TAMPA (March 5, 2021) – With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida immediately halted all of its in-person events.
The center typically hosts between 80 to 100 events each year at its Channelside Drive location, in downtown Tampa. This includes eight to 12 face-to-face seminars per month covering topics such as starting a business, using social media to market a business successfully, and government contracting. It also includes larger events such as its Annual Small Business Awards Celebration in May, the Basic Economic Development Course in November, and monthly government contracting networking breakfasts.
While buried in disaster relief assistance related to the pandemic, marketing and communications officer Stacey Dadd took the opportunity to reevaluate how training was being delivered.
“We sat still for a few months as we were trying to work through the thousands of requests we’d received for disaster assistance, and in May I started researching a variety of platforms we could use to deliver our services online,” Dadd said.
The center resumed its training schedule, albeit slightly altered, in July 2020, and the results have been impressive. The center now offers eight to 10 one-hour webinars each month, featuring a variety of its professionally-certified consultants as speakers, giving business owners the opportunity to connect and ask questions in a live, virtual environment. The results have been positive.
“In all of 2019, we hosted 89 events at our Channelside location with just 984 attendees,” Dadd added. “Even with taking a three-month hiatus in 2020, we served 1,176 attendees in just 44 events and as a bonus, because of the wonders of technology, 500 more have watched the recordings in our online portal.”
The trend has continued into 2021, with 50 percent of all registrations present in the live webinars. Dadd says the center is on track to serve nearly 4,000 entrepreneurs via its webinars, based on the current data.
“We really couldn’t be happier with the outcome,” Eileen Rodriguez, regional director at the Florida SBDC at USF, said. “We have talked about adding a virtual component to our training for a few years but were initially resistant to the change. Even when we’re able to go back to face-to-face services, we will still keep an online component to our training events.”
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Florida SBDC at USF to Administer Loans in 10-county Tampa Bay region
TAMPA (March 17, 2020) – The Florida SBDC at University of South Florida will facilitate the loan process for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, for small businesses in the Tampa Bay region.
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, activated by Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday, March 16, is available to small businesses in Florida that are experiencing economic damage as a result of COVID-19.
“We understand the urgency surrounding the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program,” Eileen Rodriguez, regional director of the Florida SBDC at USF, said. “We are here to help and will work with small business owners as quickly as possible, as we are experiencing a high volume of inquiries right now.”
The Florida SBDC at USF will accept applications for the following counties: Desoto, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota.
To qualify, applicants must be for-profit, privately held small businesses that maintain a place of business in Florida. Businesses must also be an employer with 2 to 100 employees. Loans are interest-free for one year. Businesses can qualify for up to $50,000 in most instances. Applications will be accepted through May 8.
Florida SBDC Network business consultants, many of whom are Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI) Certified Business Continuity Professionals, are available to assist small businesses through the loan application process and with other COVID-19-related challenges at no-cost.
The Florida SBDC at USF is available to answer questions and assist small business owners in submitting applications. Loan decisions are made by an independent committee made up of economic development and finance professionals from within the region. Financing is provided by the state of Florida using public funds. The state is also working diligently to make an online application available as well.
For additional qualifications and details for getting started, please visit us online at SBDCTampaBay.com/coronavirus. Details for how to submit the completed application and documentation are available on this webpage. All updates or changes to the process will be communicated via this webpage as well.
As a principal responder in the state’s Emergency Support Function (ESF) 18 for Business & Industry, the Florida SBDC Network is a key economic development organization that supports disaster preparedness, recovery, and mitigation through its Business Continuation services.
About the Florida SBDC Network:
For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy. Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 624,331 hours of professional business consulting to 58,975 client businesses, resulting in 281,831 jobs impacted; $36.7 billion in sales generated; $2.7 billion in government contracts acquired; $1.6 billion in capital accessed; and 4,520 new businesses started. A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.
