Governor Ron DeSantis Waives Eligibility Requirement of the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, Allowing Sole Proprietors in the Marine Fisheries Industry to Receive Critical Assistance
Waiving this eligibility requirement allows sole proprietors in the Marine Fisheries Industry located in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee, and Sarasota counties to apply
10-20-22 — TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis waived an eligibility requirement of the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to allow sole proprietors in the Marine Fisheries Industry with businesses located in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee, and Sarasota counties to receive critical assistance. This announcement follows Governor DeSantis’ request, made last week, that the U.S. Secretary of Commerce issue a federal fisheries disaster to allow access to federal funding.
Additionally, yesterday Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle and Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie met with marine industry business owners and employees at a pop-up Disaster Recovery Center from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., focused on providing resources to Floridians in the marine fisheries industry. Secretary Eagle and Director Guthrie were able to hear about the hurdles the industry is facing in recovering after Hurricane Ian and provide support.
“Our marine fisheries have sustained huge impacts as a result of Hurricane Ian and those impacts are far reaching,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I am committed to ensuring that Florida’s fishing industry stays afloat, and that includes supporting the Floridians who make their living on the water.”
$50 million is available through the program to small businesses impacted by Hurricane Ian in Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, and Volusia counties. $10 million of the loan program is dedicated to small businesses that are agricultural producers. Small businesses in the most impacted counties — Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee, and Sarasota — will be escalated and prioritized as they are received.
“Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ strong leadership and compassionate approach to ensuring that Floridians and their businesses are able to recover quickly from the impact that Hurricane Ian has caused on their livelihoods, sole proprietors within the Marine Fisheries Industry with businesses located in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee, and Sarasota counties can now apply to receive this critical assistance,” said DEO Secretary Dane Eagle. “Florida’s small business owners in need of assistance are encouraged to apply for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program at www.FloridaJobs.org/EBL.”
Marine Fisheries Industry sole proprietors with businesses located in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee, and Sarasota counties that are interested in applying for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program are required to provide documentation demonstrating the business is part of the Marine Fisheries Industry.
The program, administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), provides short-term, zero-interest loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury or physical damage due to Hurricane Ian. Interested applicants can apply now through December 2, 2022, or until all available funds are expended.
Loans approved through the Emergency Bridge Loan Program are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a disaster impacts a business and when a business has secured longer term recovery funding such as federally or commercially available loans, insurance claims, or other resources. Eligible small businesses may apply for loans of up to $50,000 through the program.
Loans made under this program are short-term, zero-interest, personal loans using state of Florida funds. They are not grants and loans must be repaid by the approved applicant.
DEO administers the Emergency Bridge Loan Program alongside its fiscal administrator, Florida First Capital Finance Corporation.
- Visit www.FloridaJobs.org/EBL to learn more about the program, as well as to view the lending guidelines and required documentation and to complete an application by the December 2, 2022, deadline. Business owners who need further program information may call 833-832-4494 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern Time.