MANATEE -- With hurricane season a couple months away, Manatee County is hosting a Business Recovery Expo on April 28.
The free event, billed as the first of its kind in Manatee, will be from 8:30 a.m.-11 a.m. at Bradenton Area Convention Center, One Haben Blvd., Palmetto.
The county's Economic Development Division will host the expo, which will "help local business owners network and connect with community resources," according to a news release.
"The goal of the Business Recovery Expo is to engage local businesses and to bring key attention to the process of having a plan and being prepared," said Karen Stewart, the county's economic development program manager. "Disasters come in all forms, shapes and sizes -- not just bad weather. Preparation is the key."
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Almost 40 percent of small
businesses never reopen after a disaster, according to the National Flood Insurance Program.
During the expo, there will be exhibits from local disaster recovery businesses and business recovery professionals presenting on preparedness and post storm recovery-related topics. Kay Tracy with Charlotte County Economic Development will present a personal account of her experience, titled "Assisting Businesses in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley."
A number of community organizations are assisting with the event including CareerSource Suncoast, The Florida Small Business Development Center at University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance, Manatee Chamber of Commerce, the Gulf Coast Latin Chamber of Commerce, Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce, Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, Manatee County Black Chamber of Commerce, the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation.
In addition to the expo, Manatee County also has a business recovery director, which was launched in January 2014. The directory, which would help match emergency managers with local business resources in the event of a local emergency, has 780 businesses enrolled to date.
Call Bruno Kapacinskas at 941-749-3029 for more details.
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.