Beacon Council working with agencies to aid hurricane-impacted businesses

The Miami-Dade Beacon Council, the official economic development partnership, is working closely with public and private sector leaders to help Miami-Dade’s business community recover and get back to work as soon as possible.

The Council is working with its partners including the Small Business Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Small Business Development Center and others to:
• Assess damage to businesses and evaluate needs;
• Provide information on available resources, and
• Facilitate connections to service providers.

The Council is using its Banking & Finance Committee to provide coordinated resources and outreach to businesses seeking loans in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Also, the Small Business Committee has been hearing directly from community partners and bankers about next steps to ensure communication and resources continue to flow.

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

Gov. Rick Scott has activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide short-term, interest-free loans to businesses damaged by the storm.

Administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) in partnership with the Florida SBDC Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (FFCFC), the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan helps businesses bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a business secures other financial resources, including payment of insurance claims or longer-term Small Business Administration loans. Up to $10 million has been allocated for the program.

Under the program, eligible small businesses in all 67 Florida counties with two to 100 employees may apply for short-term, interest-free loans for $1,000 to $25,000 for 90- or 180-day terms. 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 for the Florida Emergency Bridge Loan program is Oct. 31.
Business Damage Assessment Survey

DEO is assessing the damage caused by the storm. Small businesses that have incurred losses due to Hurricane Irma are asked to complete a Business Damage Assessment Survey. The survey will help the State Emergency Response Team determine the needs and level of assistance for impacted businesses.

Following President Donald Trump’s major disaster declaration, impacted businesses may apply for low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Through the declaration, businesses and nonprofits in Miami-Dade County are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA.

Business Physical Disaster Loans are intended to help repair or replace disaster-damaged property. Businesses and nonprofit organizations may apply for up to $2 million to repair or replace property, including real estate, equipment, inventory, machinery, and other business assets.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, nonprofit organizations meet financial obligations and operating expenses through the disaster recovery period.

Interest rates are as low as 3.305 percent for businesses and 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations. The SBA customizes loan amounts and terms up to a maximum of 30 years for each applicant.

Applicants also may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages to protect property from future damage, including adding a safe room or storm shelter.

To apply for Physical and Economic Injury Loans, businesses must first register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at www.disasterassistance.gov or call the toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY).

Upon registration with FEMA, businesses may apply for a disaster loan a number of ways:
• Submit an online application at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/;
• Download an application from www.sba.gov/disaster and submit to a SBA disaster recovery center or mail to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155;
• Visit a SBA recovery center for one-on-one assistance, or
• Visit their local Florida SBDC for assistance.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Nov. 9. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 11, 2018.

“The recovery efforts from Hurricane Irma will take some time, however, the SBA’s implementation of disaster assistance in the impacted areas will help usher along the process,” said Francisco “Pancho” Marrero, South Florida District director. “As soon as it’s clear to do so, I encourage everyone in the listed counties to complete their respective damage assessments and after completing FEMA disaster requirements, apply for assistance from the SBA’s Disaster Assistance Center.”

For questions about the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, the U.S. SBA Physical and Economic Injury Loan Programs, and how the Florida SBDC can help, contact the Florida SBDC Network at (850) 898-3489 or Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org. The phone line will be answered during regular business hours; all voice mails and emails will be responded to within 24 hours.


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