Governor Ron DeSantis announced that he has activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide support during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from COVID-19. The application period opened March 17, 2020 and runs through May 8, 2020.
“As we mitigate against the spread of COVID-19, the health, safety and well-being of Floridians comes first,” said Governor DeSantis, in a press release published by his office. “I understand the harm mitigation strategies will have on small businesses throughout our state. By activating the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan, we are providing the opportunity for Florida’s small businesses to receive cash immediately to ensure they can lessen the impacts felt as a result of COVID-19.”
DEO will administer the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program in partnership with the Florida SBDC Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation to provide cash flow to businesses economically impacted by COVID-19. The short-term, interest-free loans help bridge the gap between the time the economic impact occurred and when a business secures other financial resources, including payment of insurance claims or longer-term Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. Up to $50 million has been allocated for the program.
DEO will work with every borrower to ensure that repayment of the loan isn’t an overwhelming burden.
Small business owners with two to 100 employees located in Florida affected by COVID-19 can apply for short-term loans up to $50,000, the governor’s office said. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to March 9, 2020 and see economic impacts as a result of COVID-19.
DEO is currently surveying businesses throughout the state of Florida who have been impacted by COVID-19. The governor’s office said businesses and non-profits can access the Business Damage Assessment survey at FloridaDisaster.BIZ and select “COVID-19” from the drop-down menu on the survey page.