On March 20, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis informed the public that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is moving forward with a loan program designed to help small businesses affected by the COVID-19 closures and states of emergency.
“The bridge loan program provides short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from COVID-19,” said Desantis’ staff in a press release on March 20.
Working in partnership with Florida SBDC Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation, the DEO has allocated a budget of $50 million to fund these loans. Anyone who owns a small business established in Florida prior to March 9 that employs between two and 100 people is eligible to apply for a short-term, interest-free loan not to exceed $50,000. Loans will only be granted to those small businesses that can demonstrate economic impacts from COVID-19.
“We appreciate Governor DeSantis keeping small businesses as a priority during this difficult time,” said Florida DEO Executive Director Ken Lawson in the March 20 press release. “Providing support to small businesses throughout our state will help to expedite our recovery. We appreciate our partners at the Florida SBDC Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation who helped us review, approve and provide these loans in a record amount of time.”
The first Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans were granted to two small businesses in Tallahassee. Full Press Apparel owners Daniel and Tracey Shrine and Jersey Mike’s Subs location owners Angelo and Kimberly Crowell received the first two Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans following the loan program’s activation on March 19.
“The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan is designed to get cash into the hands of small businesses so they can keep their doors open during a crisis,” said DeSantis in the March 20 press release. “I am pleased to be able to provide our first loans to the small business owners who are in a tough time through no fault of their own. I look forward to other businesses following suit.”
Businesses interested in the loan program must fill out a bridge loan application by May 8. To apply, visit FloridaDisaster.BIZ.