Disaster is a team effort. Read this story about partners working together to help Florida’s small businesses recover from Hurricane Irma.
Ketan Desai is the owner of a counter-serve Marco's Pizza franchise in Ocoee specializing in custom pizzas, submarine sandwiches, and salads for takeout or delivery. In September 2017, the business was impacted by Hurricane Irma, causing a loss of power for five days.
Seeking assistance, Desai 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 his experience with the storm and the assistance received, he recalled:
What type of damage occurred?
Everything at Marco's Pizza is sold fresh. Loss of power meant complete spoilage of all of our refrigerated food inventory. Five days without power meant we were closed and lost revenue for all that time.
How will the Emergency Bridge Loan help?
With the loss of all of our food inventory and all of our revenues, we were in crisis. The bridge loan means we can order food, get going. It puts us back on track and gets the revenues flowing.
How helpful was the Florida SBDC at UCF?
The Florida SBDC was very helpful. I have worked with them before. I reached out to my consultant Pauline Davis and it was just doing the paperwork. They put me fast track for approval and I had my loan. No stress and it was done.
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.