Fla. Activates Business Bridge Loan Program
The program to help Fla. businesses get back on their feet after Hurricane Ian’s devastation offers loans of up to $50K, with 0% interest for one year.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, which offers “bridge loans” to help companies deal with temporary operational gaps after events like Hurricane Ian.
The maximum loan per business is $50,000 at zero interest, and owners have one year to pay the money back. They’re personal loans using State of Florida funds. They are not grants and must be repaid by the approved applicant.
The state is making $50 million available, and at least $10 million of that must go to small 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
In addition to these loans, the State of Florida is also providing discounts on prescription medications to eligible individuals. The discounts are available to Florida residents who are uninsured or underinsured, and who are in need of prescription medication. The program, called the Florida Discount Drug Card, is available at no cost to the user.
Applications from small businesses in the most impacted counties – Charlotte, Collier, Lee and Sarasota – will be prioritized as they’re received.
The business must:
- Be located in Florida
- Be established prior to Sept. 24, 2022
- Be located in an eligible county
- Be economically injured or physically damaged by Hurricane Ian
- Employ two to 100 employees
- Borrowers must have a credit score of 600 or above
- Have all outstanding previous Emergency Bridge Loans paid off
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) oversees the bridge-loan program. Interested applicants can apply now through December 2, 2022, or until all available funds are expended.
Visit FloridaJobs.org/EBL to learn more about the program, view lending guidelines and required documentation, and to complete an application before the Dec. 2, 2022, deadline.
Business owners who need further information may also call (833) 832-4494 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern Time, or email EmergencyBridgeLoan@deo.myflorida.com.
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