Business Continuity and Disaster Preparedness

Business Continuity and Disaster Preparedness

Ensuring Tampa Bay area businesses stay open

Business Damage Assessment Survey

40% of all businesses that close following a disaster never re-open.When disaster strikes, businesses in the Tampa Bay region can find the education, training and assistance needed to survive through our Business Continuation Services.

Our professionally certified business consultants provide consulting at no cost, and training events to help you minimize losses and increase survivability when affected by natural and man-made disasters.

We can help business owners develop a plan tailored for your business, at no cost.

For questions about the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, the U.S. SBA Physical and Economic Injury Loan Programs, and how the Florida SBDC Network can help, please contact the Florida SBDC Network at (850) 898-3489 or  

Coronavirus (COVID-19) State of Florida Bridge Loan Activated

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is currently available to small business owners located in all Florida counties statewide that experienced economic damage as a result of COVID-19.

Activated: March 16, 2020 at 6 p.m.
Filing Deadline: May 8, 2020 contingent on the availability of funds

Eligible Counties: All Florida counties statewide per Executive Order 20-52.

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. All qualified applicants must have been established prior to March 9, 2020, and suffered economic injury as a result of the designated disaster. Qualified small business applicants must be an employer business with 2 to 100 employees.

Amount: Up to $50,000 per eligible small business.  Loans of up to $100,000 may be made in special cases as warranted by the need of the eligible small business.

Term: 1 year.

Limitation: Only one loan may be made per eligible business. All previous bridge loans received MUST be paid in full.

Interest Rate: Loans will be interest-free for the loan term (1 year). The Interest rate will be 12% per annum on the unpaid balance thereafter, until the loan balance is repaid in full.  Loan default is subject to a normal commercial collection process.

To Get Started:

  1. Review eligibility requirements and loan process.
  2. Download, complete and sign the application form.
  3. Gather required support documentation.
  4. Contact and submit completed and signed application and support documentation to the Florida SBDC at USF or one of its subcenters.

How Do I Submit My Documentation and Completed Application Remotely?

  1. Email completed documents to
  2. Mail hard copies to: Florida SBDC Network Headquarters, C/O Florida Emergency Bridge Loan Process, 220 West Garden Street, Suite 301, Pensacola, FL 32502
  3. Fax 850-696-2693

For additional updates and resources surrounding Coronavirus and the precautions we are taking for Florida SBDC at USF clients, please visit our Coronavirus page.

Active SBA Disaster Loans 

SBA Disaster Assistance for Those Affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that small businesses located in the State of Florida adversely impacted by COVID-19 can now apply for disaster loans.

Designated Disaster Areas: All 67 Florida counties are included in the disaster declaration for Coronavirus.

Qualified Applicant: For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations.

Amount: Up to $2 million in economic assistance. Loan amounts are set by the SBA and based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Term: Up to 30 years.

Interest Rate: Interest rates offered as low as 3.75% for businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for nonprofits is 2.75%.

For Local Assistance: SBA Resource Partners information can be obtained on the SBA website

SBA Disaster Assistance for Those Affected by Tornadoes Resulting from Tropical Storm Nestor

Activated: November 15, 2019
Filing Deadline (Physical Property Damage): January 13, 2020
Filing Deadline (Economic Injury): August 13, 2020

Eligible counties: Polk, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Manatee, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Pasco and Sumter.

SBA’s Customer Service Representatives will be available at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help individuals complete their applications.

The Center is located in the following community and is open as indicated:

Important Information:

  • Loans up to $200,000 available, depending on damages.
  • Interest rates as low as 3.875 percent for businesses. Loan terms are determined by the SBA based on applicant’s financial condition.

