Nassau County officials have set up a program to provide financial assistance and help in navigating federal disaster relief offerings to small- and midsized businesses struggling in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy. In Suffolk County, aid efforts are also under way.
"We want everybody to know there are resources available to them," Nicholas Terzulli, director of business development for Nassau's Industrial Development Agency, said Monday. County Executive Edward Mangano "wants to do everything he can to help small businesses rebuild and stay in Nassau County."
Nassau's program -- called Local Enterprise Assistance and Development Services, or LEADS -- offers eligible businesses with 100 or fewer employees up to $99,000 of aid through a sales tax exemption on any furniture, fixtures, equipment and material purchased for reconstruction. Companies with 100 or fewer workers account for 60 percent of Nassau County's workforce, the county said.
The program, launched last month to boost the local economy, had required recipients to create or preserve jobs, but for businesses hurt by Sandy, applicants will only be asked to rebuild within the county, Terzulli said. The program also will help business owners access state and federal assistance, such as Small Business Administration disaster loans. A representative from the state's Small Business Development Agency also will be working with Nassau's staff through the week, he said.
In Suffolk, officials said information and aid to businesses are available, with more efforts planned. The Suffolk Industrial Development Agency is working with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone on "crafting an initiative to aid small businesses who have been affected by the storm," said Anthony Manetta, Suffolk IDA executive director.
At Suffolk County Department of Labor sites in Hauppauge and Riverhead, representatives from the Small Business Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state's Small Business Development Centers have been on hand to help business owners walk through the aid forms, said Gloria Glowacki, associate regional director of the Stony Brook Small Business Development Center. In addition, the Stony Brook center and others like it have opened their training rooms to small business owners seeking help.
Although FEMA offers grants for residents and not for small businesses, there are other forms of FEMA-funded aid for small entrepreneurs, such as disaster unemployment assistance for those who are self-employed, Glowacki noted.
Nassau County businesses can call 516-571-1745 or email LEADS@NassauIDA.org.
In Suffolk there are small business disaster recovery locations at the county Department of Labor offices at 725 Veterans Memorial Hwy., Hauppauge, and 300 Center Dr., Riverhead.
Businesses can also contact their local Small Business Development Centers. Go to nyssbdc.org/index.aspx.