Small business hurt by Hurricane Irma? Apply for these interest-free state loans

On Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott activated a loan program designed to support small businesses affected by Hurricane Irma.

The bridge loan program will provide interest-free, short-term loans to small businesses that had physical or economic damage in the storm. Business owners can apply Thursday through October 31. Scott OK’d up to $10 million for the program, which is managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Business owners must: Have between two and 100 employees, be located in Florida, have been established before September 4, 2017 and demonstrate economic injury of physical damage from the storm. The loans — worth up to $25,000 — will be granted in terms of 90 to 180 days.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Florida’s economy, and families are depending on these businesses recovering as quickly as possible,” Scott said in a statement. “The small business bridge loan program will help small business owners and communities get back up and running and I encourage all affected business owners to apply today.”

To complete an application by the October 31, 2017, deadline, or for more information on the program, visit For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 850-898-3489 or email