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COVID-19 Emergency Bridge Loan Extensions: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) sent an email on April 21, 2021, to COVID-19 Emergency Bridge Loan recipients with directions regarding how to apply for a repayment extension. The email came from “Rebuild Florida No Reply” with the Subject: “Emergency Bridge Loan Extension Request.” Check your email for the directions to apply for a repayment extension. For questions, contact DEO directly at EmergencyBridgeLoan@deo.myflorida.com.
SBA Disaster Relief Contact Information: For help with EIDL, call 1-800-659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
5.16.22 EIDL Update: As of May 6, 2022, the COVID-19 EIDL funds are exhausted. SBA is no longer accepting COVID-19 EIDL loan increase requests or requests for reconsideration. Approved borrowers that have not signed their loan closing documents must do so by May 16, 2022, or will face delayed disbursement or possible loss of funding. Visit SBA.gov to manage your EIDL and fund up-to-date program information.
Preparedness Plan for Reopening Template
This template is designed to help businesses develop and implement a plan for reopening their business, ensuring a safe and healthy workplace for all workers. The template fits the potential needs of different types of businesses.
Tips to Prepare for Reopening
Though your business may be closed, now is the time to start preparing for your next chapter. We recommend you develop a well-thought-out plan for when you can open again. While not all businesses are brick and mortar, many of these tips can be applied to your business. Focusing on the highlighted areas will help make the transition easier for you, your employees, and your customers.
Guide to Business Resiliency in Times of Disaster
Many business owners are wondering what they can do (outside of taking on additional debt) to help meet the challenges of COVID-19. The guide provides suggestions for cash management, pricing and cost containment, supply chain management, and marketing.
Work From Home Assessments: Has your top employee all of a sudden become a challenge? If you are struggling to manage your work-from-home team, this free assessment can help you capitalize on your teams’ strengths. Each report contains a personalized communication style page, tips for working remotely based on their dominant communication style, and four pages of communication tips for working with other styles remotely.
COVID-19 Preparedness Plans: Business as usual may be a thing of the past. Professional consultants are available to assist with detailing how you will implement the following, at a minimum: infection prevention measures; prompt identification and isolation of sick persons; engineering and administrative controls for social distancing; housekeeping, disinfecting and decontamination; communications and training for managers and workers; and provision of management and supervision necessary to ensure effective implementation of the survival plan.
Student Teams: Working with Student Teams is a mutually advantageous situation for all parties involved. Each project is assigned a Florida SBDC at USF business consultant to oversee the project. This program lasts one semester. During the semester, the student team will prepare an individualized product, based on the business’ needs and selected team.
On-Demand and Live Webinars: While our face-to-face seminars have been suspended until further notice, we are offering additional learning opportunities via our on-demand webinars and live webinars. These short on-demand webinars will give you strategies you can implement in your business immediately. Want more detailed information after watching a webinar? Contact us to schedule a no-cost consulting session as a follow up. All webinars are currently being offered at no cost.
THE CORONAVIRUS AID, RELIEF AND ECONOMIC SECURITY ACT, CARES ACT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Passed by Congress and signed by the President, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act tasks the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) with overseeing the distribution of millions of dollars in loans and grants to help small businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic. It also provides additional funding for SBA’s resource partners to provide advice and training to help small businesses respond to the unprecedented challenges in communities throughout the country.
Small businesses are encouraged to look into other Federal relief programs that are made available thanks to the passage of the CARES Act. Additional funding opportunities may arise through the State of Florida or local county entities, as needed. Speak with a Florida SBDC at USF consultant for details.
SBA Debt Relief
The SBA’s Debt Relief Program provides immediate relief for new and existing borrowers of SBA’s regular loan guarantee programs. For existing borrowers with a regular 7(a), 504 or micro-loan, SBA will automatically make payments on your behalf for a period of six months. For new borrowers, SBA will automatically cover payments due prior to September 27, 2020. Debt relief is automatic, but you should check in with your lender. Under the new law, the SBA is directed to make payments within 30 days of the date on which the first payment is due. For more information about the Debt Relief Program, click here.
