Florida SBDC Network Stands Ready to Assist,
Encourages Businesses to Complete Disaster Assessment
Florida SBDC Network Headquarters (Pensacola, Fla.) - Florida businesses that have been impacted by Hurricane Hermine may now apply for short-term, interest-free loans through the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. Activated on Tuesday by Governor Rick Scott, the bridge loan program helps bridge the gap for small businesses between the time impact occurs until other resources are available, including insurance claims or federal assistance. The deadline to apply is October 31, 2016.
Under the program, eligible small businesses with two to 100 employees can apply for loans for up to $25,000 for 90 or 180 day terms. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to August 31, 2016, be located in the 51 affected counties, and demonstrate economic or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Hermine.
The following Florida counties are currently approved for the emergency bridge loan program: Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Brevard, Calhoun, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Nassau, Okaloosa, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Seminole, St Johns, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Volusia, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) administers the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. Governor Scott has allocated $10 million from the General Revenue Fund for the program.
The State of Florida is assessing the damage caused by the recent storm. Small businesses that have incurred losses due to Hurricane Hermine are asked to complete a Business Damage Assessment Survey. The survey will help the State Emergency Response Team determine the needs and level of assistance for impacted businesses. To take the survey, please visit www.flvbeoc.org.
The Florida SBDC Network, the state's principal provider of business assistance, can provide confidential, no-cost consulting to help affected businesses prepare disaster loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges.
"Our goal is to ensure that small businesses impacted by Hurricane Hermine have access to the resources needed to recover as quickly as possible," said Michael Myhre, CEO and Network State Director for the Florida SBDC Network. "We want businesses to know that we're here to help. Our mission is to help small businesses succeed - especially in times of need."
For more information, and to submit an application, please visit www.floridadisasterloan.org.
For questions about the Emergency Bridge Loan Program and how the Florida SBDC can help, please contact Florida SBDC Network Headquarters Disaster Coordinator Gerry Goldstein at (850) 898-3489.
About the Florida SBDC Network:
The Florida SBDC Network, the state's principal provider of business assistance, is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2016. Since its inception, the Florida SBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for the state. Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 401,475 hours of consulting to 45,502 client businesses, resulting in 217,849 jobs created, retained and saved; $29.3 billion in sales growth; $2.1 billion in government contract awards; $947.4 million in capital investments; and 3,857 new businesses started. A statewide network of over 40 centers, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network's designated lead host institution. The Florida SBDC Network is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.