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Florida SBDC Network Headquarters (Pensacola, Fla.) – The Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of small business assistance, urges small business owners to prepare for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, which began yesterday, June 1, and extends through November.   According to a forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to be above normal, with a likely range of 13-20 named storms, of which six to 10 could become hurricanes and three to five could become major hurricanes.   The Florida SBDC Network encourages small businesses to prepare for hurricane season by developing a disaster preparedness plan. 
“With another active season predicted this year and the ongoing challenges of COVID, all small businesses should take time now to develop a preparedness plan,” said Greg Britton, CEO of the Florida SBDC Network. “No storm should be taken lightly and all small businesses owners should prepare each year no matter the forecast.”   Businesses should consider several elements in preparing for a disaster. Not only is it important to protect staff, their building, data, and inventory, it is also critical to prepare a plan to continue operations following the disaster. In the event of a disaster, the network deploys its mobile assistance centers (MACs) to provide on-site assistance for impacted small businesses.
A good plan may include provisions to relocate to a pre-identified site, retrieve data, including employee, customer and vendor records; and a way to operate efficiently with a smaller staff of key individuals.    The Florida SBDC also strongly encourages businesses to back up data and ensure they have access to important files, such as tax records, legal, and financial documents.    As a principal responder in the state’s Emergency Support Function (ESF) 18 for Business & Industry, the Florida SBDC Network helps small businesses prepare and recover from disasters.  Through the network’s service offering, professionally certified business consultants can help small business owners develop comprehensive business continuity, emergency preparedness, and disaster recovery plans at no cost.    The Florida SBDC also offers Bizaster, a free mobile disaster assistance app. Bizaster, available in both English and Spanish for Android and iOS, features risk assessments, customizable checklists, and other resources. Florida SBDCs also offer training on disaster preparedness, tips, and resources.   In the event of a disaster, Florida SBDC disaster specialists help affected businesses prepare disaster loan applications. The network will also deploy its mobile assistance centers into communities for affected businesses to receive on-site assistance with disaster loans and other post-disaster challenges.   Preparedness resources   For more information regarding the Florida SBDC’s preparedness and recovery services and Bizaster app, please click here. The state’s disaster preparedness sales tax holiday extends now through June 6. To learn more about the holiday and qualifying items, please click here. For a list of preparedness resources, including tips for assembling a Business Ready “Records-To-Go” Box, please click here. www.FloridaDisaster.org – The state’s official source of information for individuals and businesses from the Florida Division of Emergency Management. www.FloridaDisaster.biz – The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s website to provide businesses access to critical information before, during, and after a disaster.  For a hurricane preparedness checklist and other resources from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), please click here.   For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.  
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