SBA Serviced Disaster Loan Debt Relief
For current SBA Serviced Disaster (Home and Business) Loans, if your disaster loan was in “regular servicing” status on March 1, 2020, the SBA is providing automatic deferments through December 31, 2020. Learn more about this debt relief program by clicking here.
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant
The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act. The program includes over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance.
Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million.$2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.
Eligible entities include:
Live venue operators or promoters
Live performing arts organization operators
Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria
Motion picture theater operators
Each business entity owned by an eligible entity that also meets the eligibility requirements
The SBA’s Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loan or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for a decision and disbursement on an EIDL, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan. Click here to learn more about the Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program.
Other SBA Lending Options
The 7(a) loan program is the SBA’s primary program for providing financial assistance to small businesses. The terms and conditions, like the guaranty percentage and loan amount, may vary by the type of loan. For information on other traditional SBA lending options, click here.
Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC)
The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, enacted December 27, 2020, made a number of changes to the employee retention tax credits previously made available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), including modifying and extending the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), for six months through June 30, 2021. Several of the changes apply only to 2021, while others apply to both 2020 and 2021.
As a result of the new legislation, eligible employers can now claim a refundable tax credit against the employer share of Social Security tax equal to 70% of the qualified wages they pay to employees after December 31, 2020, through June 30, 2021. Qualified wages are limited to $10,000 per employee per calendar quarter in 2021. Thus, the maximum ERC amount available is $7,000 per employee per calendar quarter, for a total of $14,000 in 2021. Learn more on the IRS website.
Information and guidance regarding COVID-19 in Florida.
For questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, individuals and business can contact the Florida Department of Health dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling (866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours a day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVIDemail@example.com.
Information regarding business preparedness, recovery, online training, links and news. The Business Damage Assessment is open for COVID-19. If your small business has been impacted, please complete the survey.
These resources can help small businesses develop a plan to protect their employees, lessen the financial impact of disasters, and re-open for business quickly to support the economic recovery of the community.
The Three Step Process: SBA Disaster Loans
While disaster loans have not been activated yet, small businesses can prepare by getting the appropriate documents gathered, using this PDF.
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WASHINGTON –The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the state of Florida to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area affected by Hurricane Hermine during the period of August 31 to September 11, 2016.
The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Citrus, Dixie, Hernando, Hillsborough, Leon, Levy, Pasco, and Pinellas counties. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding is also available to state and eligible tribal and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Hurricane Hermine in Citrus, Dixie, Franklin, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Pasco, Pinellas, Suwannee, Taylor, and Wakulla counties.
Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
Terry L. Quarles has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Quarles said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
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ATLANTA – The U.S. Small Business Administration is reminding small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations that Oct. 17 is the filing deadline for federal economic injury disaster loans in Florida as a result of excessive rain and flooding on Dec. 3-10, 2015.
This disaster declaration includes the following counties: Broward, Collier, Miami-Dade and Monroe in Florida.
Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers, or ranchers.
The loans are for working capital and can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 4 percent for eligible small businesses and 2.625 percent for nonprofit organizations, and terms up to
Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than Oct. 17, 2016.
For more information about the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program, visit our website at www.sba.gov/disaster.
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The Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center http://flvbeoc.org/ has activated its damage assessment survey for all businesses to register the impact from the storm http://flvbeoc.org/index.php?action=bda Please help us get this information to the local businesses so that they can register their damages and help the state officials determine the extent the Emergency Bridge Loan program needs to cover. The Governor intends to activate the program this week. The State Office will send a press release once the Governor makes his available. Stay tuned.
The Governor issued Executive Order 16-205 http://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/SLG-BIZHUB16083018380.pdf declaring a state of emergency for Alachua, Baker, Bat, Bradford, Brevard, Calhoun, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie , Duval, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Marion, Nassau, Orange, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter, Suwannnee, Taylor, Union, Volusia, and Wakulla Counties. Although Manatee and Sarasota Counties were not included, please have area businesses complete the survey as well.
Again, at this point we need the businesses to register their damages by completing the survey http://flvbeoc.org/index.php?action=bda – share this link with your are stakeholders (chambers, business groups, etc).
