Regions that plan ahead for catastrophe are more prepared and better able to recover after a disaster strikes. Such disasters can be natural or manmade, but the Sacramento region cannot ignore that it is prone to varying types of weather-related threats that – if severe enough – could collapse the regional economy.
Resiliency planning can be a major economic benefit to help the business community prepare for potential disasters and help preserve the economy after a disaster strikes. Increasing incidents of weather-related disasters – including severe storms, flooding, wildfire, extreme heat and drought – present an economic risk to businesses in the Capital Region and have already cost local economies billions of dollars.
What is the goal?
The goal is to increase awareness of and preparedness for business continuity risks faced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in California’s Capital Region so that our business community is prepared to withstand the economic consequences that could result from an unexpected disruption in operations.
Why is this important?
This work is important because small and medium enterprises are critical to the economic vitality of the Capital Region. There are approximately 60,000 businesses operating in the four-county Sacramento Metropolitan Statistical Area (includes El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, and Yolo counties). Roughly 96 percent of these businesses have fewer than 50 employees, and they account for nearly 50 percent of the private sector jobs within the metro area.
Small businesses are especially vulnerable to disruptions for a number of reasons: they lack the capital and resources of larger organizations to quickly recover economically; the majority operate from a single physical location; and the majority have done little or no advance preparedness work. This makes small business more vulnerable to loss compared to larger companies that have backup resources at alternate facilities or branch locations. The median cost of downtime from a small business affected by an extreme weather event is $3,000 per day. Becoming fully operational can take up to 11.5 days on average.
According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, an estimated 25 percent of small to mid-sized businesses do not reopen following a major disaster. The majority of small businesses have not closely analyzed the potential economic losses from extreme weather events or other climate-related risks, according to a report by the American Sustainable Business Council. Moreover, 57 percent of small businesses have no disaster recovery plan.
Helping these businesses be better prepare to manage potential business threats will help preserve significant jobs at stake and protect the health and strength of the region’s economy. In addition, increasing capacity for business continuity planning will aid the small business sector in recovering from disruption in the aftermath, whether it’s a major or minor event.
What is Valley Vision doing about it?
Valley Vision launched the Business Resiliency Initiative (BRI), a bold and innovative regional collaborative, to help reduce risks and economic impacts of potential disasters. Through the BRI, Valley Vision and its partners are galvanizing wide-ranging leadership support from cross-sector stakeholders, to help build small business capacity before a time of crisis and create a community that’s prepared to weather any storm.
The initiative provides a toolkit of interventions – available at resilientbusiness.org – to help SMEs manage risks and enhance business resiliency. A strategic outreach campaign has engaged leaders from the business, government and community sectors to enhance preparedness for economic resilience in light of weather-related disaster threats.
What is our desired impact?
To minimize the impacts of an economic crisis potentially caused by unforeseen disaster, and to put California’s Capital Region at the forefront of other regions across the country looking to learn from and replicate an effective regional BRI framework.
How does this effort affect triple-bottom-line objectives?
Economy: Small business resiliency is fundamentally about economic resiliency, strength, and diversity. In the aggregate, small businesses contribute significant strength and vitality to our region’s economy, employ tens of thousands, and deliver important services to residents and other businesses. Improving the ability of small businesses to withstand and respond quickly to disasters will improve our economy’s stability and strength.
Environment: The natural disasters to which our region is vulnerable are likely to become more extreme and unpredictable as climate change advances. Connecting economic resiliency to climate change impacts is fundamentally about adaptation, an emerging area of focus within the fields of climate science. Through the BRI, Valley Vision is a member of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative, and in addition the BRI complements other Valley Vision environmental initiatives including its ongoing work with the Cleaner Air Partnership (CAP).
Equity: Small businesses across our region are under-prepared for disaster, and those in disadvantaged parts of the region are just as much a focus of BRI as those that are not. Valley Vision is working with business membership organizations across the region, including PBIDs and Chambers of Commerce, to reach out to, educate, and motivate their small business members to take action on their own behalf.
This project launched in October 2014. Following the creation and launch of the resiliency toolkit at resilientbusiness.org, the project conducted outreach and education directed to small businesses, in partnership with many business membership associations across the region.
- Established project team and Valley Vision Board Champion
- Secured seed-funding to advance project plan
- Conducted outreach to regional stakeholders
- Published King Fire Learning Paper
- Produced webinars for channel partners and business audience
- Established Technical Advisory Team
- Developed toolkit of information and resources
- Designed robust outreach and education program for small business community