Emergency Bridge Loan Program Activated to Aid Businesses Impacted by Hurricane Matthew

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 Matthew 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. The deadline to apply is November 11, 2016.

Under the program, eligible small businesses in all 67 Florida counties with two to 100 employees may 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 October 3, 2016 and demonstrate economic or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) administers the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. Governor Scott has allocated $10 million for the program.

DEO Executive Director Cissy Proctor said, "Across the state, our priority is to help every Floridian and community that has been affected by Hurricane Matthew. As the backbone of Florida’s economy, we know that assisting small businesses with their recovery is an important step in restoring our communities. DEO is committed to using all of our available resources to assist small businesses in the wake of this major storm.”

The State of Florida is assessing the damage caused by the storm. Small businesses that have incurred losses due to Hurricane Matthew 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.

As a principal responder in the state’s Emergency Support Function (ESF) 18 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.

“Our goal is to ensure that small business owners impacted by Hurricane Matthew have access to the resources and assistance they need to recover as quickly as possible,” said Michael Myhre, CEO and Network State Director for the Florida SBDC Network. “We want business owners to know that help is available and our consultants stand ready to help guide them through the 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 Disaster Coordinator Gerry Goldstein at (850) 898-3489 or Gerry.Goldstein@FloridaSBDC.org.