Small businesses reeling from the impacts of closures tied to COVID-19 are starting to receive relief from the state. Two businesses in Tallahassee are the first to receive Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans offered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, or DEO.
The bridge loan program, activated on March 16th, provides short-term, interest free loans for one year to small businesses that experience economic injury from COVID-19. Loans may be awarded up to $50,000 per business, or possibly $100,000 in special circumstances.
“The Florida Small Business Emergency Loan is designed to get cash into the hands of small businesses so they can keep their doors open during a crisis,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “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.”
As of Tuesday, the DEO has received 6,398 applications for the loan. Owners of Full Press Apparel and Jersey Mike’s Subs in Tallahassee are receiving the loans in what the state is calling an unprecedented, short three-day review process.
According to the DEO, it administers 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 loan helps 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.
“We appreciate Governor DeSantis keeping small businesses as a priority during this difficult time,” said Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Ken Lawson. “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.”
Small business owners with two to 100 employees located in Florida can apply for short-term loans up to $50,000. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to March 9, 2020, and demonstrate economic impacts as a result of COVID-19.
The application period ends May 8th. Businesses can apply at FloridaDisaster.BIZ.