The sooner local businesses return to normal operations after a disaster, the faster the surrounding neighborhoods and city recover. We will collaborate with public and private institutions and organizations to identify best practices; facilitate the use of continuity plan templates and other resources; develop policies and procedures for improved situational awareness; coordinate between business support organizations; and communicate with businesses after a disaster. Ultimately it is in each organization’s interest to proactively plan for uncertainty and disruption, but our community at large has a clear stake in helping all businesses weather the inevitable crises and bounce back faster and better.
Business Continuity Planning
Getting businesses back up and running quickly after an emergency event speaks to the preparedness of a place while making significant strides in reducing overall impact of the emergency event. This collection of solutions and blocks provides a quick summary of resources on this topic.
Small- and medium-sized businesses on strategic corridors in New Orleans will be coached in the development of disaster preparedness strategies. Building off of the work of the City Planning Commission’s Main Street Resilience Program, we will measure resilience readiness and prioritize actions for short-, medium-, and long-term time frames, then conduct an awareness and training program for each of the corridors. The initiative will help business owners assess their preparedness, identify achievable improvements, and explore resources to support business continuity, increase energy and resource efficiency, and enhance economic stability.
As a part of the Strategic Foresight Initiative's (SFI) scenario planning and trends analysis, SFI employs an analytical approach used commonly by organizations such as the U.S. National Intelligence Council to identify macro-level factors that have significant influence in the world. These macro-level factors fall into five dimensions—Social, Technological, Environmental, Economic, and Political (STEEP). Using this STEEP approach, the SFI community of practitioners and subject matter experts identified 9 major drivers of change (categorized along the 5 STEEP dimensions) that will likely have the most significant influence on disaster management in the U.S. over the next 20 years. These drivers include Changing Role of the Individual, Climate Change, Critical Infrastructure, Evolving Terrorist Threat, Global Interdependencies, Government Budgets, Technological Innovation and Dependency, Universal Access to and Use of Information, and US Demographic Shifts.
The ability for businesses to rapidly access resources and financial assistance after a disaster is essential for the successful return to operations. Each day that businesses remains idle represents lost revenue, wages and taxes, eliminating vital infusions of financial capital just when a community needs it most. Boulder will partner with local businesses and associations to develop the necessary capacity, relationships and systems to quickly and efficiently collect impact information and data, access recovery funds and return businesses to operation after a disaster with minimal disruption. The city will also explore the creation of a Business Disaster Assistance Center that would become operational when needed. By developing a user-friendly process to address gaps in our response to the 2013 flood, we are preparing for future uncertainty.
Ensuring the continuing vitality of the local economy is an essential component of long-term community resilience. The City of Boulder will incorporate an analysis of the local business community’s vulnerability to disruptions in core infrastructure provision, workforce availability and financial services into an update to the Economic Sustainability Strategy. Boulder will also explore whether there are latent vulnerabilities to larger macro-economic trends that the city can plan for proactively. Cyclical swings in the economy are normal and are predictable stresses whose effects can be minimized through thoughtful preparation.
Small businesses form a critical part of any community, providing jobs as well as goods and services. After Sandy, the disruption to businesses in affected communities meant lost earnings for business owners, displaced jobs for workers, and reduced access to vital goods and services. As a result, residents in many communities were left with limited options to meet their daily needs. In response, the City provided financial and technical assistance to more than 650 businesses in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. In addition, the Hurricane Sandy Business Loan and Grant Program will have served more than 250 businesses before the end of 2015. As of April 2015, the City has approved awards worth $35 million to more than 200 businesses. In Spring 2015, the City will announce the winners of RISE : NYC, a $30 million competition that leverages innovative resiliency technologies in energy infrastructure, telecommunications, and building systems for small businesses. Additionally, the City will launch a new Business PREP program to provide tailored resources and technical assistance in preparing and planning for future disruptive events to businesses citywide and thereby enhancing their resiliency.