Florida businesses impacted by Hurricane Irma may now apply for various state and federal disaster loan programs. As a principal responder in the state's Emergency Support Function for Business and Industry, the Florida SBDC Network stands ready to assist businesses with disaster loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges.
Today, Governor Scott activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide short-term, interest-free loans to businesses damaged by the storm.
Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program
Administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) in partnership with the Florida SBDC Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (FFCFC), the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan helps businesses bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a business secures other financial resources, including payment of insurance claims or longer-term Small Business Administration loans. Up to $10 million has been allocated for the program.
Under the program, eligible small businesses in all 67 Florida counties with two to 100 employees may apply for short-term, interest-free loans for $1,000 to $25,000 for 90 or 180-day terms. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to September 4, 2017, and demonstrate economic injury or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Irma.
To Apply for a Bridge Loan
Visit www.floridadisasterloan.org for more information and to apply for the Florida Emergency Bridge Loan program. The deadline to apply is October 31, 2017.
Business Damage Assessment Survey
DEO is assessing the damage caused by the storm. Small businesses that have incurred losses due to Hurricane Irma 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.
Following President Trump's major disaster declaration, impacted businesses may now apply for low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Through the declaration, businesses and nonprofits in Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Collier, Duval, Flagler, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Putnam, Sarasota and Saint Johns counties in Florida are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private non-profit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Desoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Marion, Martin, Nassau, Okeechobee, Pasco, Polk, and Volusia in Florida.
Business Physical Disaster Loan Program
Business Physical Disaster Loans are intended to help repair or replace disaster-damaged property. Businesses and nonprofit organizations may apply for up to $2 million to repair or replace property, including real estate, equipment, inventory, machinery, and other business assets.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
Businesses in qualifying adjacent counties may apply for up to $2 million for working capital through the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, nonprofit organizations meet financial obligations and operating expenses through the disaster recovery period.
Interest rates are as low as 3.305 percent for businesses and 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations. The SBA customizes loan amounts and terms up to a maximum of 30 years for each applicant.
Applicants may also be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages to protect property from future damage, including adding a safe room or storm shelter.
To Apply for Physical and Economic Injury Loans
Businesses must first register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at www.disasterassistance.gov, or by mobile device at m.fema.gov or call the toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY). Upon registration with FEMA, businesses may apply for a disaster loan a number of ways:
• Submit an online application at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela;
• Download an application from www.sba.gov/disaster and submit to a SBA disaster recovery center or mail to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155;
• Visit a SBA recovery center for one-on-one assistance; or
• Visit their local Florida SBDC for assistance.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is November 9, 2017. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 11, 2018.
Florida SBDC Network Stands Ready to Assist
The Florida SBDC Network supports disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation through its Business Continuation Services. As part of the network's service offering, the Florida SBDC will also be deploying its Mobile Assistance Centers (MACs) into affected communities to deliver small business owners on-site assistance with loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges. The Florida SBDC is working with state and federal officials to determine the MACs' locations and will release that information soon.
"We are saddened to see and hear the stories of damage and loss that individuals and small businesses have suffered due to Hurricane Irma," said Michael Myhre, CEO and Network State Director. "We want our small business owners to know how important they are to our state and that we stand ready to assist them get back on their feet to continue creating jobs and generating wealth for Florida's economy."
For questions about the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, the U.S. SBA Physical and Economic Injury Loan Programs, and how the Florida SBDC can help, please contact the Florida SBDC Network at (850) 898-3489 or Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org. The phone line will be answered during regular business hours; all voice mails and emails will be responded to within 24 hours.