Brooks Nelson


October 13, 2020


Today marks the 21st International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction established by the United Nations in 1989. This year we are living through a global pandemic, another chapter of historic wildfires in California, and one of the most active Atlantic hurricane seasons on record. With natural hazards continuing to increase in volume and intensity, it is in everyone’s best interest to not only prepare, but take the lessons learned from previous disasters to build resilience and reduce risk – nationally and globally.

Unfortunately for many small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), preparedness is not top of mind due to significant time and resource constraints. The coronavirus pandemic brought increased financial pressure, not only making it harder for these businesses to invest in resilience planning and disaster management, but also exposing them to future risk for many years to come.

And that risk can be even more pronounced for small businesses in emerging economies. Since 2013, the U.S. Chamber Foundation, in partnership with The UPS Foundation and other global partners, have been supporting the Saglam KOBI project in Turkey, to reinforce disaster awareness, preparedness and resilience among Turkish SMEs. Research we have done in Turkey has shown that 69% of SME’s do not have a plan in place if their business is impacted by a disaster. That is why we have been investing in resiliency for small businesses globally with specific investments in Turkey, as well as Mexico, having reached over 100,000 SME’s through tools and trainings like the ones listed below.

We have also been working hand in hand with corporate partners, such as The UPS Foundation, PwC Charitable Foundation, and Shell Oil Company, to make these tools and resources available to SMEs no matter where they operate. We encourage businesses of all sizes and industries to leverage these resources now to reduce their risk and ensure they are stronger than the next disaster.

  • Resilience in a Box - Resilience in a Box is designed to help any business owner regardless of their experience with disasters to build a preparedness plan. These resources will guide your company toward addressing preparedness issues while building in the flexibility to handle potential business interruptions. This tool is available in Arabic, English, French, Spanish, and Turkish.
  • Disaster Help Desk for Business – Whether a disaster has already impacted your business or you are looking for help in creating your business continuity plan, the Disaster Help Desk for Business is a resource for business owners to speak with experienced disaster management experts. The Disaster Help Desk team has advised thousands of small businesses nationwide since 2007.
  • Small Business Preparedness Quick Guides– There are a number of resources for businesses who are looking to be better prepared. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has compiled some of the most trusted resources and catalogued them for easy use for business owners.

Every aspect of a disaster is stressful. Planning in advance can go a long way. If you have questions or need help in preparing your business for disaster, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact the Disaster Help Desk at

About the authors

Brooks Nelson