Florida SBDC Network Stands Ready to Help Businesses Apply, Navigate Recovery Challenges
Florida SBDC Network Headquarters (Pensacola, Fla.) – Small businesses impacted by naturally-occurring red tide now have until December 16, 2018 to apply for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan.
Activated by the Governor and administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) in partnership with the Florida SBDC Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation, the bridge loan program is a short-term, interest-free loan program designed to help small businesses bridge the gap until long-term recovery resources, such as insurance claims or federal assistance, are available.
Small businesses with two to 100 employees may apply for loans up to $50,000 for 180-day terms. While the bridge loan is a source of expedient funds, it is not designed to be the primary source of assistance for affected small businesses. As part of the eligibility, businesses must indicate pursuit of other sources, including insurance claims and federal disaster assistance.
To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to August 13, 2018, be located in one of the 14 designated disaster counties, and demonstrate economic injury or physical damage as a result of red tide. The deadline for the program has been extended until December 16, 2018.
The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, the state’s principal provider of small business assistance, stands ready to help small businesses impacted by red tide apply for the bridge loan and for Economic Injury Disaster Loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) at no cost.
Statewide with more than 40 locations from Pensacola to Key West, the Florida SBDC Network is a public-private partnership that leverages the resources of higher education and economic development to serve the needs of aspiring and existing small businesses. The mission of the Florida SBDC Network and SBDCs nationally is to provide the strategies, resources, and expertise to help small businesses grow and succeed.
As part of its service offering, Florida SBDC business consultants, many of whom are Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI) Certified Business Continuity Professionals, are available to assist small businesses prepare disaster loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges.
Businesses in affected counties are encouraged to complete a Business Damage Assessment Survey online at FloridaDisaster.biz. 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.
For more information on state and federal disaster loans available to small businesses impacted by red tide, Lake Okeechobee algal blooms, and Hurricane Michael, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org/disaster.
For questions about the loan programs and how the Florida SBDC can help, please contact the Florida SBDC Network at (850) 898-3479, toll-free at (866) 737-7232, or by email at Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org.