After Hurricane Idalia swept through Florida’s Big Bend region, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has announced more than $1.6 million for small businesses in the recovery process.
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program – administered by FloridaCommerce – allows entities affected by the major storm to receive short-term, zero-interest loans if they’ve experienced “economic injury of physical damage.”
Applicants can apply through Oct. 25, 2023, or until all funds have been exhausted.
“I’m proud to announce that one week from Hurricane Idalia’s landfall, 44 small businesses impacted by the storm have been approved for funding to help reopen their doors and get back to business,” said Gov. DeSantis. “We will continue to work quickly to support impacted communities across the state and ensure Floridians are able to earn a living as they recover.”
Moreover, Florida Secretary of Commerce J. Alex Kelly provided a statement as well.
“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, FloridaCommerce was boots on the ground immediately following the storm, offering critical resources like the Small Business Emergency Bridge loan to get people and businesses back on their feet as quickly as possible,” said Secretary Kelly. “We look forward to these 44 businesses reopening and urge others to apply for funding before the October 25th deadline.”
According to the Governor’s Office, “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.”
$20 million is available through the loan program, and $5 million has been set aside for agriculture and aquaculture small businesses. Entities can apply for loans up to $50,000. Agriculture and aquaculture businesses can claim up to $100,000.
Businesses in the following counties can apply for the program: 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 County.