FedEx to help small business owners build greater resiliency that helps them withstand the next disaster.”
While small businesses serve as the backbone of local economies, they are more vulnerable and more likely to fail following a disaster than larger enterprises.
It is estimated that more than 30% of employers in the US are based in coastal counties, areas that are most vulnerable to hurricanes. Nearly 1.5 million employers and soloprenuers were impacted by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
As natural disasters increase in frequency and intensity, taking proactive measures to develop disaster preparedness and recovery solutions can be the difference between staying open or closing forever regardless of the type of hazard – flooding, hurricane, wildfire, tornados, and other perils.
“FedEx is proud to continue its long history of supporting small business resiliency and recovery. This multi-year commitment with the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation allows us to contribute directly to small businesses that actively prepare for natural disasters, ”said Jenny Robertson, senior vice president of integrated marketing and communications at FedEx.
The US Chamber Foundation will maintain a database of small businesses across the country where it will pull from when a disaster strikes to distribute funds. To join the database, a business must complete a preparedness checklist. From assessing business vulnerability to developing an emergency action plan, this checklist helps ensure a business is taking the right steps to be resilient should an emergency occur.
R4R details and process for the 2022 disaster season:
- Eligible and interested small businesses, as classified by the Small Business Administration, can complete the preparedness checklist here to be added to the database and considered for a grant. A business must complete the checklist prior to being impacted by a disaster.
- After June 1, 2022, in new Federal disasters where FEMA activates the Individual and Household Assistance Program, the US Chamber Foundation will select businesses from the database to receive financial assistance who meet the requirements.
- More than 100 grants of $ 5,000 each are expected to be distributed between June 2022 and May 2023.
Recipients will be notified via email and funds will be disbursed on a rolling basis. Businesses that are not selected to receive a grant in 2022 will still be considered should another disaster strike in their community over the next 3 years. After receiving a grant from R4R, a business is no longer eligible for additional funds in subsequent years or disasters.