News Release: 11/6/2018:Bridge Loan Deadline Extended for Businesses Impacted by Red Tide

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Media Contact:
Dianne Hafleigh
(850) 898-3486
News Release
November 5, 2018
For Immediate Release
Bridge Loan Deadline Extended for
Businesses Impacted by Red Tide
Florida SBDC Network Stands Ready to Help Businesses Apply, Navigate Challenges
Florida SBDC Network Headquarters (Pensacola, Fla.) – Small businesses impacted by naturally-occurring red tide now have until December 16, 2018 to apply for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan.
Activated by the Governor and administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) in partnership with the Florida SBDC Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation, the bridge loan program is a short-term, interest-free loan program designed to help small businesses bridge the gap until long-term recovery resources, such as insurance claims or federal assistance, are available.
Small businesses with two to 100 employees may apply for loans up to $50,000 for 180-day terms. While the bridge loan is a source of expedient funds, it is not designed to be the primary source of assistance for affected small businesses. As part of the eligibility, businesses must indicate pursuit of other sources, including insurance claims and federal disaster assistance.
To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to August 13, 2018, be located in one of the 14 designated disaster counties, and demonstrate economic injury or physical damage as a result of red tide. The deadline for the program has been extended until December 16, 2018.
The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, the state’s principal provider of small business assistance, stands ready to help small businesses impacted by red tide apply for the bridge loan and for Economic Injury Disaster Loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) at no cost.  
Statewide with more than 40 locations from Pensacola to Key West, the Florida SBDC Network is a public-private partnership that leverages the resources of higher education and economic development to serve the needs of aspiring and existing small businesses. The mission of the Florida SBDC Network and SBDCs nationally is to provide the strategies, resources, and expertise to help small businesses grow and succeed.
As part of its service offering, Florida SBDC business consultants, many of whom are Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI) Certified Business Continuity Professionals, are available to assist small businesses prepare disaster loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges.
Businesses in affected counties are encouraged to complete a Business Damage Assessment Survey online at Response to the damage assessment is not an application for assistance, so businesses that fill out the survey and are interested in the bridge loan program must fill out a bridge loan application as well. 
For more information on state and federal disaster loans available to small businesses impacted by red tide, Lake Okeechobee algal blooms, and Hurricane Michael, please visit
For questions about the loan programs and how the Florida SBDC can help, please contact the Florida SBDC Network at (850) 898-3479, toll-free at (866) 737-7232, or by email at
About the Florida SBDC Network:
For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy. Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started. A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit