Florida SBDC Network Stands Ready to Assist, Encourages Businesses to Complete Disaster Assessment
Florida SBDC Network Headquarters (Pensacola, Fla.) – Florida businesses that have been impacted by Hurricane Michael may now apply for short-term, interest-free loans through the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. Activated today by Governor Rick Scott, the bridge loan program helps bridge the gap for small businesses between the time impact occurs until other resources are available, including insurance claims or federal assistance.
Under the program, eligible small businesses with two to 100 employees can apply for loans for up to $25,000 for 90 or 180-day terms. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to August 31, 2018, be located in the affected counties, and demonstrate economic or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Michael.
The following Florida counties are currently approved for the emergency bridge loan program: Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Calhoun, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Okaloosa, Pasco, Pinellas, Santa Rosa, Suwanee, Taylor, Union, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) administers the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. Governor Scott has allocated $10 million from the General Revenue Fund for the program.
The State of Florida is assessing the damage caused by the recent storm. Small businesses that have incurred losses due to Hurricane Hermine are asked to complete a Business Damage Assessment Survey. The survey will help the State Emergency Response Team determine the needs and level of assistance for impacted businesses. To take the survey, please visit www.flvbeoc.org.
The Florida SBDC at Florida A&M University will provide confidential, no-cost consulting to help affected businesses prepare disaster loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges. The Florida SBDC at Florida A&M University has established a loan committee made up of representatives from local lenders and economic development agencies to ensure timely processing of all loan applications.
“Our goal is to ensure that small businesses impacted by Hurricane Michael to receive the necessary resources needed to recover as quickly as possible,” said Keith Bowers, Regional Director for the Florida SBDC at Florida A&M University. “We understand the impact that the interruption of operations has on small businesses. The Emergency Bridge Loan Program is a vital resource to help businesses get through the initial phase of the recovery process.”
For more information, and to submit an application, please visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. For questions about the Emergency Bridge Loan Program and how the Florida SBDC can help, please contact Florida SBDC Network Headquarters Disaster Coordinator Gerry Goldstein at (850) 898-3489.