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7 Funding & Business Resources for SMBs Affected by Hurricane Idalia

In the wake of Hurricane Idalia, the devastation faced by entrepreneurs is deeply felt. As business owners ourselves, the very thought of watching years of hard work being swept away overnight is heart-wrenching.

Understanding the importance of rebuilding and getting back on your feet as soon as possible, we’ve compiled a few useful resources. This isn’t just about financial relief – although that’s crucial – but also about the information that can potentially guide you during these challenging times. Read on to discover both funding avenues and invaluable guidance tailored specifically for small businesses like yours, dealing with the aftermath of such disasters.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is stepping in to support affected companies with specialized loan programs. These initiatives are designed to help businesses in both physical repair and economic recovery. Here are the important details of these SBA offerings to see how they can assist in rebuilding and revitalizing your business.

SBA Business Physical Damage Loan

This loan helps businesses repair or replace properties damaged by the disaster. It covers real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery, and equipment. All businesses, regardless of size, as well as certain non-profit organizations, can apply.

Funding Amount: The loan amount varies based on the damage, though it’s designed to cover repairs or replacements for disaster-damaged properties.


  • Business or property should be located in the affected Florida counties.
  • Applicants should have an acceptable credit history and the ability to repay the loan.
  • Loan eligibility is reduced by any insurance proceeds applied to outstanding mortgages.
  • Certain properties, like secondary homes and personal pleasure boats, are ineligible unless used for business.
  • Previous noncompliance with SBA loan terms can result in ineligibility.


Deadline to Apply: October 30, 2023

To apply or for more information on the SBA Business Physical Damage Loan, click here.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

This fund was designed for businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private nonprofit organizations in declared disaster areas that have experienced significant economic injury.

Funding Amount: The loan amount is tailored to your economic injury and financial needs.


  • Located in specific Florida counties.
  • Acceptable credit history and capacity to repay the loan.
  • Only uninsured or uncompensated disaster losses are eligible.
  • Similar property and compliance restrictions as the Business Physical Damage Loan.


Deadline to Apply: May 31, 2024
Apply for learn more about  SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan here.

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan 

This loan offers short-term, zero-interest working capital loans meant to “bridge the gap” post-disaster until longer-term recovery funds become available.

Funding Amount: Loans available up to $50,000 per eligible applicant. Special provisions are in place for agricultural small businesses.


  • Business should be located and established in Florida before August 29, 2023, and in an eligible county.
  • Economically injured or physically damaged by Hurricane Idalia.
  • Business size between 2-100 employees.
  • Credit Score of 580 or above.
  • Must have repaid all previous Emergency Bridge Loans.
  • Certain businesses, like short-term rentals and those involved in illegal activities, are ineligible.


Deadline to Apply: October 25, 2023

Apply or learn more about the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan here.

Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund 

This fund was established to diversify and strengthen the economy of Florida. Recognizing a significant gap in available, affordable capital for businesses, the fund aims to offer long-term loans with ample funding at market interest rates.

How much you can get in funding:

The minimum loan amount is $25,000. The exact maximum limit isn’t specified, but the fund totals $50 million, with $40 million available for businesses statewide and an additional $10 million reserved for those in Hurricane Idalia-impacted counties.


  • Owners holding 20% or more of the borrowing entity must guarantee the loan and provide all necessary documentation.
  • An Experian credit score of 650 or above (scores below 650 may be considered under certain circumstances, but additional collateral might be required).
  • No instances of bankruptcy in the past five years.
  • Required submission of contracts, bids, or estimates for purchases related to real estate, furniture, fixtures, and equipment.
  • The loan cannot be used for refinancing existing debt unless there’s a strong economic justification.
  • Real Estate investment firms, particularly when property is held for investment or for improvement and resale, are not eligible.


Allowable Use of Funds:
The fund is primarily designed for enhancing economic resilience and development. However, it’s important to note that these funds can’t be used to repay existing debt, maintain operational costs, or pay employees in disaster aftermath scenarios.

To learn more or to apply, click here

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

This program is a federally funded initiative created to aid Florida residents and businesses affected by major disasters, like Hurricane Idalia. It caters to those who’ve lost jobs or experienced interruptions in their self-employment as a direct consequence of such storms. Specifically, this means both individual workers and business owners whose primary source of income has been disrupted can take advantage of this support.


