Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Host Roundtable with Southwest Florida Businesses to Discuss Next Steps for Hurricane Ian Recovery – Governor Ron DeSantis

Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Host Roundtable with Southwest Florida Businesses to Discuss Next Steps for Hurricane Ian Recovery – Governor Ron DeSantis

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) hosted a roundtable with more than a dozen Southwest Florida businesses. The roundtable discussion included representatives across industry sectors who shared their unique perspectives, needs, and obstacles for regaining economic self-sufficiency. This discussion will inform the state’s immediate and long-term business and workforce recovery efforts in the region.
 
“Many small businesses in Southwest Florida are facing a long road to recovery, and to meet their needs, I have challenged every state agency to identify and remove obstacles standing in their way,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Fully recovering from Hurricane Ian requires a long-term commitment, and we will continue to provide resources and make strategic investments to help these communities get back on their feet as quickly as possible.”
 
“As a Lee County native, I know that small business owners are truly the backbone of the Southwest Florida community. Their insight is invaluable as we work to ensure a speedy economic recovery,” said DEO Secretary Dane Eagle. “Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, DEO will continue working hand-in-hand with the business community in Southwest Florida and beyond to expedite their recovery and enhance their economic resiliency.”
 
Participants from the Southwest Florida business community included:
 
Recovery Capital for Businesses
Last week, Governor DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, administered by DEO and its fiscal administrator, Florida First Capital Finance Corporation, for businesses impacted by Hurricane Ian. $50 million is available through the program, $10 million of which must go to small businesses that are agricultural producers. Eligible small businesses impacted by Hurricane Ian must be located in Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, or Volusia counties to qualify for the program. Small businesses in the most impacted counties — Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee, and Sarasota — will be escalated and prioritized as they are received.
 
Loans approved through the Emergency Bridge Loan Program are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a disaster impacts a business and when a business has secured longer term recovery funding such as federally or commercially available loans, insurance claims, or other resources. Eligible small businesses may apply for loans of up to $50,000 through the program. To date, more than $4.8 million has been awarded through the loan program to 106 businesses that were impacted by the storm.
 
Visit www.FloridaJobs.org/EBL to apply and learn more about the program. Business owners who need further program information may call 833-832-4494 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time.
 
Businesses that sustained either physical or economic damage are also encouraged to self-report damages through the Business Damage Assessment Survey at FloridaDisaster.biz to inform the needs of the business community. This survey allows the state to expedite Hurricane Ian recovery efforts by gathering data and assessing the needs of affected businesses. Results from the Business Damage Assessment Survey will be shared with various federal, state, and local agencies to implement appropriate relief. To date, the state has received more than 2,000 survey responses from businesses across Florida.
 
Business Recovery Centers and Disaster Recovery Centers
 
Florida activated Business Recovery Centers in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Small Business Development Center Network to connect businesses impacted by Hurricane Ian with critical resources. For a list of Business Recovery Centers and their hours, click here.
 
The state of Florida is fully engaged at five Disaster Recovery centers to help individuals and businesses in areas impacted by Hurricane Ian. Disaster Recovery Centers are a coordinated effort between FEMA, the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and state agencies and partners to provide wrap-around resources and information about recovery programs and disaster assistance to survivors.
 
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the CareerSource Florida Network, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Florida Legal Services, the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida are available to provide information and resources. The following DRC locations are open daily:
 
Lee County Site #1
Lakes Regional Library
15290 Bass Road
Fort Myers, FL 33919
Hours: Daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
 
Lee County Site #2
Fort Myers DMS Building
2295 Victoria Ave.
Ft. Myers, FL 33901
Hours: Daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
 
Sarasota County
Shannon Staub Library
4675 Career Lane
North Port, FL 34289
Hours: Daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
 
Collier County
Veterans Community Park
1895 Veterans Park Drive
Naples, FL 34109
Hours: Daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
 
Charlotte County
The Home Depot Parking Lot
12621 S McCall Road
Port Charlotte, FL 33981
 
Additional Resources for Impacted Employers
 
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