June 9, 2020

Hannibal, MO. – Corey Mehaffy, Executive Director of the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council (HREDC) announced today that the HREDC Missouri Small Business Development Center assisted over 60 businesses in the region during the pandemic.

Corey Mehaffy became the HREDC Executive Director at the beginning of 2019, and from day one he had plans to add an SBDC Entrepreneurship Specialist to the team. Mehaffy added, “SBDC provides critical resources to our small businesses from concept to start-up, growth to renewal, mature to succession and everything in between. The HREDC Entrepreneurship Specialist is here to help you succeed at every stage in your business’ lifecycle.”

Mehaffy stated that his team had no idea that the addition of the SBDC services in the HREDC Region would be so timely. Mehaffy added, “We were so fortunate to have the assistance of the SBDC network during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The SBDC services were vital to a number of our businesses in the area and we are fortunate to have these resources available to assist.”

HREDC Entrepreneurship Specialist Brittany Weldy indicated that access to the SBDC network has been invaluable. Weldy added, “Other counselors have stepped up to help the Northeast Missouri region with their EIDL and PPP loans. Thus far in 2020, the Missouri SBDC has helped clients access $42 Million approved in COVID funding.” https://sbdc.missouri.edu/sbdc-covid-19-resources

Weldy went on to say, “I couldn’t imagine going through an economic crisis without the help and resources of the SBDC. As an SBDC counselor, I have access to a network of experts in all areas of business to reach out to on behalf of my clients. Our collaboration is very inpiring”

Mehaffy added that the HREDC office had a great deal of help during the early weeks of the pandemic. “Brittany started her maternity leave on March 25th, just prior to the beginning of the pandemic. In fact, just days before the pandemic began, we met with Anastasia Tiedemann of the Kirksville SBDC office to hand off Brittany’s clients. Anastasia’s assistance was vital for our SBDC clients during this trying time.”

Along with the SBDC, other local organizations have assisted small businesses too. Banks have lent a huge hand to the communities small businesses by providing guidance for the SBA Economic Injury loan programs.  According to James Millan of HNB Bank, HNB worked hard to assist 437 Paycheck Protection Loan Program applicants to get approved providing funds to businesses in an aggregate amount of over $27,000,000. Millan Added, “We feel the program has certainly helped numerous individuals and businesses during this challenging time. The PPP parameters have been somewhat of a challenge for banks and applicants to navigate. It is our hope that the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration will work to ensure that the process for applying to the SBA for loan forgiveness is simple and not burdensome.”

Hunter Baggett of HomeBank indicated that HomeBank secured loans for 367 small businesses, to the tune of $25.5 million. Baggett added, “Not only did our team help these businesses throughout the application process, but we took extra steps to make sure the businesses were informed of the SBA’s forgiveness guidelines. Our local businesses do not need additional burdens during this pandemic, and we are working as their partners through this unprecedented time.”

According to Mehaffy, the local banks were vital partners in the PPP process. Mehaffy added, “The PPP Program was rolled out at a federal level in ten days and that didn’t give the banks much time to get up to speed. I hear from other economic developers around the country that many local banks were not even interested in participating in the programs due to the uncertainty.” According to Mehaffy, that was not the case here in the HREDC Region.

“Our banks stepped up to meet the challenge. In fact, after the SBA system crashed on opening day due to overwhelming volume, our local bankers stayed through the evening hours and throughout the weekend to make sure their client’s applications were submitted. I can’t say enough about the support of our local banks in this process.”, added Mehaffy

Weldy indicates that there is still work to do and that the SBDC counselors remain engaged with clients, local banks and businesses to help them navigate the next steps in the process. Weldy added, “The interim final rules continue to be updated every week regarding the PPP loan guidelines. It’s my priority to stay educated and informed about these guidelines to share how they affect our small businesses here in Northeast MO. I consider it part of my job to keep the local businesses informed of funding opportunities they may be eligible for.”

Weldy continues to help businesses that are noticing the effects of the economic downturn. “Just today (Friday June 5th) I helped a local business owner in Canton, MO fill out her PPP loan application”. She encourages businesses and banks to watch the HREDC social media outlets for more information on upcoming webinars. https://www.facebook.com/HannibalRegionalEDC/

About the Missouri SBDC

The Missouri SBDC helps business owners make confident decisions to start, grow, and sell their businesses. Services are provided to all Missouri counties and the city of St. Louis in the form of training events and one-to-one counseling by appointment. The Missouri SBDC is a program funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and is a partner of the University of Missouri Extension Business Development Program.

HREDC works to promote financial investment in Hannibal, and Marion and Ralls Counties.  For more information on the organization, please visit their website at www.hredc.com.

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