Florida SBDC Network State Office (Pensacola, Fla.) – The Florida SBDC Network encourages small businesses impacted by Hurricane Ian to seek available disaster assistance.
“We are saddened to see and hear the stories of damage and loss that individuals and small businesses have suffered due to Hurricane Ian,” said Greg Britton, state director of the Florida SBDC Network. “We want our small business owners to know how important they are to our state and that we stand ready to assist them get back on their feet as quickly as possible.”
At the state level, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan (EBL) Program. The loan program provides short-term, zero-interest loans to small businesses who experienced economic injury or physical damage due to Hurricane Ian.
Loans approved through the Emergency Bridge Loan Program are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a disaster impacts a business and when a business has secured longer term recovery funding, such as federally or commercially available loans, insurance claims, or other resources.
Eligible small businesses with two to 100 employees may apply for loans of up to $50,000 through the program. Businesses must also be located in Florida, have been established prior to September 24, 2022, be located in an eligible county, must have been economically or physically damaged by Hurricane Ian, have a credit score of 600 or above, and must have repaid all outstanding EBLs.
Visit www.FloridaJobs.org/EBL to learn more about the program, as well as to view the lending guidelines and required documentation and to complete an application by the December 2, 2022, deadline.
Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are also available to eligible businesses following the announcement of a Presidential disaster declaration beginning Sept. 23.
Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.
- Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/ and should apply under SBA declaration # 17644.
- To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.
- Disaster loan information and application forms can also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (if you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services) or sending an email to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded from sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
Low-interest disaster loans from the SBA are also available to the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The disaster declaration covers the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which is eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs): Broward, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Hillsborough and Saint Lucie in Florida.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Nov. 28, 2022. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 29, 2023.
How the Florida SBDC Network is helping small businesses recover
Florida SBDC disaster recovery specialists are available to provide confidential, no-cost consulting to help affected businesses prepare disaster loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges.
As a principal responder in the state’s Emergency Support Function (ESF) 18 for Business and Industry, the Florida SBDC Network, in partnership with the SBA, has established Business Recovery Centers (BRCs) in adversely impacted communities. Florida SBDC disaster specialists are working alongside SBA disaster specialists at BRCs and in its mobile assistance centers to provide information about resources available and assist businesses in completing state and federal disaster loan applications. BRC locations are open in Seminole, Hillsborough, Lee and Collier counties.
For more information on available disaster loans, eligibility, BRC locations, and how the Florida SBDC Network can help, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org/disaster.