TALLAHASSEE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Small businesses in Northwest Florida that have been economically impacted by the BP oil spill have through Oct. 27, 2010, to apply for expedited, short-term financial help under the State of Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, at which time the program ends.
The program was originally set to expire last month but was extended through Oct. 27 for small businesses located in the following Northwest Florida counties only: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf and Franklin.
Interest-free “bridge” loans up to $25,000 are available 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 State of 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.