Hello SWFL has been hearing all about how red tide and blue-green algae are affecting businesses. For instance, many are wondering how long will red tide stick around SWFL? The same applies to blue-green algae.
Over the past couple of months, SWFL businesses have been decimated due to their strong reliance on tourists and the water. Lee County moving forward with plans to clean up the blue-green algae has not been successful and businesses are right to feel worried.
Last week, the state of Florida rolled out a bridge loan program. A bridge loan program is a short term loan that the borrow takes out against his or her current property. This is usually taken out to finance the acquisition of a new property.
Small businesses can apply for loans up to $50,000. Bridge loans usually have a duration of six months to 12 months.
For some, it might help businesses get back on their feet. But always read the fine print.
To qualify for a bridge loan, the business has to document physical or economic damage because of the blue-green algae or red tide.
If a business was hurt because of blue-green algae blooms, it had to be established before July 9, 2018 to qualify. On the other hand, if the business was hurt because of red tide, it had to be established before August 13, 2018.
An owner can only apply for one loan per business.
A second important point to understand when business seeks assistance is that the bridge loans are not an interest-free loan program.
If you look into loan details, you’ll see it has an accrued interest rate of 18 percent, which is the highest percentage that can be charged in Florida by law.
Therefore, for every dollar borrowed, the business owner has to pay back $1.18. So on a $50,000 loan, the full amount to repay is $59,000.
For business owners still interested in a capital infusion, it is important to identify the specific dates that the loans close for blue-green algae and red tide.
Business owners have to turn in an application for blue-green algae damage before September 7. Applications for red tide damage are due before October 12. That is, if the state money lasts until those dates.
Additional reporting by Jalyn Henderson