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Florida SBDC at UCF Supports Central Florida Businesses Impacted By Hurricane Irma

FSBDC Collaborates to Close 77 Loans Totaling More Than $2.5 Million as Part of Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida

December 6, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu

Orlando, FL – The Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) today announced it had participated in the origination and processing of 77 state disaster loans totaling more than $2.5 million for businesses in Central Florida that experienced damages from Hurricane Irma as part of the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program. The program provided a source of expedient cash flow to small businesses physically and/or economically impacted by the storm. The program closed on November 30, 2017.

Administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, in collaboration with the Florida SBDC Network – the state’s designated principal provider of small business assistance — 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, September 18.

The range of businesses receiving State of Florida-backed bridge loans with FSBDC at UCF assistance was broad, including companies in the hospitality, farming, manufacturing and services industries, among others. Positive comments from loan recipients were many and enthusiastic. Please see below.

“There is little that is more rewarding than assisting others after a disaster,” said Tom O’Neal, UCF Associate Vice President of Research and Commercialization with responsibility for oversight of the FSBDC at UCF’s affiliation with the University. “The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program gave the Florida SBDC at UCF a tremendous opportunity to help their core constituency – the small businesses of Central Florida – in a time of need. We at the University of Central Florida are pleased that our hosting of the FSBDC and its important economic development and community support mission enables so positive an outcome for our region.”

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FSBDC at UCF Client Testimonials:

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

The Bridge Loan is allowing us to continue to pay our employees and not lay anyone off. It will also help our cash flow that was so harmed by our loss of business and revenues, as we had to rely on credit cards to cover more than $100,000 in bills since we were closed by the storm. The loan will help us repair our docks, utility boxes and the waste treatment facility, as well as remove the trees and debris on the property. The FSBDC was wonderful. And so helpful. They acted really quickly; we had our loan within a week. And that was such a relief. Now we have some light at the end of the tunnel. — Judy Armstrong, Owner, Holly Bluff Marina, Deland, FL

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. — Omar Carmona, Managing Partner, Carmona Law, Winter Park FL

The Bridge loan was very helpful to cover our losses over the two week time period. And the FSBDC was very helpful. It was a fast process from application to loan closing, less than two weeks. Thanks to FSBDC for all its help.  – Roy Scafidi, Owner, Island Waveski Inc dba Oceansports World, Cocoa Beach FL

The loan is going to replace the revenue we lost. Working with the FSBDC was awesome. They helped me when I started my business 20 years ago. And here they are again. I didn’t realize all of the services they offer now. It has been tremendous working with them. This is going to help so much. — Angela Roth, Owner, American Sign Language Services, Kissimmee FL

With this loan we can pay our employees; pay our vendors; and start working again. Working with the FSBDC was great. They had everything outlined. They had simple explanations for everything. The paperwork we had to get together was minimal. It went really well and really fast. — Betty Berkland, Owner, Di-Versified, LLC, Apopka FL

The bridge loan is going to be amazing. I have the payroll, the rent, power bill all coming due. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I prayed with my wife for help from somewhere. And the FSBDC called and said the loan was approved. It was crazy. Amazing. So now I believe in miracles. — Daniel Carvalho, Owner, Brooklyn Coffee Shop, Orlando FL

This is going to mean that we won’t have to lay off any of our more than 50 employees. Cash flow has been hit hard and the same for working capital. This gets us past that and back into doing business. Working with the FSBDC was great. They were amazing. The process was extremely fast; not more than a week and a half. And really simple. For a government outfit, it was amazing. — Wally and Karen Owens, Owners, Three Volcanoes Farm, Tavares FL

The Bridge Loan was absolutely handy. Structures are very expensive. Insurance doesn’t cover it. After deductibles, it wasn’t worth making the claim. This loan will help us rebuild our playgrounds. The kids are going to be very, very happy. The FSBDC were absolutely amazing. I came in on a Thursday afternoon and two business days later I had the money from the loan. It was absolutely great service. From the beginning to the end, a great experience. — Marnie Forestieri, CEO, Little Explorer Academy, Oviedo FL

With the expenses we have had, the lost revenues and the lost raw materials and inventory, the loan is so important to helping us get past those costs, replenish our stocks and get our cash flow going again. The FSBDC has been so helpful. Incredibly helpful. When we decided to apply, we got a call almost immediately. And they were incredibly responsive to all our questions. Then today we got a call to come pick up a check. And we said, “What? Already? This is crazy.” And it was incredible timing because we had big bills that needed to be paid and there was the money. The FSBDC was so awesome. — Caroline Yachan, President, TSecret, College Park FL

This loan is really a godsend from the State of Florida to help us continue our operations and salvage what we can until the insurance helps us recover with the rebuilding and replanting. This is exactly what we need after a disaster. We need help right away and the FSBDC was on top of it and able to provide me the assistance I needed.  — Milan Perily, Owner, Peckett’s, Inc., Apopka FL

— FSBDC —

About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network (FSBDC Network). The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the FSBDC Network

The FSBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide partnership program nationally accredited by the Association of America’s SBDCs and funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the network’s lead host institution. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the she SBA or other funding partners.

For over 35 years, the FSBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The FSBDC Network is a statewide service system of 41 centers with 60 outreach locations, including the FSBDC at UCF.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs served almost 75,000 entrepreneurs and small business owners through consulting and training, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $1.4 billion in capital accessed; $2.6 billion in government contract awards; and 4,159 new businesses started.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
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