"The last storm was pretty devastating to my business."
Biloxi resident James Johnson says his rental complex is no more thanks to Katrina fury, but he's not giving up hope. Johnson wants to start a new business.
"Hopefully I can get a new start under a program that is affordable," Johnson said.
Johnson and other investors packed M&M Bank in Pascagoula Monday hoping to get that financial help from the Go Zone incentives program. Congress passed the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act in 2005 to encourage development in areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
"I look at Go Zone Legislation as incentives on steroids. It provides for low cost money, and low cost financing," Jackson County Economic Director George Freeland said.
Backers say the benefits are widespread, helping big companies as well as small mom and pop shops.
"In the past, only a certain amount of businesses would be eligible for tax exempt, low cost bound financing. That would be the ability to borrow money at less than market rates, which can provide tax relief in the earlier days of a business as it strives to get on its feet, and overcome the initial investment requirements."
Go Zone incentives, Freeland says, will help bring profits to current businesses and give others the push they need to open their doors.
"The end result - new jobs, new investments, new commercial retail, and it will improve the quality of life, and improve the economic vitality," Freeland said.
And give more businesses the Green Light to move South Mississippi's recovery forward.
Click here for more information on the Go Zone Program in Mississippi, or call the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation at (228) 769-6263.