North Harbor, Florida – The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is launching the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, where businesses impacted by Hurricane Ian can apply for a one-time interest-free loan of up to $50,000.
It could be a lifeline for businesses trying to stay afloat after the storm, but some business owners say tackling more debt is too much to swallow.
“During COVID, I still got a loan from small business administration, so if I had to get another loan, zero percent is fine, the SBA is 3.5, still great, just, I need a way to operate to pay it back, otherwise if I get that money and that money, and I’m going to be in a deeper hole, what do I do,” said Christian Dina, owner of La Roca Italian Restaurant in Northport.
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Dina said he has tried to seek help from the federal government.
“I went to FEMA because that was the site to apply for, and I was rejected within five minutes. As soon as I clicked, I got a response, and they didn’t ask for any photos or anything, nothing,” Dina said. .
Now, Dina hopes Snowbird’s return will help him bring customers to his door so business can pick up again.
For more information on how to apply for a Small Business Emergency Bridging Loan, click here.