FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 19, 2005

BARBOUR PROPOSES SMALL BUSINESS AID PACKAGE

(Jackson, Miss.) – Governor Haley Barbour today proposed a small business emergency bridge loan program to provide temporary working capital for small businesses in Mississippi counties affected by Hurricane Katrina. The short-term loan would bridge the gap between the time the storm hit and a business’ receipt of other financial assistance.

“Many small businesses have been obliterated by Hurricane Katrina, and this proposal will help them survive and continue operations,” Governor Barbour said. “Mississippians need jobs, and we are working toward the rapid restoration of hundreds of small businesses that have been affected.”

The no-interest loans under Barbour’s proposal would range from $1,000 to $25,000 under terms for periods of 90 to 180 days based on individual circumstances. Eligible businesses would have between two and 100 employees, and would have been in business at least one year prior to the hurricane; the loan must be used for items directly-related to the physical impact of the storm.

Barbour said he would ask the Legislature to consider the small business loan proposal as part of a comprehensive program designed to help Mississippi recover from Katrina.

In conjunction with this proposal, the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) is establishing Business Assistance Centers in the affected areas to assist local economic development organizations and businesses. The BAC will consist of representatives from MDA, U.S. Small Business Administration and various state and local government agencies. The first center will open in Hancock County this week.

The emergency loan proposal is based on a successful program implemented in Florida.

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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741