For those businesses interested in applying for a loan will need to visit http://www.floridadisasterloan.org/. Please know that until the program is activated, the application form will not be available.
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WASHINGTON Florida businesses and residents affected by the severe storms and tornado in Sarasota County on Jan. 15-17, can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet announced today.
Contreras-Sweet made the loans available in response to a letter from
Gov. Rick Scott on Feb. 2, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA.
The declaration covers Sarasota County and the adjacent counties of Charlotte, DeSoto and Manatee
The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Florida with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans, said Contreras-Sweet. Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.
Businesses and nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets, said SBAs South Florida District Director Francisco Marrero.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses and most private nonprofit organizations of all sizes, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.
The Center is located in the following community and is open as indicated:
Bee Ridge Park 4430 S. Lockwood Ridge Road
Sarasota, FL 34231
Opens: Tuesday, February 9 at 9 a.m.
9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Weekday
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 13
Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property, said Frank Skaggs, director of SBAs Field Operations Center East in Atlanta. SBAs customer service representatives are available at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help individuals complete their applications.
Interest rates are as low as 4 percent for businesses, 2.625 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.813 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amount and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicants financial condition.
Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Some improvements now include a safe room or storm shelter to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.
Businesses and Individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBAs Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing email@example.com. Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov/disaster. 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.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is April 5, 2016. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Nov. 7, 2016.
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TAMPA (August 28, 2015) – In an effort to help businesses and families recover from the severe storms and flooding in the Tampa area, Governor Rick Scott activated Florida’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program.
The Florida SBDC at University of South Florida will provide assistance to small businesses seeking assistance. A committee will receive and review the applications received for Bridge loan assistance.
The program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide emergency, short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses in five eligible counties to assist in reestablishing businesses during the interim period while the eligibility for other types of aid and insurance claims are being determined.
The executive order includes Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties as well as other affected areas in West Central Florida including Dixie and Taylor counties. Businesses must have 2 to 100 employees and must prove damages are as a result of the West Central Florida 2015 Flooding Event from July 25 through August 3.
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Disaster Preparedness Assistance Available through SBA, FSBDC
FSBDCN State Office: (August 27, 2015) – Charley, Ivan, Jeanne, Dennis and Wilma are names not forgotten in Florida. These five hurricanes made landfall between August 2004 and October 2005, resulting in over $100 billion in damages and tens of thousands of businesses that never recovered. In the wake of Tropical Storm Erika, the fifth named storm of an already active Atlantic hurricane season, the Florida SBDC Network is urging small businesses to take proper precautions to ensure recovery in the event of a disaster.
“As we remember the 10th anniversary of a hurricane season that devastated Florida, we are reminded of what can happen to a community when its businesses are destroyed and never recover,” said Michael W. Myhre, CEO and Network State Director for the Florida SBDC. “Though it is too early to determine if Tropical Storm Erika will maintain its current course, and what intensity it will become, businesses should continue to monitor developments and have a disaster plan in place.”
The Florida SBDC Network, a participating organization in the State of Florida’s Emergency Support Function for Business and Industry, provides education, training and assistance to small and medium sized businesses located in Florida at no cost. Through the Network’s Business Continuation Services, professionally certified business consultants are available to help businesses develop a comprehensive Business Continuity, Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Recovery Plan.
“Having a business continuity plan is essential to establishing a successful and resilient small business,” added Myhre. “The investment to create a disaster preparedness plan is small compared to the financial losses that may occur if there’s no plan in place.”
The U.S. Small Business Administration has partnered with Agility Recovery Solutions to provide disaster assistance resources, including business continuity strategies and disaster preparedness checklists and templates. Additionally, in collaboration with FEMA’s Ready Campaign, SBA and Agility Recovery are offering a series of free webinars in September as part of National Preparedness Month (NPM). The 2015 NPM theme is “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make your Emergency Plan Today.”
