Florida SBDC Network State Office (Pensacola, Fla.) – The Florida SBDC Network encourages small businesses impacted by Hurricane Idalia to seek available disaster assistance.
“Our hearts are with those impacted by Hurricane Idalia,” said Greg Britton, state director of the Florida SBDC Network. “In seeing the impacts firsthand and hearing from business owners from the area, I am in awe of their steadfast determination and spirit. We are committed to working with our partners to help impacted small businesses secure the necessary resources they need to recover and reopen as quickly as possible.”
How the Florida SBDC Network is helping small businesses recover
Just 48 hours after Idalia made landfall, the Florida SBDC deployed its Mobile Assistance Center, an RV equipped as a mobile office to provide on-site support, and disaster recovery specialists to severely impacted areas to provide assistance to small businesses affected by the storm. Disaster recovery specialists from the Florida SBDCs at FAMU and UNF have been available daily 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 works closely with the state and SBA to coordinate recovery efforts and establish Business Recovery Centers (BRCs) and One-Stop Business Resource Centers. Florida SBDC disaster specialists are working alongside the state and SBA to provide information about resources available and assist businesses in completing state and federal disaster loan applications.
At the state level, FloridaCommerce 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 Idalia.
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 100 employees or less may apply for loans of up to $50,000 through the program. Businesses must also be located in Florida, have been established prior to August 29, 2023, be located in an eligible county, must have been economically or physically damaged by Hurricane Idalia, have a credit score of 600 or above (*580 for agriculture and aquaculture businesses), and must have repaid all outstanding EBLs.
Visit www.FloridaJobs.org/EBL to learn more about the program, view the lending guidelines and required documentation, and to complete an application by the October 25, 2023 deadline.
Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are also available to eligible businesses who suffered revenue loss or physical damage from the storm. Through the SBA’s Physical Disaster Loan program, 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 also offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is October 30, 2023. The deadline to return economic injury applications is May 31, 2024.
For more information on available disaster loans, eligibility, BRC locations, and how the Florida SBDC Network can help, please visit https://floridasbdc.org/idalia.