The Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce has a new initiative intended to help businesses stay afloat as the try to continue recovering from the flood in the midst of a bad economy. Bob Harschnek leads a team of five case managers for the program who are helping business owners apply for state and federal disaster assistance. Harschnek says Cedar Rapids has bucked the trends so far, but that will change if the business climate does not improve.
Harschnek says, “National statistics show that in the first two years about 40% of the businesses go under and in three years time 55% of the businesses go under.” Harschnek says if nothing is done in the next three months, more than one hundred businesses are expected to run out of money.
“We’re in a crisis mode and I’m not exaggerating. When we were talking with those 80 businesses it became very clear to us pretty quickly that they have a significant cash flow problem,” Harschnek says. Harscheck says assistance programs include reimbursement for replacing lost equipment and help for repaying loans.