Located in Winter Park, FL, Carmona Law is a full-service law firm with a second office in Kissimmee, and with affiliate offices in Tampa, Columbia and Puerto Rico. With six attorneys, the firm specializes in family law, immigration, business law, bankruptcy and issues that have to do with Puerto Rico law.
In September 2017, Carmona Law sustained economic damage due to Hurricane Irma. Omar Carmona, Partner of the law firm, turned to the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for help securing a Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan. When asked about the experience with the hurricane and the assistance received, he recalled:
What type of damage occurred?
Everything is done online in our offices. With the power out, we lost all our security cameras and all internet connections, which prevented us accessing services in the cloud. Our server is in California and with no internet we could not log in. Our employees needed to work from home and were not able to be as productive. And we could not see clients. Our revenues and ability to earn them were adversely effected.
And our building, its elevator and our offices all experienced water damage.
How helpful was the Emergency Bridge Loan?
The loan is going to mean that we have adequate working capital to finish the year with no problems. It gives us peace of mind that we will be fully operational and represent our clients effectively.
How helpful was the Florida SBDC at UCF?
It was a huge relief knowing that there was a place like the FSBDC where we could go to for help after the hurricane. The flow between my office and the FSBDC was really smooth and decision making was really quick so we’re really happy with the whole, entire process.
About the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program
Administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, in collaboration with the Florida SBDC Network, and supported by Florida First Capital Finance Corporation (FFCFC), the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan is a short-term, interest-free working capital loan intended to help small businesses “bridge the gap” between the time of a declared disaster and when the business has secured long-term recovery resources, such as insurance proceeds or federal disaster assistance. Governor Rick Scott activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program on Thursday, September 14 and the first loan was distributed the following Monday. Eligible businesses with two to 100 employees may apply for loans up to $50,000 for 90 or 180-day terms.
As a principal responder in the state’s Emergency Support Function for Business, Industry, and Economic Stabilization, the Florida SBDC Network supports disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation through its Business Continuation Services. As part of its service offering, Florida SBDC professionally certified consultants and disaster specialists are available to provide confidential, no-cost consulting to help affected businesses prepare disaster loan applications and with other post-disaster challenges.