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 Hermine may now apply for short-term, interest-free loans through the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. Activated Tuesday 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. The deadline to apply is October 31, 2016.
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, 2016, be located in the 51 affected counties, and demonstrate economic or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Hermine.
The following Florida counties are currently approved for the emergency bridge loan program: Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Brevard, Calhoun, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Nassau, Okaloosa, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Seminole, St Johns, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Volusia, 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.
DEO Executive Director Cissy Proctor said:
“Small businesses across the state have been impacted by Hurricane Hermine. We know that small businesses are the backbone of Florida’s economy, and DEO is working to ensure they have the tools they need to get up and running as quickly as possible.”
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 Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance, can provide confidential, no-cost consulting to help affected businesses prepare disaster loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges.
“Our goal is to ensure that small businesses impacted by Hurricane Hermine have access to the resources needed to recover as quickly as possible,” said Michael Myhre, CEO and Network State Director for the Florida SBDC Network. “We want businesses to know that we’re here to help. Our mission is to help small businesses succeed – especially in times of need.”
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.