Business owners affected by disaster find help at the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University

Leaving hurricane−lashed New Orleans behind‚ Violet Henderson discovered that her losses were…

Georgia (Oct 17, 2005) — Business owners affected by disaster find help at the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University

Terri Thornton

Abstract

Contact: Terri Thornton‚ 404−932−4347 or territhornton@mindspring.com

Leaving hurricane−lashed New Orleans behind‚ Violet Henderson discovered that her losses were more than just her home and possessions. Her business and main livelihood had also been destroyed by the flooding.

“I spent days and days calling insurance companies‚ FEMA‚ just about anyone who I thought might help us‚” Henderson said. “It was terrifically frustrating‚ until quite by accident we found the Kennesaw State University Small Business Development Center.”

Responding quickly to business owners affected by the hurricanes in the Gulf Coast communities‚ the Coles College of Business has launched the Small Business Restoration Initiative. This collaborative effort leverages the strengths of the Coles College of Business‚ the Small Business Development Center (SBDC)‚ the Cobb Microenterprise Center‚ and the depths of experience of the Coles College alumni‚ faculty and students. With assistance from partnering accounting‚ legal‚ banking and other professional firms‚ the initiative launched a business disaster website (http://coles.kennesaw.edu/disaster) to assist business owners struggling to rebuild business documents‚ contact their former customer base or apply for disaster loans.

“According to some reports‚ the recent hurricanes crippled over a third of small and micro establishments in the affected regions‚” said Prof. Govind Hariharan‚ Co−Director of the Initiative and Interim Chair of the Department of Economics‚ Finance‚ and Quantitative Analysis at the Coles College. “The pressing need for help‚ accompanied by the enthusiastic support of business leaders like Dr. Paul Lopez of HomeBanc were integral in our taking this initiative forward‚” he added.

Just 48 hours after Violet Henderson’s call to the KSU Small Business Development Center‚ SBDC Director Lydia C. Jones assisted her in applying for an SBA Disaster loan. After the paperwork was completed‚ Violet and her husband Derrick stopped by to thank her for the extra effort that helped them have a glimmer of hope that their nightmare might soon be over.

“This initiative is unique because most of the humanitarian aid is going towards personal relief‚ but very little attention has been given to the business owners who’ve been equally as devastated by the disasters‚” Jones said.

The Small Business Restoration Initiative is spearheaded by Co−Directors Jones and Hariharan‚ as well as Cobb Microenterprise Center Executive Director Patricia Harris‚ HomeBanc Mortgage Corporation Executive Vice President of Business Development and Sales Dr. Paul Lopez‚ and Smith Moore LLP attorney Toby Watt.

“The goal of HomeBanc is to support and enrich our communities‚” said Lopez. “This committee is one way I can lend my expertise to enrich and fulfill lives‚ which is the mission of HomeBanc.”

For more information about the program call the KSU Small Business Development Center at 770−423−6450 or visit http://coles.kennesaw.edu/disaster/.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 38,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

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