Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1 - What are the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan and Catastrophic Emergency Bridge Loan Programs?
A1 - The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program provides an expedient cash flow to businesses physically and/or or economically damaged by a disaster. These short-term loans help bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a business secures other financial resources, payment of insurance claims or longer-term loans. The Catastrophic Emergency Bridge Loan Program, which is a subset of the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, was created in May 2019 to allow agricultural producers of field crops damaged by Hurricane Michael to secure bridge loan funding for the coming grow cycle.
Q2 - How are the programs funded?
A2 - In accordance with section 252.37(2), Florida Statutes, during a state of emergency the Governor of Florida can direct that sufficient funds be made available, as needed, by transferring and expending moneys appropriated for other purposes, moneys from unappropriated surplus funds or from the Budget Stabilization Fund.
Q3 - I own 2 businesses in the area that have been impacted by the disaster. Can I apply for a disaster bridge loan for both businesses?
A3 - Yes. 1 loan (only 1) may be made per eligible business.
Q4 - If I get my proceeds from my insurance claim before my bridge loan matures, is there a prepayment penalty incurred for paying my loan off early?
A4 - No. There is no penalty for early payment of your bridge loan.
Q5 - I am self-employed and do not have any other employees working for me. Based on the eligibility requirements of the bridge loan program, does that mean I do not qualify for a bridge loan?
A5 - Not necessarily. While the requirements of the program state that a business must have a minimum of 2 employees, self-employed individuals can be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine if they can qualify under other guidelines. It is important that all required documentation be provided to the reviewer under this scenario in order to assist them in making a more informed decision.
Q6 - Are agricultural businesses ineligible for the program?
For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, please contact the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network Headquarters. Email: Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org. Phone toll-free: (866) 737-7232.
About the Emergency Bridge Loan Program
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program was first activated following Hurricane Andrew in 1992. It has been activated 24 additional times following disasters and has helped more than 4,160 small businesses statewide to receive more than $123.1 million in assistance.