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Small Business Development Center
University of North Florida
Media Release
March 18, 2020

Florida small businesses impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) may now apply for short-term, interest-free loans through the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program.

The purpose of the loan program, which was activated yesterday by Governor DeSantis, is to help business owners bridge the gap between the time the economic impact occurred and when a business secures other longer-term resources, such as insurance proceeds or federal disaster assistance through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Through the program, qualified small businesses with two to 100 employees affected by COVID-19 can apply for loans up to $50,000 for one-year terms. To be eligible, a business must be located in Florida, have been established prior to March 9, 2020, and demonstrate economic injury as a result of the virus.

To complete a bridge loan application by the May 8, 2020 deadline, and for more information about the program, please visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. The state is also working diligently to make an online application available.

As a principal responder in the state’s Emergency Support Function (ESF) 18 for Business & Industry, the Florida SBDC Network continues to monitor guidance from officials for developments, recommendations, and resources to develop a plan that will support your small business during this challenging time.

In the meantime, we have taken the following steps:

SBDC Offices and Professional Business Consulting Services — Our offices are closed to the public until further notice. However, we are still offering our consulting services. Instead of in-person consultations we are hosting them virtually. Call our front desk at (904) 620-2476 to make a confidential, no-cost appointment with one of our professionally certified business consultants and choose the mode of virtual communication that is convenient for you. We can assist you in developing a preparedness plan and with other strategies to safeguard your employees and customers, and ensure the continued operation of your business.

Training Events and Workshops — Our live events and workshops have also been cancelled until further notice, but when we are able we are working diligently to offer them virtually as a webinar. Visit our training events and workshop page at: https://www.sbdc.unf.edu/workshops-events

Business Damage Assessment Survey — The Florida SBDC Network strongly encourages small businesses impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to complete the Business Damage Assessment Survey to Determine Need for COVID-19 Federal, State Disaster Assistance. The survey, administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), is not an application for disaster assistance, but rather assists state officials in determining the extent of impact and need for federal and state disaster assistance. Complete the survey here: Business Damage Assessment Survey.

Here are additional links to resources for your small businesses.


Florida Department of Health Covid-19
Information and guidance regarding COVID-19 in Florida.
For questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, individuals and business can contact the Florida Department of Health dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling (866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours a day. Inquiries may also be emailed to [email protected]

Information regarding business preparedness, recovery, online training, links and news. When activated, houses the Florida Business Damage Assessment.
During an activation of the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), the Florida Private Sector Hotline will be activated.

Florida Private Sector Hotline: 850-815-4925
Email: [email protected]

For information about Emergency Support Function 18 (Business, Industry and Economic Stability) and Florida’s Public Private Partnerships, please email [email protected]

Florida Chamber Follow Facts, Not Fear
The Florida Chamber is the official state chapter of the National Safety Council. This webpage includes important links from Governor DeSantis’ office, the Emergency Operations Center, Centers for Disease Control, Florida Department of Health and our partners at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and it will be updated regularly.


Center for Disease Control Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
Provides detailed planning considerations and recommended strategies for employers to use now.

OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

U.S. Small Business Administration Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Assistance
These resources can help small businesses develop a plan to protect their employees, lessen the financial impact of disasters, and re-open for business quickly to support the economic recovery of the community.

FEMA.gov News Releases

FEMA Mobile App – Receive severe weather alerts, driving directions to disaster recovery centers, save a custom list RE emergency kit and meeting spot, tips to stay safe for over 20 types of hazards.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
The U.S. Chamber is working closely with the White House, U.S. government agencies, and foreign government officials to inform and equip businesses with the most important and up-to-date information to ensure we are all adequately prepared to protect Americans at home and abroad. The website provides great resources for all businesses, including small businesses.

Comprehensive and customized business disaster preparedness planning information, materials and training videos

Please know we remain committed to assisting your small business and we will continue our focus on delivering the services you depend on in a manner consistent with the health and well-being of our clients and our team.

The Florida SBDC at UNF
904-620-2476 | www.sbdc.unf.edu

State Designated as Florida’s Principal Provider of Business Assistance [ § 288.001, Fla. Stat.]
The Florida SBDC at UNF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide partnership program nationally accredited by the Association of America’s SBDCs and funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network’s lead host institution. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals.

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