Attention Small Business Owners: The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program has been activated by the Governor of Florida as a result of Hurricane Irma
Governor Rick Scott activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by Hurricane Irma. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm. The application period is from today through Oct. 31, 2017.
Governor Scott said, “Hurricane Irma was a massive storm affecting our entire state, including many of our small businesses. Small businesses are the backbone of Florida’s economy, and families are depending on these businesses recovering as quickly as possible. The small business bridge loan program will help small business owners and communities get back up and running and I encourage all affected business owners to apply today.”
DEO administers the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program in partnership with the Florida SBDC Network to provide cash flow to businesses damaged by a disaster. The short-term, interest-free loans help bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a business secures other financial resources, including payment of insurance claims or longer-term Small Business Administration loans. Up to $10 million has been allocated for the program. DEO Executive Director Cissy Proctor said, “So many communities across Florida have been affected by this storm. Businesses from the Panhandle to the Keys need assistance, and DEO is working with these businesses to make sure they can recover and be successful. The first step to getting our communities back on their feet, is getting our businesses back on their feet.” DEO is currently surveying businesses in the affected counties. To access the business survey, please click HERE and select “Hurricane Irma” from the drop-down menu.
Response to the damage assessment is not an application for assistance, so businesses that fill out the survey and are interested in the bridge loan program must fill out a bridge loan application as well. Small business owners with two to 100 employees located in any of Florida’s 67 counties affected by Hurricane Irma can apply for short-term loans up to $25,000. These interest-free loans are granted in terms of 90 or 180 days. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to Sept. 4, 2017, and demonstrate economic injury or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Irma. Michael Myhre, CEO and State Director for the Florida SBDC Network, said, “We are saddened to see and hear the stories of damage and loss that individuals and small businesses have suffered due to Hurricane Irma.
We want our small business owners to know how important they are to our state and we are here to help walk them through the recovery process to get their employees back to work and growing their business.” To complete an application by the Oct. 31, 2017, deadline, or for more information on the program, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 850-898-3489 or email Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org. The phone line will be answered during regular business hours; all voice mails and emails will be responded to within 24 hours.
This program provides a source of expedient cash flow to Florida small businesses that have been physically and/or economically impacted by this storm.
Eligible Counties: All 67 counties in Florida.
These short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance.
The Emergency Bridge Loan Program is not designed to be the primary source of assistance to affected small businesses, which is why eligibility is linked to pursuit of other sources. Please note: this program provides a short-term loan of State of Florida public funds, not a grant, with the expectation that repayment will be made out of receipts from other sources of longer term disaster recovery assistance.
Amount: Between $1,000 and $25,000.
Term: 90 or 180 days based on individual business circumstances.
Interest: Loans will be interest-free for the loan term.
Payments: Payments are not required during the established loan term, but loans must be paid in full by end of the loan term, otherwise penalties apply.
Payment Process: Loan payments will be made directly by borrowers to Florida First Capital Finance Corporation, the State of Florida appointed program administrator.
Non-Payment Penalties: Penalties for non-payment will begin at the expiration of the established term of each loan, and will be as follows:
12% per annum on the unpaid balance for the first 180 days following expiration of the established term.
18% per annum on the unpaid balance thereafter.
Default is subject to normal commercial collection process.
Applications will be accepted under this program through Oct. 31, 2017, contingent on the availability of funds, for small businesses with two (2) -100 employees established prior to Sept. 4, 2017, located in any of Florida’s 67 counties that have been physically and/or economically impacted by Hurricane Irma.
For questions regarding local administration of the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, please contact the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network State Office. Phone: (850) 898-3489. Email: email@example.com.