The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program has been activated by the Governor of Florida to provide a source of expedient cash flow to small businesses that have been physically and/or economically impacted by Lake Okeechobee Discharge – Algal Blooms and are located in Lee, Martin, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties.

 

These short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance.
The Emergency Bridge Loan Program is not designed to be the primary source of assistance to affected small businesses, which is why eligibility is linked to pursuit of other sources. Please note: this program provides a short-term loan of State of Florida public funds, not a grant, with the expectation that repayment will be made out of receipts from other sources of longer term disaster recovery assistance.
Loan Details
  • Amount: Between $1,000 and $25,000.
  • Term: 90 or 180 days based on individual business circumstances.
  • Interest: Loans will be interest-free for the loan term.
  • Payments: Payments are not required during the established loan term, but loans must be paid in full by end of the loan term, otherwise penalties apply.
  • Payment Process: Loan payments will be made directly by borrowers to Florida First Capital Finance Corporation, the State of Florida appointed program administrator.
  • Non-Payment Penalties: Penalties for non-payment will begin at the expiration of the established term of each loan, and will be as follows:
    • 12% per annum on the unpaid balance for the first 180 days following expiration of the established term.
    • 18% per annum on the unpaid balance thereafter.
    • Default is subject to normal commercial collection process.
Application Period

Lake Okeechobee Discharge – Algal Blooms: Applications will be accepted under this program through August 31, 2016, contingent on the availability of funds, for small businesses with two (2) -100 employees established prior to June 29, 2016, located in Lee, Martin, Palm Beach and St. Lucie Counties that have been physically and/or economically impacted by the Lake Okeechobee Discharge – Algal Blooms.

Get Started
  1. Review eligibility & loan process.
  2. Gather required documentation.
  3. Download application form.
  4. Complete & submit application form. Contact the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for instructions.
Contact Information

For questions regarding local administration of the Emergency Bridge Loan Program as well as instructions for application submissions, please contact the appropriate Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) representative for your county:

 

Lake Okeechobee Discharge – Algal Blooms

Lee County: Suzanne Specht, Assistant Regional Director, Florida SBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University. Email: sspecht@fgcu.edu. Phone: (239) 745-3704.

Martin and St. Lucie Counties: Dick Cantner, Disaster Assistance Specialist, Florida SBDC at Indian River State College. Email: dcantner@irsc.edu. Phone: (772) 226-2541.

Palm Beach County: Phil Scruton, Consultant, Florida SBDC at Palm Beach State College. Email: scrutonp@palmbeachstate.edu. Phone: (561) 862-4726.

About the Emergency Bridge Loan Program
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program was first activated following Hurricane Andrew. It has been activated 17 additional times following disasters and has helped more than 2,670 small businesses statewide to receive more than $63 million in assistance.