Small business emergency bridge loan program activated by Florida governor after Hurricane Matthew

Florida Governor Rick Scott activated Florida’s small business emergency bridge loan program to support small businesses impacted by Hurricane Matthew.

Hurricane Matthew came up Florida's coastline Friday, causing beach erosion and damage throughout the state.

“While Floridians across the state did all they could to prepare for Hurricane Matthew, this was massive and devastating storm that caused heavy damage throughout our state," Scott said. "I have toured areas throughout Brevard, Volusia, Duval and Flagler Counties and have seen the shattering effects this disaster had on families and small businesses. Restoring Florida’s small businesses is crucial to helping our communities recover from Hurricane Matthew and the Bridge Loan Program will help provide much needed assistance.We will continue to use every available resource to help restore our resilient communities.”

The bridge loan program will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm and recovery efforts.

The application period is from Oct. 10 to Nov. 11, Scott said.

Owners of small businesses with two to 100 employees located in 67 counties affected by Hurricane Matthew can apply for the short-term loans for up to $25,000, officials said. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to Oct. 3 and demonstrate economic or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is surveying businesses in the affected counties. To access the business survey, visit the website and select "Hurricane Matthew" from the drop-down menu.

"Across the state, our priority is to help every Floridian and community that has been affected by Hurricane Matthew. As the backbone of Florida’s economy, we know that assisting small businesses with their recovery is an important step in restoring our communities," DEO Executive Director Cissy Proctor said. "DEO is committed to using all of our available resources to assist small businesses in the wake of this major storm.”

To complete the application by the Nov. 11 deadline or for more information on the program, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, call the Florida Small Business Development Center Network state office at 850-898-3489.