Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program activated by the governor

$50 million available to help with recovery from Hurricane Ian, with businesses in hardest-hit areas, such as Sarasota County, getting higher priority

On Tuesday, Oct. 4, Gov. Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, making $50 million available for those suffering problems inflicted by Hurricane Ian, the Economic Development Corp. of Sarasota County has informed its members.

At least $10 million out of those funds “must go to small businesses that are agricultural producers,” the EDC pointed out in an email blast.

Small businesses in the most communities that saw the worst consequences of the storm, including Sarasota County, will be given a higher priority as their applications are received, the email added.

Loans up to $50,000 are available for eligible applicants, the email noted. However, the loans made under this program are short-term, personal loans using State of Florida funds; the email explained; “they are not grants and must be repaid.”

The deadline to complete an application is Friday, Dec. 2, the email said. Visit to learn more or call 833-832-4494.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) administers the Emergency Bridge Loan Program alongside its fiscal administrator, Florida First Capital Finance Corp., the release added.

“As always, our team can be reached at, or by calling 941-309-1200,” the email said.

In related information, the EDC also pointed out that all Sarasota County permits related to Hurricane Ian recovery will be expedited through the Planning and Development Services Department.

In situations that do not necessitate a technical review, the email continued, “an express permit will be provided.” For those permits with statutory requirements for engineering drawings and plans review, such as pool repair, “permits will be expedited to the best of Sarasota County’s ability and resources,” the email noted.

The permit centers are located at 1001 Sarasota Center Blvd. in Sarasota and at the R.L. Anderson Administration Center at 4000 S. Tamiami Trail in Venice.