TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program on Tuesday. This makes $50 million available. At least $10 million must go to small businesses that are agricultural producers impacted by Hurricane Ian in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, and Volusia counties. Small businesses in the most impacted counties — Charlotte, Collier, Lee, and Sarasota — will be escalated and prioritized as they are received.
The program, administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), provides short-term, zero-interest loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury or physical damage due to Hurricane Ian. Interested applicants can apply now through Dec. 2, 2022, or until all available funds are expended.
“Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ strong, decisive leadership, we will ensure that communities across the state are able to recover quickly from Hurricane Ian’s devastation,” said DEO Secretary Dane Eagle. “Florida’s small business owners in need of assistance can now apply for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program at www.FloridaJobs.org/EBL.”
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 may apply for loans of up to $50,000 through the program.
Loans made under this program are short-term, zero-interest, personal loans using State of Florida funds. They are not grants and loans must be repaid by the approved applicant.
DEO administers the Emergency Bridge Loan Program alongside its fiscal administrator, Florida First Capital Finance Corporation.
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 Dec. 2, 2022, deadline. Business owners who need further program information may call 833-832-4494 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.