A Special Program
In essence, the program provides emergency loans to qualified businesses. The loans are both short-term and interest-free. They provide businesses with much needed working capital and funds used to assist in repairs so that they can quickly begin operations again.
Qualified business are those business affected by the storms and/or flooding in Santa Rosa, Escambia, Okaloosa, Bay, Gadsden, Calhoun, Holmes, Jackson, Walton, Washington, and Liberty counties.
A Stopgap Measure
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is intended for this exact purpose. It provides quick cash to those business that have been damaged as a result of a disaster. That's not an uncommon occurrence in Florida, a state subject to hurricanes and heavy rains.
The point of the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is to sustain businesses that were damaged while those businesses attempt to secure financial resources from other channels to assist in their recovery. It is well known, for example, that insurance claims do not get processed overnight and that business owners never have a check in their hands the day after submitting a claim form. The whole process of submitting a claim and waiting for a payment is often agonizingly long, and, in some cases, long enough to put businesses out of business as they await much-needed cash.
Fortunately, the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program can provide small businesses with financial assistance when the money that they need is coming, but simply hasn't arrived yet. That's great news for business owners struggling to resume operations after the devastating effects of spring rainstorms.
The state of Florida provides up to $5 million from the state's general revenue fund for the loan program.
Small business owners in areas that were impacted by the spring storms who employ between two and 100 employees may apply for the bridge loans. They can receive between $1,000 and $25,000 up until July 31, 2014. The loans are either 90 or 180 days in length and, as noted above, they are interest-free. The loans are available only to businesses that were established prior to the issue of Executive Order #14-144 that was signed by Governor Rick Scott on April 30, 2014. Eligible businesses must also show that physical damage was caused by the spring rainstorms.