Florida First Capital was recently honored with a national award for its long standing work as fiscal administrator of the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program.
The company was presented with a Diamond Award for Non-504 CDC Projects by the National Association of Development Companies (NADCO), the trade association of Small Business Administration (SBA) Certified Development Companies (CDCs), during the group’s Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX, Oct. 17-20. The award is given to a CDC for the most impactful loan or project in a local community.
Pictured: Lynn McDaniel, SVP and Director of Loan Administration for Florida First Capital, receiving the award.
A CDCs main directive is economic development and job creation, which Florida First Capital works tirelessly to achieve primarily through the SBA 504 Loan Program. But in a state like Florida that’s prone to hurricanes and other disasters, economic recovery and job loss prevention for small businesses impacted by a tragedy are critical to the survival of local communities and the state’s economy.
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program provides small business owners that sustain physical damage and/or economic injury as a result of a disaster with short-term, interest-free working capital loans to help expedite the critical reestablishment of business during the interim period following a tragedy and before other aid and insurance claims are processed.
The program was created by the state of Florida and first activated in 1992 following Hurricane Andrew. Florida First Capital, which has fiscally administered the program on a pro bono basis since its inception, provides the loan closing and servicing functions. Florida First Capital works in close collaboration with the Florida SBDC Network, which provides invaluable local assistance with bridge loan applications and submissions as well as business continuation services through its statewide network of offices.
As a special note, Florida First Capital would also like to extend its hardiest congratulations to its own Lynn McDaniel, SVP and Director of Loan Administration, for her exceptional work as internal manager of the emergency bridge loan program for the majority of those years.
To date (not counting the currently active program for Hurricane Irma), the Florida Emergency Bridge Loan Program has been activated 20 times since inception and has helped more than 2,670 small businesses statewide to receive more than $63 million in assistance.
Here’s the award submission:
Viola’s Pizza, Pasta & Seafood is a family-owned restaurant in St. Augustine, Florida, that recently sustained devastating damage caused by flooding and total loss of their food inventory due to Hurricane Irma that hit Florida in September of 2017.
Immediately following the disaster, Gov. Rick Scott activated the state of Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. The program provides small business owners that sustain physical damage and/or economic injury as a result of a designated disaster with short-term, interest-free working capital loans intended to help “bridge the gap” between the time of the disaster and when the business has secured long-term recovery resources.
Having the need for immediate capital to resume business operations and avoid further economic injury, the Viola’s applied for and received a $25,000 bridge loan to help with repairs as well as to retain their employees.
Under the program, owners of small businesses with two (2) to 100 employees located in disaster designated areas in Florida may apply for up to $50,000 in assistance (recently increased from $25,000 post Irma). Loans are granted in terms of 90 or 180 days and are interest-free for that time period.
Unfortunately, the Viola’s are no strangers to storm damage or the emergency bridge loan program. In October 2016, the restaurant lost nearly everything due to destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew. They utilized the program back then to successfully make repairs, purchase new equipment and pay bills and the salaries of their employees.
When Hurricane Irma hit, they knew exactly where to go to get the immediate financial help needed to get back on their feet. The Viola’s are just one example of many Florida small businesses that have turned in their time of need to the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program over its 25-year existence. In fact, the program has helped more than 2,730 small businesses statewide to receive more than $63 million in assistance since it began in 1992 following Hurricane Andrew.
The program is fiscally administered pro bono by Florida First Capital Finance Corporation, a non-profit SBA 504 Certified Development Company, in collaboration with the Florida SBDC Network. Florida First Capital, which has administered the program on behalf of the state since its inception, provides the loan underwriting and servicing. The Florida SBDC Network provides invaluable local assistance with bridge loan applications and submissions as well as business continuation services through its statewide network of offices.
“We’ve been, and continue to be, very proud to donate our services to administer the distribution of emergency bridge loans in Florida over these many years ,” said Todd Kocourek, President & CEO of Florida First Capital Finance Corporation. “We know it’s imperative that disaster-impacted small businesses have quick access to working capital to restart their operations – without it, some may never open their doors again.”
For more information about the Florida Emergency Bridge Loan Program, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org.