The 30-minute webinars will be presented at 2 p.m. EDT every Wednesday:
September 9: “The Keystone to Disaster Recovery: Communications”
September 16: “Recover from the Most Likely Disaster: Power Outage”
September 23: “Protect Your Most Valuable Asset: Prepare Your Employees”
September 30: “If You Do Nothing Else this Year…”
To register, or to view past webinars and other disaster assistance resources available through SBA and Agility Recovery’s “PrepareMyBusiness” website, click here.
Yesterday, the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Tallahassee was activated to a Level 2 partial activation in preparation for possible impacts from Tropical Storm Erika. The State Emergency Response Team (SERT) will continue to monitor the storm’s developments. Florida businesses can stay on top of the storm and access other online resources via the Florida Division of Emergency Management by clicking here.
In the event that the storm does impact the state, the Florida SBDC Network will deploy its Mobile Assistance Centers – equipped with laptops, printers, satellite communication, supplies, and more – and its team of Business Disaster Response Specialists to provide on-site assistance for impacted businesses.
For more information about the Florida SBDC’s Business Continuation Services, click here.
About the Florida SBDC Network:
For nearly forty years, the Florida SBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for the state. In 2014, the initiatives of the Florida SBDC Network resulted in 42,664 jobs created, retained and saved; $5.8 billion in sales growth; $140.2 million in capital accessed; $210.2 million in government contract awards; and 952 new businesses started. A statewide network of over 40 centers, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the Network’s designated lead host institution. The Florida SBDC Network is state designated as Florida’s principal provider of business assistance and is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In an effort to help businesses and families recover from the severe storms and flooding in the Tampa area, Governor Rick Scott activated Florida’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. The program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide emergency, short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses in five eligible counties to assist in reestablishing businesses during the interim period while the eligibility for other types of aid and insurance claims are being determined. The executive order includes Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties as well as other affected areas in West Central Florida including Dixie and Taylor counties.
Governor Scott said, “I saw firsthand the devastating flood damage in the Tampa Bay area communities earlier this month, and we will continue to take every possible measure to ensure that small businesses and families can quickly recover. Small business are the foundation of our economy and we must ensure all affected can get back to work as soon as possible.”
DEO Executive Director Jesse Panuccio said, “As Floridians know, storms and floods can cause significant economic harm, especially for small businesses that may not have the resources on hand to repair damages. In the wake of the recent flooding in West Central Florida, DEO visited and surveyed affected businesses, and we are committed to helping them recover. Today we are activating the emergency bridge loan program. It is imperative that affected businesses have the resources they need to recover.”
FDEM Director, Bryan W. Koon said, “Healthy businesses are one of the most important factors in the health of a community as a whole, and after a disaster, it’s especially important to get small businesses reintegrated into the community. They’re an integral part of the community’s identity and cultural landscape, and restoring neighborhood landmarks and gathering places also helps to restore normalcy for the affected families who are moving forward and re-establishing their lives.”
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program provides an expedient cash flow to businesses damaged by a disaster. The short-term loans help bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a business secures other financial resources, including regular profits, payment of claims or longer-term loans. Up to $10 million from the state’s General Revenue fund has been allocated for the program, of which $5 million will be made available immediately. The additional $5 million will be used as necessary.
Owners of small businesses with two to 100 employees in counties affected by the Tampa area flooding event from July 25, 2015, through August 3, 2015, may apply for short-term loans for $1,000 to $25,000. Loans are granted in terms of 90 or 180 days and are interest-free for that time period. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to the issue of Executive Order 15-158, signed by Governor Scott on August 6, 2015, and demonstrate damage as a result of the flooding event.
To complete an application, or for more information on the program, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. For questions regarding local administration of the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center at University of South Florida at 813.905.5830.
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Regional Office Contact Info
3802 Spectrum Blvd., Suite 201
Tampa, FL 33612
The Florida SBDC at the University of South Florida is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide partnership program nationally accredited by the Association of America’s SBDCs and funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida, and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network’s lead host institution. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals.
State Designated as Florida’s Principal Provider of Business Assistance [§ 288.01, Fla. Stat.]