DEO Press Releases

Gov. Scott Activates Emergency Bridge Loan Program for Small Businesses Affected by Lake Okeechobee Releases

Mar 17, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott activated Florida’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program for more than 100 businesses affected by the federal government’s water releases from Lake Okeechobee. Earlier this month, Governor Scott directed the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to activate a business emergency operations center to survey businesses damaged by the water releases in Lee, Martin and St. Lucie Counties. After receiving survey results, DEO has opened the application period for loans to eligible small businesses from March 16 to April 30.

Governor Scott said, “I’m committed to ensuring all those affected by the federal government’s releases from Lake Okeechobee can quickly recover so families and businesses can move forward. Small businesses have an incredible impact on our communities, and it is important that we provide the necessary tools for them to continue growing and doing business.”

DEO Executive Director Cissy Proctor said, “DEO has worked quickly to determine the negative effects of the federal government’s water releases from Lake Okeechobee on local businesses. Small businesses are the backbone of Florida’s thriving economy, and it is critical that the businesses supporting South Florida communities have the tools they need to recover quickly. By activating the emergency bridge loan program, DEO is helping local businesses get back on their feet.”

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program provides short-term loans to assist a business until other financial resources are secured after a natural disaster. To see if a business is eligible or to complete an application by April 30, visit For additional questions regarding local administration of the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 239-745-3704 (Lee County) or 772-462-7069 (Martin and St. Lucie Counties).


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