VISA

Visa Launches Program To Help SMBs Post-Natural Disaster

Visa announced the launch of The Visa Back to Business Project, which allows U.S. consumers to support small businesses (SMBs) affected by federally declared natural disasters.

Data shows that after a natural disaster, 96 percent of small businesses experience revenue losses, with 35 percent getting hit with losses greater than $25,000. Last September, it was reported that 7,000 jobs were cut from small businesses in the U.S. that month, with hurricanes as the main culprit behind the job losses as many SMBs in Texas and Florida closed their doors before Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Damage to these businesses sustained during the hurricanes also had an impact on job numbers. According to the Labor Department, applications for unemployment increased immediately after the hurricanes. Overall, 135,000 jobs across companies of all sizes were added during the month, the lowest number in a year.

In addition, a recent Visa survey found it would take an average of more than $850,000 to rebuild their SMBs following a natural disaster, while FEMA reported that 40 percent of small businesses in disaster-affected areas never reopen their doors.

The Visa Back to Business Project was created to help address the issues that SMBs face after one of these disasters. Once the company has identified that an SMB in an affected area has processed a Visa transaction following a natural disaster, it will be added to the merchant locator tool so consumers can find small businesses and help support them.

David Simon, Visa's senior vice president and global head of small business and medium enterprises (SME), said in a press release.“Inspired by stories like that of the Three Brothers Bakery, which experienced a sharp decline in sales even once it reopened after Hurricane Harvey, Visa is proud to highlight over 60,000 small businesses from affected areas as we launch The Visa Back to Business Project.”

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