TALLAHASSEE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Under an extension granted today by Gov. Charlie Crist’s office, small businesses in Northwest Florida that have been economically impacted by the BP oil spill may continue to apply for expedited, short-term financial help under the State of Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program through Oct. 27, 2010.
The extension provides another month of eligibility for small businesses in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf and Franklin counties to receive up to $25,000 in short-term, interest-free “bridge” loans.
Small businesses located in counties originally approved for the emergency bridge loan program may apply through Sept. 30, 2010, only. Those counties include Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Dixie, Levy, Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Monroe, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade.
The bridge loan program is intended to help “tide over” affected businesses in the short term until long-term assistance, such as Gulf Coast Claims Facility payments, federal disaster assistance or insurance claim proceeds, becomes available.
Small businesses from 2 to 100 employees that have been operational for one full year prior to the BP oil spill on April 20, 2010, and demonstrate physical damage or economic injury as a result of the spill may apply. Funds are available in most cases between 48 and 72 hours of submitting a completed application.
Bridge loans carry repayment terms up to 12 months. Payments are not required during the established loan term, but loans must be paid in full by the end of the loan term.
Applications (available in both English and Spanish) may be downloaded by visiting www.floridaoilhelp.com. Once the application is completed, applicants should contact the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network at (866) 737-7232 for submission instructions. Applicants may also contact the SBDC Network for free help with completing the application.
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program was first activated following Hurricane Andrew. The program has been activated 12 additional times following disasters and has helped more than 950 small businesses in 56 counties to receive more than $27 million in assistance.
Visit www.floridaoilhelp.com for an application and complete details.