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Office of Vice President and
Chief of Staff
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

Phone: (239) 590-1006
Fax:     (239) 590-1066

Press Release


FGCU's Small Business Development Center Leads State's Bridge Loan Program

FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Small Business Development Centers (FSBDC) will take the lead on the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program activated by Governor Charlie Crist to help small business owners affected by Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Disaster.

The FSBDC network will provide technical assistance, and serve as the local administrative entity for the interest free loan up to $25,000 designated to provide working capital until a BP Claim is paid, an insurance payment is received, or an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) is obtained. Charlotte County is the only county in Southwest Florida that is eligible to participate in the Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program, however all counties in Florida can apply for the Emergency Bridge Loan Program.

Businesses will qualify for Bridge Loans if they have a business interruption insurance policy, evidence of a receipt of claim payment from BP, are approved by BP for payment, or have filed a BP Claim and applied for EIDL. Small businesses that do not meet the single item qualifications are urged to go to and apply for both of the loans. Applications can be filled electronically from the website.

"We are here to help our small business owners in Southwest Florida get though this unfortunate situation," said Suzanne Specht, assistant director for FGCU's Small Business Development Center. "Our counselors are qualified to handle the request and will help small business owners with their questions or concerns as well as help them file their applications."

Businesses do not need to have physical damage to apply for a BP claim, EIDL, or Emergency Bridge Loan. Documentation of economic damage will be required. This is generally a loss of income due to sales drop or cancellations related to the oil spill.

Economic damage might include resort cancellations, boat rental sales drops, drop in orders for seafood, real estate brokers with buyers backing out of waterfront property sale, and similar occurrences.

For more information contact Specht at (239)745-3704 or

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