Highlands County Economic Development is open and has resumed normal operating hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We are here to assist you with your business damage assessment and recovery. The County’s Building Department (863-402-6643) is also open to assist with permitting needs.
BUSINESS DAMAGE ASSESSMENT:
If your business sustained damage during Hurricane Irma, please complete the Business Damage Assessment Survey at http://www.flvbeoc.org/index.php?action=bda
This is the primary portal for private sector damage assessments and recovery. The information provided in this survey will be shared among various state and local agencies to expedite implementation of appropriate disaster relief programs for businesses.
SBA DISASTER LOANS:
If your Highlands County business was damaged, and you want to apply for an SBA Disaster Loan, visit this link to initiate the process. https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/Index
Low interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations. The loans can be used for loss and damages not fully covered by insurance.
BUSINESS PHYSICAL DISASTER LOAN - DEADLINE EXTENDED TO NOVEMBER 24, 2017
Businesses and most private non-profit organizations located in a declared disaster area that incurred damage during a disaster may apply for a low-interest loan to help replace or restore damaged property if federal assistance is activated. SBA makes physical disaster loans of up to $2 million to qualified businesses and most private non-profit organizations. Visit www.SBA.gov for full details.
ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN - DEADLINE TO APPLY: JUNE 11, 2018
If federal assistance is activated and you are in a declared disaster area, have suffered substantial economic injury regardless of physical damage, and you are a small business, small agricultural cooperative, or private nonprofit organizations, you may qualify for an EIDL. EIDLs provide working capital to help businesses survive until normal operations resume after a disaster. SBA can provide up to a maximum of $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses. A business may qualify for both an EIDL and a physical disaster loan, not to exceed the maximum of $2 million. Visit www.SBA.gov for full details.
FLORIDA DISASTER BUSINESS BRIDGE LOAN - DEADLINE TO APPLY: NOVEMBER 30, 2017
If your Highlands County business was damaged, and you need a short-term Florida Disaster Business Bridge Loan until an SBA Loan or insurance reimbursement arrives, visit http://www.floridadisasterloan.org.
The purpose of the Emergency Bridge Loan Program is to provide a source of expedient cash flow to Florida small businesses impacted by a disaster. These short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to "bridge the gap" between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance.
FLORIDA CITRUS EMERGENCY LOAN - DEADLINE TO APPLY: NOVEMBER 30, 2017
The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide interest-free loans to citrus growers that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm. Full details at www.floridadisasterloan.org.
If you need assistance with SBA or Bridge Loans, please call the SBDC at 863-784-7378 and the email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE - DEADLINE EXTENDED TO NOVEMBER 14, 2017
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has launched the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Program to provide assistance to businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Irma. Full details are available at www.FloridaJobs.org. If you need assistance with the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program, please contact our local CareerSource Heartland at 863-385-3672 extension 301.
$1 MILLION DOLLAR HURRICANE IRMA COMMUNITY BUSINESS RECOVERY PROGRAM:
Sun Coast Media Group, the parent company of the Highlands News-Sun, announced a million dollar disaster relief program for local businesses. For any business closed due to storm damage beyond Monday, 9/18/2017, Sun Coast Media Group is offering a “Get Back on Your Feet Program.” For every day the business is out beyond the first week due to storm damage, Sun Coast Media is offering $200 a day of free advertising in Sun Coast Media Group newspapers. The program will offer advertising in their newspapers up to a value of $5,000 per business with a grand total limit of $1,000,000. This is for any business whether they had previously advertised with a Sun Coast Media newspaper or not, but cannot be used to pay for prior advertising. To qualify: business must be a commercially zoned storefront, office or building that is open to the public and must be located in the county of this newspaper. For additional information on this program, please contact the Highlands News-Sun at 863-385-3076.
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS HOTLINE
The Highlands County Emergency Operations Hotline is still open to assist residents. The number is 863-385-1112. Additional updates are also available on the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners Facebook page and HCBCC.net.