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Rick Scott Hurricane Matthew

Rick Scott activates Emergency Bridge Loan program

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Gov. Rick Scott on Monday activated Florida’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program for small businesses hurt by Hurricane Matthew.

“While Floridians across the state did all they could to prepare for Hurricane Matthew, this was a massive and devastating storm that caused heavy damage throughout our state,” Scott said in a statement.

“I have toured areas throughout Brevard, Volusia, Duval, and Flagler Counties and have seen the shattering effects this disaster had on families and small businesses,” he said. “Restoring Florida’s small businesses is crucial to helping our communities recover from Hurricane Matthew and the Bridge Loan Program will help provide much-needed assistance.”

The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm and recovery efforts, according to a news release. The application period is through Nov. 11.

From the release: “Owners of small businesses with two to 100 employees located in 67 counties affected by Hurricane Matthew can apply for short-term loans for up to $25,000. Loans are granted in terms of 90 or 180 days and are interest-free for that time period. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to this Oct. 3, and demonstrate economic or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Matthew.”

DEO is currently surveying businesses in the affected counties. To access the business survey, click here and select “Hurricane Matthew” from the drop-down menu. For questions on the Bridge Loan program, call the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 850-898-3489.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at

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