PSU office helps with business disaster loan process in Joplin
The effects of the Joplin tornado on small businesses have been great, they're ongoing and they touch more businesses than people may realize, according to Kathryn Richard, director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Pittsburg State University. Members of the PSU SBDC staff are working with their counterparts in Joplin this week to help small business owners with SBA disaster aid.
June 15, 2011 12:00AM
Cindy Triplett and Kathryn Richard, SBDC at PSU, examine loan application information at the Newman Innovation Center in Joplin.
The effects of the Joplin tornado on small businesses have been great, they're ongoing and they touch more businesses than people may realize, according to Kathryn Richard, director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Pittsburg State University.
"Just because a business wasn't destroyed or damaged in the tornado doesn't mean it wasn't affected," Richard said. "Many businesses have seen their markets change dramatically as a result of the tornado and it may be many months before it resembles anything like normal."
Richard and her colleagues at PSU's SBDC, Cindy Triplett and Tom Byler, are working with their counterparts at the Small Business and Technology Development Center in Joplin this week to help business owners through the process of applying for low-interest disaster loans offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The Kansans are no strangers to disasters. Richard helped after the Greensburg tornado and again after flooding across large parts of southeast Kansas.
"We've each worked disasters before," Richard said, "but each situation is different."
What set the Joplin tornado apart, Richard said, was its sheer magnitude.
"Because of the size of the tornado and the number of businesses affected, we knew it would put a strain on the resources of the Joplin office, so we offered to help."
Richard said the loans the SBA offers for damage are better understood than those for economic injury. Economic injury loans, she explained, are designed to help businesses that have suffered economic loss as a result of a disaster, even though they suffered no physical damage.
A hypothetical example could be a company that had as its major client a manufacturer destroyed in the tornado.
"Suddenly, the market has changed," Richard said. "It may be many months before the manufacturer can rebuild and business once again flows to the other, undamaged company. That's where an Economic Injury Disaster Loan might be a good option for a qualifying business."
Richard said businesses need not be in Joplin to qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The area in which the SBA is offering injury disaster loans includes Cherokee and Crawford counties in Kansas, Delaware and Ottawa counties in Oklahoma, and Benton and several other counties in Arkansas.
Richard said business owners interested in either physical disaster loans or economic injury disaster loans should go to the Newman Innovation Center at 320 E. 4th street in Joplin. The center is open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Richard said the deadline to apply for physical disaster loans in July 8 and the deadline for economic injury disaster loans is late this year.