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Duquesne SBDC gets funding via CARES Act

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Here's how the money will be put to work to help small businesses deal with Covid-19 related challenges.

Local entrepreneur gets a boost from Small Business Development Center

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On an average day, Trina Worrell Benjamin handles invoices, returns calls and emails, directs a team of nearly a dozen employees and manages a client roster that has included big names like Rite Aid and Toys“R”Us. She admits her first steps into entrepreneurship were not easy. But with the help of…

Local entrepreneur gets a boost from Small Business Development Center

  • SBDC: Temple University SBDC
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Updated - Flood Recovery Assistance

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The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are helping small businesses that were devastated by the recent flooding throughout Pennsylvania. Confidential, no-fee consulting services are available from the SBDCs to help small businesses with loss documentation, information on claim filing, locating and setting up short-term and permanent replacement facilities, and assessing environmental clean-up options.

SBA Disaster Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, nonprofit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster.

Pennsylvania SBDC consultants are also skilled in helping small firms apply for SBA Disaster Loans and other sources of private, state, and federal financial assistance.

Disaster Loan Announcements

Tropical Storm Lee

Secretary of Agriculture (Updated January 19)

Chester and Lancaster Counties (Updated December 8)

Bradford, Susquehanna, Tioga and Wayne Counties (Updated December 8)

Fact Sheets

DEP Grant for Environmental Improvements

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced that emergency grant funding is available for flood-affected small businesses in 33 counties to make energy efficiency and pollution prevention improvements.

Through its Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP), the SBDC can help small businesses determine their eligibility and assist with the grant application process in accordance with DEP program guidelines.  Contact an EMAP Consultant or call the EMAP hotline at 877-ask-EMAP (275-3627) for more information.

Northern Tier Disaster Recovery Loan Fund

The Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission (NTRPDC) provides economic development services to small businesses in five counties of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Four of those five counties have been declared as Federal Disaster Areas – Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties.

The NTRPDC Loan Program, through funds provided by the USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant has developed the Northern Tier Disaster Recovery Loan Fund (DRLF), a micro loan fund to help small business on their road to recovery:

  • Micro loans up to $25,000 with or without a private match
  • Interest rate of 0%
  • Term of 3 to 5 years
  • Payment Deferral up to 6 months, giving businesses time to establish cash flow

For more information, please contact Paulette Potter, Loan Program Manager 570-265-1510

Disaster Recovery Centers

A Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is a readily accessible facility or mobile office where applicants may go for information about FEMA or other disaster assistance programs, or for questions related to your case. Some of the services that a DRC may provide:

  • Guidance regarding disaster recovery
  • Clarification of any written correspondence received
  • Housing Assistance and Rental Resource information
  • Answers to questions, resolution to problems and referrals to agencies that may provide further assistance
  • Status of applications being processed by FEMA.
  • SBA program information

There are numerous Disaster Recovery Centers open throughout Pennsylvania.

The centers, operated by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, are open in the following counties. The centers will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. You may visit any center, regardless of where you live or work. Check here for the latest information on Disaster Recovery Centers.

Recovering from Flood Damage

If you do decide to apply for federal disaster business assistance, it will be important for you to gather as much documentation as possible to support your damage claims:

1. An asset value list, both pre-flood and post-flood pictures. Possible sources of pre-flood pictures accepted by the SBA are satellite images from websites like Google Maps or Google Earth.

2. Business tax returns and business financial statements for the past two or three years can be very beneficial in proving claims.

3. You should also gather insurance information and show what was covered and what was not. The SBA programs usually take effect after insurance claims are settled. While the more documentation you have the better, if you do not have everything listed above, simply gather what you do have for the SBA application. When applying for assistance, keep in mind:

  • If your business was directly affected by the flood (water reached your business and caused damage or the effects of the water forced your business to close) you can apply directly to the SBA for assistance. You do not have to be turned down by another lender first.
  • If your business was indirectly affected by the flood (you are outside the flood zone but your sales decreased because your customers are recovering from flood damage) you do need to show you do not have access to capital from another source before you can apply to the SBA for assistance.
  • Unsecured business loans (loans of $13,999 or less) can expect a 21 day turnaround time. Secured loans (loans of $14,000 or more) will take longer as collateral needs to be verified. As in most business loans, costs and fees of verifying the collateral will apply.

