Oct 10, 2017– With expertise from the Florida SBDC at Florida Keys Community College (FKCC), dollars have started to flow to Keys businesses struggling in the wake of Hurricane Irma.  Kelly Penwell, Regional Director of the SBDC at FKCC, and staff have been working from Key West to Ocean Reef to help business owners complete applications for Emergency Bridge Loans and Disaster Loans.  So far, more than 80 businesses have submitted applications and 10 have received funds together totaling $270,000.

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan is a short-term, interest-free working capital loan intended to help small businesses “bridge the gap” between the time of a declared disaster and when the business has secured long-term recovery resources, such as insurance proceeds or federal disaster assistance. The program is administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, in collaboration with the Florida SBDC Network, and supported by Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (FFCFC).

Small business owners with two to 100 employees affected by Hurricane Irma can apply for a bridge loan up to $50,000.  These interest-free loans are granted in terms of 90 or 180 days.  To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to Sept. 4, 2017, and demonstrate economic injury or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Irma.  The deadline to apply is October 31, 2017, contingent on the availability of funds.

Additionally, impacted businesses may apply for low-interest Business Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans through the SBA.  Businesses and nonprofits may apply for up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory, and other business assets.  Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available even if the business did not suffer any physical damage. Interest rates are as low as 3.305 percent for businesses and 2.5 percent for nonprofits with terms up to 30 years.

For more information about the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan, please visit www.FloridaDisasterLoan.org.  For information about Business Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans, please visit http://floridasbdc.org/services/business-continuation/disaster/. Businesses owners seeking assistance with these opportunities should contact Kelly Penwell, Regional Director of the SBDC, at FKCC at 516-903-7561 or kelly.conklinpenwell@fkcc.edu.

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About the Florida SBDC at Florida Keys Community College:

The Florida SBDC at Florida Keys Community College (FKCC) provides entrepreneurs with professional business consulting at no cost, management training, and vital information they need to grow and succeed in a complex and competitive global environment. The Florida SBDC at FKCC maintains a full-service office in Key West, serving emerging and growth businesses in Monroe County.  Consulting services and training are also provided at several locations throughout our service territory.

The Florida SBDC at FKCC is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. SBA, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners; hosted by the University of West Florida; and nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. 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 call the Florida SBDC at Key West at 305.809.3232 or visit http://keywestsbdc.org.