State Announces Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program Closure, Availability of Federal Assistance

Florida SBDC Network Headquarters (Pensacola, Fla.) – With the assistance of the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), the administrator of the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program has received more than 38,000 applications since the program was first activated on March 17. As of Tuesday, April 14, the bridge loan program approved 1,000 loans, expending the full $50 million of funding appropriated for the program.

“Due to the Congress’ swift action and expedient implementation of immediate and long-term federal disaster assistance for our state’s small businesses, the businesses that applied for and were unable to be funded through the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program have options,” said Michael W. Myhre, CEO of the Florida SBDC Network. “We share in Governor DeSantis’ and our partners at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s commitment to help our state’s small businesses survive and recover from COVID-19. To do that, we are now shifting our full attention to helping the unfunded applicants gain access and secure the vital federal disaster resources available to them.”

On March 26, 2020, Congress passed and the President signed the CARES Act that provides emergency funding for the new Paycheck Protection Program and the expansion of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL), both administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The legislation also provides immediate loan payment relief for current SBA loan program borrowers.

As part of its service offering, Florida SBDC professionally certified consultants and disaster specialists are available to provide confidential, no-cost consulting and direction to help affected businesses assess their options and receive assistance in preparing loan applications. Florida SBDC disaster specialists can also assist with other post-disaster challenges.

The Florida SBDC Network recently developed a guide to help small businesses understand available federal disaster loans and provide tips for impacted businesses to do right now to stay afloat. To access the guide, and for more information on resources available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

For individual assistance, small businesses can contact their nearest Florida SBDC office at www.FloridaSBDC.org/locations.