In response to the COVID-19 Florida Public Health Emergency declared by Governor Ron DeSantis per Executive Order 20-52, the Governor implemented the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program (“Bridge Loan”), managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (“DEO”). As a benefit of the Bridge Loan, eligible small businesses have the opportunity to receive short-term, interest-free loans (for a term of one year) of up to $50,000, and in special cases of up to $100,000 as warranted by the need of the eligible small business. Applications are required and are available online now. The deadline to submit an application is May 8, 2020. To prepare for completion of the application, be sure to gather the required documentation.
Recipients of the Bridge Loan must be individuals who are at least 51% owners of the business. The proceeds of the Bridge Loan must be used only for purposes of maintaining or restarting the business or, authorized on a case-by-case basis, may be used to pay off debts already incurred for qualifying business maintenance or restart purposes.
The eligible small business must be able demonstrate economic injury as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The requirements to qualify as an eligible small business are as follows:
- a for-profit, privately held small business that maintains a place of business in the state of Florida and established prior to March 9, 2020,
- a small business in a designated county in Florida. All counties in Florida are eligible under Executive Order 20-52,
- a small business with 2 to 100 employees*, and
- must have paid in full any previous loans received from the state emergency bridge loan program.
*Per the application, “Employees are defined as individuals who receive paid wages or salary which employment taxes (e.g. FICA, FUTA) and income taxes are withdrawn and remitted to the IRS, as evidenced by business tax returns filed, i.e. IRS Form 940, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return, IRS Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return or IRS Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements. For purposes of eligibility, independent contractors (also known as 1099 employees) do qualify as employees for this loan program.”
The DEO can be reached toll-free at (833) 832-4494 or by e-mail – FloridaBusinessLoanFund@deo.myflorida.com.
For more information on the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, please contact Amy Nicotra or Rich Rivera.