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Contacts: John Atwood, (202) 482-4085
Monday, February 11, 2013

U.S. EDA Invests $400,000 to Help Businesses Rebound from Tornado Damage in Birmingham, Alabama, Region

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) today announced a $400,000 grant to Operation Hope of Birmingham, Alabama, to establish the Alabama Small Business Disaster Recovery Program, which will provide critical technical assistance to area businesses that were impacted by tornadoes in April 2011.

"This EDA investment will help ensure the Birmingham region's economic resiliency in the face of natural disaster,� said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine. "The Alabama Small Business Disaster Recovery Program will offer storm-damaged businesses in the region the opportunity to acquire the skills they need to grow stronger and respond more effectively to future crises.�

According to estimates made by the University of Alabama, the storms reduced Alabama's GDP by as much as $1.3 billion and resulted in the loss of between 5,600 and 13,200 jobs statewide. Over a two-year period, the Alabama Small Business Disaster Recovery Program is expected to offer guidance to more than 1,000 business owners in the six-county area surrounding Birmingham. Services offered will include assistance with business plans, marketing plans, banking, accounting, loans, and improving credit scores.

The project is part of a $200 million appropriation made by Congress to EDA to help communities that received a major disaster designation in fiscal year 2011 with long-term economic recovery and infrastructure support.

Within the context of the administration's National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) (PDF), EDA serves as the Coordinating Agency on behalf of the Department of Commerce for the Economic Recovery Support Function (RSF) to coordinate the activities of a diverse group of partner agencies supporting recovery in disaster-impacted communities. The activities consist primarily of improved information sharing and the leveraging of existing resources to make a positive impact for communities affected by disasters.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.