The University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of New Orleans (UNO) have teamed up to assist institutions affected by the Gulf oil spill. The Gulf Oil Spill Disaster Adjustment Assistance Center (GOSDAA) is a program established by UTSA in March 2011 to administer support to businesses within 60 geographical miles from the Louisiana and Texas coast and marches impacted by the British Petroleum oil spill in 2010.            

GOSDAA is a federally funded assistance program with a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the Economic Development Administration. With this funding, the program will directly provide specific consultations focused on expanding each business’s capital.

“I’ve seen everything from cash grants to adjusted loans, to tax credits for labor, and training programs for the workforce,” Robert Velasquez, director of GOSDAA said. “There is no other program like ours, offering this level of direct assistance, not just a loan or a grant.”

UTSA’s Institute for Economic Development maintains twelve centers that are committed to growing businesses, alleviating unemployment and expanding the economic market for coastal industries such as service companies and seafood distributers.

The institute raises community awareness in order to develop greater economic involvement, as well as engage multiple levels of federal, state and local participation.

To achieve eligibility for assistance, clients must have experienced a five percent loss in profits or employment since the oil spill. Analysts determine this percentage by examining a business’s sales for the 2010 year and comparing the numbers to a six month period of 2009. If eligible, the business is funded and periodically reviewed to monitor progress.

GOSDAA clients can access a number of resources within a network of consultants to address topics such as specialized training, developing profit margins, improving market positions and reducing daily costs in order to improve their businesses.

“The majority of small businesses have limited funds or capacity to accomplish these strategies, and the GOSDAA program can give them access to these services,” said Velasquez.

John Williams, Dean of the college of business, believes it is a “wonderful opportunity for our institutions to work together.” He continued, “The University of New Orleans has been at the forefront of the recovery outreach in our regional business community, and we recognize and appreciate the vitally important work of GOSDAA.”

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