Business damage survey, loan program activated

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has activated the Business Damage Assessment Survey to assess the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19, the disease it causes, on Florida’s local business operations, according to the state Department of Economic Opportunity. DEO is the lead agency for...

  • A screenshot of the Floridadisaster.biz website.
    A screenshot of the Floridadisaster.biz website.
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has activated the Business Damage Assessment Survey to assess the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19, the disease it causes, on Florida’s local business operations, according to the state Department of Economic Opportunity.

DEO is the lead agency for “Emergency Support Function 18,” and it is tasked with coordinating local, state and federal agency actions that provide immediate and short-term assistance to business and industry as well as economic stabilization. Additionally, ESF-18 works with business and industry to identify available resources to meet the needs of the state and its citizens before, during and after a disaster.

For inquiries or assistance with the survey, businesses can contact ESF-18 by emailing ESF18@em.myflorida.com, or visiting Floridadisaster.biz for more information. FloridaDisaster.biz is a partnership between the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

The state is also offering a Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. The program is currently available to small business owners located in all Florida counties statewide that have experienced economic damage as a result of COVID-19. You can access the program information through FloridaDisaster.biz or by visiting floridadisasterloan.org.

These short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer-term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance.

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is not designed to be the primary source of assistance to affected small businesses, which is why eligibility is linked pursuant to other financial sources. Loans made under this program are short-term debt loans made by the state of Florida using public funds – they are not grants. Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans require repayment by the approved applicant from longer-term financial resources.

Loan details:

ŸDesignated disaster areas: All Florida counties statewide per Executive Order 20-52.

ŸQualified 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.

ŸAmount: 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.

ŸTerm: 1 year.

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

ŸInterest rate: Loans will be interest-free for the loan term (one 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.

• Application period: Applications will be accepted by qualified Florida agricultural producers under this program through May 8, contingent on the availability of funds.