Posted by: Dan Stoneking, Director, Private Sector Division
On March 30, 2012, I challenged the 800+ private sector members subscribed to my email distribution and 30,000+ more subscribers to FEMA Private Sector Email Updates to develop a Big Business – Small Business Mentorship Program. I spoke about the need to connect the dots, especially in a disaster, and how an existing framework could make the difference for small businesses struggling to survive.
It did not take long for me to hear back. I am extremely pleased to recognize that the National Incident Management Systems and Advanced Technologies Institute at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette has partnered with the International Association of Emergency Managers to launch the Big Business – Small Business Emergency Management Mentorship Program this week to strengthen small business disaster preparedness by engaging willing and able big businesses as mentors.
I am equally pleased to recognize that the Walt Disney Company, Verizon, Lowe’s Companies Inc., LEAM Drilling Systems Inc., Walmart Stores Inc., and Sam’s Club, among others, have signed on as potential mentors, protégés or sponsors.
They are leading the way and ensuring a better path forward. NIMSAT and IAEM established the foundation for success. These businesses are the pillars of progress. The mentorship relationships that build from this structure will ensure more resilient communities in the face of the next disaster.
Today, I would like to extend and further the challenge for the rest of you to participate. Become a mentor or protégé. Read the Mentorship Guide and Register at www.DisasterB2bMentor.org. The process takes only a few minutes. The difference you make could last a lifetime.
At FEMA, we have also launched a campaign called Small Business is Big. We recognize the value of small businesses. On this page we have gathered tools, links and resources to make preparedness easier and more effective for small businesses. And we welcome your input to make it better.
Finally, Ready Business asks companies to take three simple steps: plan to stay in business; encourage your people to become Ready and protect your investment. Ready Business, an extension of the Ready Campaign, helps business owners and managers of small and medium-sized businesses prepare their employees, operations and assets in the event of an emergency. The Business section of Ready.gov contains vital information for businesses on how to get started preparing their business and their unique needs during an emergency.
Join the mentorship program. Use the tools. Be Ready. Make a difference.