State opens zero-interest loans for businesses  

A business in Chiefland damaged by Hurricane Idalia.
Barnhill Landscapes, Inc. in Chiefland damaged by Hurricane Idalia.
Photo by Glory Reitz

Gov. Ron DeSantis opened $20 million in funding for Florida businesses impacted by Hurricane Idalia through the state’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program.  

Operated by FloridaCommerce, the program offers short-term, zero-interest loans for businesses with economic or physical damage because of the storm.  

The program, announced on Friday, will apply to Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Franklin, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Madison, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union and Wakulla counties.  

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The loans can be up to $50,000 and are designed to keep businesses afloat until they can secure longer-term funding like federal loans or insurance claims. Business owners can apply at  

The application deadline is Oct. 25, 2023.  

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Will we have to wait very long before finding out how many of these loans will be forgiven instead of needing to be repaid? I can imagine the people who make early repayment will be disappointed.