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Cartoon man using a dollar bill as a bridge loan
Feodora Chiosea, iStock, Getty Images

$6.4M in Bridge Biz Loans for Idalia Victims

161 businesses in 25 Fla. counties hurt by Hurricane Idalia have received Fla. bridge loans as they await insurance or other help. Deadline to apply: Oct. 25.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis says more than $6.4 million has been approved through the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to small businesses impacted by Hurricane Idalia.

Loans are available up to $50,000 per eligible applicant, and are short-term, personal loans using State of Florida funds – they’re not grants and must be repaid, but the short-term, no-interest loans help businesses as they await insurance money, FEMA funds or other help.

DeSantis says 161 businesses have been approved to receive Florida bridge funds so far, with more applications being approved every day. The program, administered by FloridaCommerce, helps businesses that experienced economic injury or physical damage due to Hurricane Idalia.

The program remains open but the window closes soon. Businesses interested in the bridge loans must apply by Oct. 25, 2023, though the program could end earlier if all funds have been allocated.

“Getting small businesses open and operating following a disaster spurs economic activity that helps the entire community recover,” said DeSantis in a media release.

“FloridaCommerce has been actively deployed to the Big Bend region to ensure that business owners have the help they need to access resources like the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program,” adds Florida Secretary of Commerce J. Alex Kelly. “We will continue to be proactive in ensuring that businesses in need are able to take advantage of this program and keep their doors open as they recover.”

Businesses in the following counties, including sole proprietors, are eligible to apply:

Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Franklin, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union and Wakulla counties.

Twenty million dollars is available through the program and $5 million has been set aside for agriculture and aquaculture small businesses. Eligible small businesses may apply for loans up to $50,000; $100,000 are available for agriculture and aquaculture small businesses.

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