TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –The deadline to apply for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program and the Citrus Emergency Loan Program for businesses and citrus growers impacted by Hurricane Irma is Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. These programs, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses and citrus growers that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm.
DEO administers the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan and Citrus Emergency Loan Programs to provide cash flow to businesses and citrus growers damaged by a disaster. The short-term, interest-free loans help bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a business or citrus grower secures other financial resources, including payment of insurance claims or federal disaster assistance. Up to $20 million has been allocated for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program and up to $25 million for the Citrus Emergency Loan Program.
DEO Executive Director Cissy Proctor said, “A top priority for DEO is helping Floridians impacted by the storm. Many small business owners throughout the state have benefitted from the bridge loan and citrus loan programs already. After a major natural disaster like Hurricane Irma, we want to make sure every Floridian is aware of the numerous resources available to them. I strongly encourage all Florida business owners and citrus growers affected by the storm to apply for these great programs so we can ensure our state’s residents and companies recover.”
Small business owners with two to 100 employees located in any of Florida’s 67 counties affected by Hurricane Irma can apply for short-term loans up to $50,000. These interest-free loans are granted in terms of 90 or 180 days. Citrus growers who maintain a citrus grove in Florida can apply for an interest-free, one-year loan up to $150,000. To be eligible for either program, a business or citrus grower must have been established or in production prior to Sept. 4, 2017, and demonstrate economic or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Irma.
To complete an application by the Nov. 30, 2017, deadline or for more information on the programs, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. For questions regarding the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan and the Citrus Emergency Loan Programs, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) nearest to you. The SBDC Network’s business disaster hotline is available at 850-898-3489 or Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org to answer any additional questions.