How to Apply:
Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing Loan applications can also be downloaded at Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan – Hurricane Dorian

Activated: November 14, 2019
Filing Deadline: August 13, 2020

Eligible primary counties: Brevard, Broward, Clay, Collier, Duval, Flagler, Franklin, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Saint Johns, Saint Lucie, Seminole, Volusia

Eligible contiguous counties: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Citrus, Desoto, Glades, Gulf, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Lee, Levy, Liberty, Okeechobee, Pasco, Putnam, Sarasota, Sumter, Wakulla

Important information:

  • SBA can provide up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met should the disaster not have occurred.
  • The interest rate is determined by formulas set by law and is fixed for the life of the loan. The maximum rate is 4 percent.
  • The SBA customizes loan amounts and terms up to a maximum of 30 years for each applicant.

How to apply:
Businesses may find additional information and submit their application online at However, it is highly recommended that they speak with a Florida SBDC consultant before submitting their application.

Types of Disaster Loans

Florida Small Business Bridge Loan Program

When activated by the Governor, the Florida Small Business Bridge Loan Program, administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity in collaboration with Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (FFCFC) and the Florida SBDC Network, provides short-term, interest-free working capital loans intended to help impacted businesses “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured long-term recovery resources, such as insurance claims or federal assistance. Eligible businesses with two to 100 employees may apply for loans up to $50,000 for 90 or 180-day terms. Visit for full details.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
Business Physical Disaster Loans

Businesses and most private non-profit organizations located in a declared disaster area that incurred damage during a disaster may apply for a low-interest loan to help replace or restore damaged property if federal assistance is activated. SBA makes physical disaster loans of up to $2 million to qualified businesses and most private non-profit organizations. Visit for full details.

Loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, non-profit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

If federal assistance is activated and you are in a declared disaster area, have suffered substantial economic injury regardless of physical damage, and you are a small business, small agricultural cooperative, or private nonprofit organizations, you may qualify for an EIDL. EIDLs provide working capital to help businesses survive until normal operations resume after a disaster. SBA can provide up to a maximum of $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses. A business may qualify for both an EIDL and a physical disaster loan, not to exceed the maximum of $2 million. Visit for full details.

Working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.

Two Mobile Assistance Centers (MACs)

The MACs are 38’ RVs outfitted as mobile Florida SBDC Network centers. As a principal responder in the state’s Emergency Support Function (ESF) 18 for Business & Industry, the MACs are deployed during a disaster to provide an on-the-scene workspace for our consultants to assist impacted businesses. When not in use during a time of emergency, the MACs provide services to businesses in rural areas of Florida.

Disaster Assistance App

As part of its service offering, the Florida SBDC  offers Bizaster, a free mobile disaster assistance app. Bizaster, available in both English and Spanish for Android and iOS,  features risk assessments, customizable checklists, and other resources to help businesses prepare, respond, and recover from natural and man-made disasters. Bizaster can be downloaded from the App Store or via Google Play.

Business Recovery Centers

There are no active recovery centers at this time.

Additional Resources


Do I have to be physically located in a federally declared disaster area to be considered an “affected taxpayer?”
I own an interest in a partnership, or I am a shareholder in an S Corporation that is located in a federally declared disaster area. However, I do not live in the disaster area myself. I rely on information (Schedule K-1) from the partnership or S Corp to file my tax return. Do I qualify as an affected taxpayer for purposes of receiving filing and payment relief?
In the event of a disaster declaration, what FEMA assistance is available?
What is the interest rate on SBA physical and economic injury loans?
Is there SBA help with funding mitigation improvements?
Can I use my SBA loan to relocate my business?
Are there insurance requirements for SBA loans?
How do I contact the SBA if I have additional questions?
Is there help available through the SBA for refinancing?
What restrictions are there on SBA loan eligibility?
Is there a U.S. SBA Business Recovery Center in my area to assist me?
Is Transitional Sheltering Assistance available?
Can I get more time to file returns and pay taxes?
Is the Bridge Loan made payable to the business or the owner?
Do I have to repay the Bridge Loan in one lump sum, or can I make payments?
My business was failing before the hurricane. Can I use a Bridge or SBA loan to get out of the hole?
Can I extend my Bridge Loan beyond 180 days?