Feb. 21, 2007 -- A new grassroots initiative is offering up to $5 million in capital to small-business owners in New Orleans still struggling to rebuild more than a year after Hurricane Katrina.

The Collaborative for Enterprise Development hopes to assist as many as 250 small businesses with loans, along with technical assistance in business planning, marketing, and accounting, organizers said Wednesday.

The effort, which is being overseen by a group of local business and financial organizations, is being funded by Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation through private donations from the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund.

It is open to small businesses that were in operation before the storm slammed into the city on Aug. 29, 2005.

"We formed the collaborative to assist now and to affect the long-term impact," Landon Williams, the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation's director of housing and small business development, said in a statement. "It is important that the resources get into this sector effectively."

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Published on: Feb 20, 2007