4. You will be expected to offer what collateral you can to secure loans of $14,000 or more, but you will not be denied funding for lack of collateral.

5. SBA Disaster loans currently have a fixed rate of 4% and can be termed out up to 30 years to minimize payments.

The Pennsylvania SBDC does understand that you are probably overwhelmed and shocked by the damage caused by the recent flooding. We will continue to provide information as it becomes available. If you would like us to have additional contact information, if you have any questions on the disaster assistance program, or if you know of anyone else who will need assistance in recovering their small business from this natural disaster, please e-mail us .

Checklist for Federal Business Assistance

1.  Register for Disaster Assistance by going to, click on Disaster Assistance, and complete the form.  You can also contact FEMA directly at (800) 621-3362 / TTY (800) 462-7585

2.  People who have lost their jobs due to the flooding, including business owners, may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance and Benefits.  To find out more information, please contact the Career Link Office closest to you.

3.  Contact your insurance agent to identify what losses were covered by the insurance policies you have and what losses were not.

4.  Losses not covered by insurance may be eligible for federal assistance.  To protect against fraud, the federal government will be asking for documentation to “prove” losses.  To begin gathering documentation:

  • Gather pictures of your business, both pre-flood and post-flood, and be sure to include pictures of damaged equipment.
  • Prepare an asset list to show what items were lost in the flood and the replacement value.  Replacement values can be shown by gathering receipts from purchase or by calling your suppliers to obtain a copy of your purchase receipt.  Suppliers may also be able to provide current replacement value amounts for equipment.
  •  If you lost inventory, prepare a listing of what was lost.  If you have receipts, they can be used to justify a value for the inventory that was lost.  Again, suppliers may be able to help you in obtaining cost amounts.
  • Gather financial statements or tax returns that can be used to justify a loss of sales. If you business was impacted by sales revenue losses, either because the business was closed or because the customer base was directly affected, you will need to show how much sales were lost.  This can be done by showing average daily sales for the business or by comparing last year’s sales for the same time period.  Also, sales impact can be shown by the loss of power or phone lines used to accept credit card payments.  Keep in mind that you will need to demonstrate this loss by providing documentation supporting your loss claims.  The bank providing the credit card machine for your business may be able to help you generate the needed past sales numbers.

5.  Contact Suppliers, banks, and other people/businesses that your business owes money to.  Inform them of the recent flooding ad how your business has been affected.  Let them know your recovery plans (i.e. insurance, federal assistance) but inform them that your business may not be able to meet its debts for a few weeks or months, depending on the damage.  You should get this information to your debtors in writing.  Pictures of the business and how it was affected should also be included.

6.  If you do apply for and receive federal assistance you will be required to obtain necessary insurances to cover your business in the event a similar disaster happens in the future.  For example, you will be required to obtain flood insurance if you are seeking funds to rebuild a business damaged by the September flooding.

7.  As you begin to rebuild, you may need guidance and assistance with planning and re-opening marketing ideas.  You may also want to look into additional opportunities to re-build and make your business better than before the flooding impacted it.  For information on energy efficiency programs and assistance, as well as guidance in developing marketing and business plans, please visit the SBCC closest to you or e-mail us at

Contact Your Local SBDC

To get help with your business recovery efforts, find your nearest Pennsylvania SBDC location.

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    • scranton flood response

Donna Simpson and Steve Ursich from the Scranton Small Business Development Center offer flood planning and recovery assistance to Yogesh Patel, owner of the Blue Ridge Motel in New Milford, Susquehanna County.