Bridge Loan Helps Apopka-based General Contractor Bridge the Gap Following Irma

Barracuda Building - Florida SBDC at UCF client

L-R: Kathleen Thompson, Barracuda Building, and Jill McLaughlin, Florida SBDC at UCF

Disaster is a team effort. Read this story about partners working together to help Florida’s small businesses recover from Hurricane Irma.

Located in Apopka, Barracuda Building Corp. is a certified general contractor operating across Central Florida. The business specializes in underground utility pipe and site construction projects with some vertical construction.

In September 2017, the company sustained economic injury from Hurricane Irma. Seeking assistance,  Kathleen Thompson, vice president of the company, turned to the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (UCF) for help securing a Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan. When asked about her experience with the storm and the assistance received, she recalled:

What type of damage occurred?

Prior to the storm hitting, we had three contracts that were about to start. All of them were delayed by the hurricane and we had no revenue coming in as a result. We had no internet for two weeks; and you know it’s really hard doing business without the internet..We were closed down for the first time in 15 years. And we still had all the expenses of running the business. You’re still paying the bills, but when money is not coming in, that’s difficult.  And when you’re shut down, you can’t pay anyone. And that’s the hardest part

How will the Emergency Bridge Loan help?

This is really going to help a lot. We are only just starting two of those delayed projects, and the third is still on hold and backlogged. This will help our cash flow very much. Once we knew we had the loan, we knew we’d be all right.

How helpful was the Florida SBDC at UCF?

It was really easy working with the Florida SBDC. Very smooth and fast; it felt like it all happened over the weekend. We called Thursday-Friday, and here we are on Thursday getting the check.

About the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

Administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, in collaboration with the Florida SBDC Network, and supported by Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (FFCFC), the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan is a short-term, interest-free working capital loan intended to help small businesses “bridge the gap” between the time of a declared disaster and when the business has secured long-term recovery resources, such as insurance proceeds or federal disaster assistance. Governor Rick Scott activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program on Thursday, September 14 and the first loan was distributed the following Monday. Eligible businesses with two to 100 employees may apply for loans up to $50,000 for 90 or 180-day terms.

As a principal responder in the state’s Emergency Support Function for Business, Industry, and Economic Stabilization, the Florida SBDC Network supports disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation through its Business Continuation Services. As part of its service offering, Florida SBDC professionally certified consultants and disaster specialists are available to provide confidential, no-cost consulting to help affected businesses prepare disaster loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges.

Barracuda Building - Florida SBDC at UCF client

"It was really easy working with the Florida SBDC [through the bridge loan process]. Very smooth and fast; it felt like it all happened over the weekend. We called Thursday-Friday, and here we are on Thursday getting the check. "

- Kathleen Thompson, Vice President - Barracuda Building Corp.

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