The advice is to work from home, stay home and keep the family with you as much as you can to fight the spread of COVID-19.

That is going to hurt our local businesses who rely on local residents to keep them successful and afloat month to month, but it must be done for the safety of Osceola County and our neighbors.

The state of Florida has a way to help businesses bridge the gap to when the economy picks back up and the business climate recovers. The question is the width and depth of that gap.

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is currently available to small business owners located in all Florida counties statewide experiencing economic damage as a result of COVID-19.  This is the 27th time the disaster loan program has been in place since it was first activated following Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

These short-term, interest-free working capital loans — keep in mind these are loans paid back from longer term financial resources and not grants — are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a catastrophe hits and when it can secured longer-term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance (if it comes to that).

To qualify, the business must have been established prior to March 9 and showed it has suffered economic injury as a result of the disaster. Qualified applicants must employ two to 100 employees. The funds can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be met due to the effects of the disaster at hand.
The Florida Disaster Loan website has all the details and links for eligibility process, application forms and support documentation.  For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center network headquarters by mail at  or call 866-737-7232.
This is another tool available to our community’s small business partners, who we hope can stay in business, stay a partner, and keep making a positive difference in Osceola County!