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The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program was activated by Gov. Rick Scott on Sept. 14, 2017, as a result of Hurricane Irma.  On. Oct. 6, the program was expanded to include Florida’s citrus businesses.
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This interest-free loan program is currently available to small business owners and citrus businesses throughout Florida that experienced physical and/or economic damage as a result of the storm.  Small business owners can qualify for up to $50,000 and citrus growers up to $150,000.
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The program provides a source of expedient cash flow to Florida small businesses that have been physically and/or economically impacted by the storm.  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.
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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.  Note: Loans made under this program are short-term debt loans made by the state of Florida using public funds. They are not grants.  Emergency bridge loans require repayment by the approved applicant from business receipts, insurance proceeds received, or longer-term disaster recovery assistance.

Loan Details
  • Designated Disaster Area: All of Florida’s 67 counties.
  • Qualified Applicant: Applications will be accepted by qualified for-profit, privately held small businesses that maintain a place of business in the state of Florida OR citrus businesses who maintain a citrus grove in production in the state.  All qualified applicants must have been established prior to Sept. 4, 2017, and suffered physical damage and/or economic injury as a result of the designated disaster.  Qualified small business applicants must be an employer business with a minimum of two (2) and maximum of one hundred (100) employees.  Note: The employee requirement does not apply to citrus businesses. Citrus Growers: Go Here for details and to apply for an emergency loan.
  • Amount: Between $1,000 and $50,000 for eligible small businesses; and up to $150,000 for eligible citrus businesses.
  • Term: 90 or 180 days based on individual business circumstances for eligible small businesses; and one (1) year for eligible citrus businesses.
  • 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 designated loan term, otherwise the loan will be considered in default and penalties apply.
  • Payment Process: Loan payments will be made directly by borrowers to Florida First Capital Finance Corporation, the state of Florida appointed fiscal administrator of the program.
  • 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

Applications will be accepted by qualified Florida small businesses and citrus businesses under this program through Nov. 30, 2017, contingent on availability of funds.

Get Started
  1. Review eligibility requirements and loan process.
  2. Download, complete and sign the application form – Small Business or Citrus Business.
  3. Gather required support documentation.
  4. Contact and submit completed and signed application and support documentation to your local Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC). You can locate your local SBDC at www.FloridaSBDC.org/locations.
Contact Information

For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, please contact the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network Headquarters. Email: disaster@floridasbdc.org.  Phone: (850) 898-3489.

About the Emergency Bridge Loan Program
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program was first activated following Hurricane Andrew. It has been activated 20 additional times following disasters and has helped more than 2,730 small businesses statewide to receive more than $63 million in assistance.