The SBA has launched a five-year pilot program to help small businesses in 118 disaster-prone communities prepare for hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes.
Under the SBA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Loan Program, eligible entrepreneurs can apply for low-interest loans to finance disaster-prevention improvements such as installing fireproof roofing or upgrading buildings to structures that can better withstand the tremors caused by earthquakes or high winds.
Congress has allocated $15 million annually for the program. Business owners can apply for as much as $50,000 at a 4 percent interest rate for up to 30 years.
To determine whether your community qualifies, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency Web site (http://www.fema.gov) and click on the Project Impact icon. To find out annual deadlines for filing applications or to get additional information about the loan program, visit http://www.sba.gov/disaster or call (202) 205-6743.