  • Must have been working, self-employed, or on the verge of commencing work or self-employment.
  • Inability to work must be due to physical damage or destruction of the workplace directly caused by the disaster.
  • Must verify that the affected work or self-employment was main income source.
  • Must not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits from any state.
  • Shouldn’t be able to execute work or self-employment due to injuries directly caused by the disaster.
  • Should either have become the chief earner of a household due to the death of the original breadwinner caused by the disaster or have been the primary breadwinner before the disaster.


Deadline to apply:
For people in Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Pasco, Suwannee, and Taylor, counties the deadline is October 3, 2023.

For those in Pinellas county, the deadline is October 5, 2023. Any applications submitted after these dates might be deemed late unless there’s a valid reason provided.

Those interested can apply or learn more about the Hurricane Idalia DUA here.

Note: DUA is available for weeks of unemployment starting from 09/03/2023 and will continue until 03/02/2024, provided the individual’s unemployment remains a direct result of Hurricane Idalia. People already receiving state Reemployment Assistance won’t qualify for DUA.

Trusted choice relief fund

The Trusted Choice Relief Fund provides financial aid to insurance industry personnel affected by catastrophes that aren’t covered by their insurance or other financial sources.


  • Owners or employees of independent insurance agencies and brokerages who experienced loss or economic disruption due to a qualifying event.
  • Insurance agencies and brokerages in distress because of a qualifying event.
  • Insurance agencies needing urgent funds for business continuity and customer service.
  • Trade associations or non-profit organizations helping other businesses in the insurance sector affected by a qualifying event.
  • Surviving family members of deceased victims impacted by a qualifying event.
  • Recognized tax-exempt organizations providing aid to victims and their families.
  • Direct grants are available only to U.S. citizens or those legally admitted for residence in the U.S.
  • Applicants must complete the Fund application form and provide all necessary supporting documents.


Use of Funds:
The funds can be used for a variety of purposes including lost wages, payroll expenses, medical expenses, lost essential personal property, living expenses, housing expenses, transportation costs, funeral expenses, humanitarian aid, office and operational expenses, and more. There are some restrictions on what the funds cannot be used for, like reimbursing clients who sustained an economic loss, covering lost business opportunities, or paying for the value of non-essential items lost in a disaster.

To apply or to learn more, click here.

Alternative finance

With damaged infrastructure, interrupted operations, and unexpected expenses, maintaining a healthy cash flow can seem nearly impossible after a natural disaster. That’s where alternative finance comes into play, offering a lifeline in these difficult times. Traditional banking might feel like a slow-moving, overloaded process, but alternative finance, with its flexibility and quicker response, can be a much more efficient alternative. One of the standout solutions in this sector is invoice factoring. 

For businesses reeling post-hurricane, it offers a way to transform outstanding invoices into immediate funds, ensuring that while you rebuild and repair, cash flow remains one less thing to worry about. If you have outstanding invoices with long net terms, consider looking into how invoice factoring works—it might be the solution you’re looking for.

Master Your Cash Flow

For companies struggling with cash flow issues during challenging times, get these expert insights and tips.

Informational Resources for Small Business Disaster Relief

Florida SBDC

While Florida SBDC may not directly provide financial resources, they’re an invaluable bridge to them. Specializing in guiding SMBs, the organization offers Business Recovery Centers that provide consulting services, specifically for post-disaster challenges. Whether you need assistance with loan applications or general guidance on the path to recovery, their team of disaster specialists are ready to help, all at no cost. If there isn’t a Business Recovery Center close by, don’t worry. The regional Florida SBDC office can step in.

Check out their dedicated page for more: Florida SBDC – Hurricane Idalia Assistance.

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity: Rapid Response

Rapid Response was created specifically for companies and their teams, offering early intervention to prevent layoffs and provide immediate, tailored support for those already facing job losses. Through the CareerSource Florida network, local teams offer both employer and employee services, from specialized training programs to career counselling, ensuring businesses remain resilient and workers find their footing quickly. For businesses interested in the benefits of Rapid Response, including quicker re-employment, up-skilling opportunities, and enhanced community image, they can simply reach out to their local CareerSource Florida Career Center.

To learn more, click here.

Florida Disaster Hub (for Small Business)

Born from a partnership between the Florida Department of Commerce (FloridaCommerce) and the Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM), this hub champions the belief that businesses are integral to community resilience and the broader emergency management process.

At, the private sector finds several useful resources. They guide businesses from pre-disaster preparedness, with comprehensive emergency response planning guidelines and strategies, right through to post-disaster recovery. Essential tools, such as the Disaster Planning Toolkit and Re-entry Procedures, support businesses facing serious challenges.

To discover more resources, click here.

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