Small businesses seeking guidance on the available COVID-19 emergency aid and relief can browse this extensive and in-depth answers to FAQs regarding the Business Damage Assessment Survey and Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program.

Orlando Economic Partnership and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Business Damage Assessment Survey

What is the Florida Business Damage Assessment survey?

The Florida Business Damage Assessment survey assists state officials in determining the extent of impact and need for federal and state disaster assistance. Providing information does NOT serve as an application for resources, including the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan.

What happens after the survey is submitted?

After filling out the survey, federal, state or local agencies may reach out to the affected business through the contact information provided if interest in a specific relief program is indicated.

Where can businesses find the survey?

The Florida Business Damage Assessment survey can be found here:

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

What is the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program?

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan is a short-term, interest-free loan up to $50,000 available to small business owners who have between 2 to 100 employees, have been in operation for at least one full year and have experienced physical or economic damage.

The program was first activated following Hurricane Andrew in 1992. It has been activated 26 additional times following disasters and has helped more than 4,750 small businesses statewide to receive more than $157.5 million in assistance.

Emergency Bridge Loans are considered one of the most competitive emergency relief packages for small businesses.  Loans are supported by State of Florida taxpayers and designed to bring quick capital to small businesses in order to bridge the gap between the time a disaster hits and when a business has secured long-term recovery assistance, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance.

They are not designed to be the primary source of financial assistance to small businesses affected by COVID-19, which is why eligibility is linked pursuant to other financial sources.  Note: Loans made under this program are short-term debt loans made by the state of Florida using public funds – they are not grants. Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans require repayment by the approved applicant from longer term financial resources.

What businesses are eligible for a Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan?

Applications will be accepted by qualified for-profit, privately held small businesses that maintain a place of business in the state of Florida. All qualified applicants must have been established prior to March 9, 2020 and suffered economic injury as a result of the designated disaster. Qualified small business applicants must be an employer business with 2 to 100 employees.

How much funding can businesses receive?

Businesses can borrow up to $50,000 through this program and, in some circumstance, up to $100,000. The applicant of the business is the individual business owner(s). Only one loan is made to eligible businesses and recipients are required to sign an agreement that proceeds of the loan will only for maintaining operations and restarting the business. It’s relatively flexible as it relates to the use of the proceeds. The term of the loan is one year, and it is interest free with no collateral necessary.

When is the deadline to apply?

The application deadline is 60 days from the Governor’s executive order, May 8. But if the executive order is extended, the program deadline gets extended as well.

What are the terms?

The term of the loan is one-year. During the closing process, recipients must certify how they will repay the loans. If a business receives an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan, proceeds from it will repay the Florida Bridge Loan program. The loan must be paid in full before the maturity date. However, there is no requirement to make payments during the year.

Loans will be interest-free for the loan term (1 year). The Interest rate will be 12 percent per annum on the unpaid balance thereafter, until the loan balance is repaid in full.  Loan default is subject to a normal commercial collection process. The SBDC will reach out to businesses as the loan comes closer to term to ensure they have a repayment solution.

How can a business get started applying for an Emergency Bridge Loan?

  1. Review the eligibility requirements and loan process.
  2. Gather the required support documentation.
  3. Options for submitting an application include:
     Apply online or
    – Download an application, complete it in full and submit it with the required support documentation by mail or courier to: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, C/O Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan, 107 E. Madison Street, MSC-160, Tallahassee FL 32399-4120.
  4. For assistance with completing the application, contact the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity toll-free at (833) 832-4494 or by email at

A complete list of Business Assistance Program FAQs can be found on the Orlando Economic Partnership’s COVID-19 Business Resource Center.