PRLog - Oct. 22, 2013 - NEW YORK -- It has been a year since Hurricane Sandy wreaked its havoc. The “Super Storm,” at times spanning over 1,000 miles wide, left the East Coast with economic damages totaling over $50 billion—$18 billion of which was in New York City alone. Within a matter of days after Hurricane Sandy struck the Eastern Seaboard, small business loan provider Accion quickly developed a new loan program that has, in its eight months of operation, disbursed over $1.1 million in loan and grant funds to 80 small business owners. While the Accion office was left without power for days, Accion employees worked remotely to quickly craft a new loan program offering business loans up to $25,000 with an unprecedented interest rate of 4.99%, three-month deferment period, and all fees waived for small business owners affected by the storm.
Kamal Elsayad in his Brooklyn store.
Kamal Elsayad, owner of the local Brooklyn convenience store K&Y Grocery, is one of the nearly 100,000 affected small business owners who struggled to recover their businesses in the aftermath of the storm. “Many people told me it was not worth investing to reopen my shop. But I needed to reopen so that I could support my two sons. Thanks to Accion, I received a $10,000 loan and $1,500 grant from Accion that allowed me to restock my lost inventory and replace damaged items,” says Kamal. K&Y Grocery is just one of many small businesses affected by the storm and one of 80 that received help from Accion.
“Hurricane Sandy tested us, knocking us out of our New York office and for some, out our very own homes. Despite lack of office, lack of power, lack of information access and other real challenges, we delivered on the mission to always be adaptable, dedicated, and maintain integrity and empathy no matter the odds,” says Accion CEO Paul Quintero. Just ten days after the storm, Accion had raised enough fundraising support to leverage a $725,000 loan and grant fund. While Accion’s Sandy Recovery Loan Program officially ended on June 30, 2013, the positive effect of Accion’s financial assistance continues to carry on. Not only did Accion disburse loans to 80 business owners, but Accion’s loan consultants counseled over 175 small business owners on how to regain cash flow in the wake of the hurricane.
Sandy Recovery Loan participants collectively saved 282 jobs and created 27, proving the power of adaptability and strength in times of disaster.