NORTH PORT, Fla. - The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is launching the "small business emergency bridge loan program," where businesses impacted by Hurricane Ian can apply for a one-term, interest-free loan of up to $50,000.
This could be a lifeline for businesses trying to make ends meet after the storm, but some business owners said tackling on more debt is a tough pill to swallow.
"I’ve still got a loan from small business administration that I got during COVID, so if I have to get another loan, it’s good that it’s zero percent, SBA is 3.5, still good too, it’s just, I need a way to operate to be able to pay it back, otherwise I’ll be deeper in a hole if I get those money and that money, what am I going to do," said Christian Dina, the owner of La Rocca Italian Restaurant in North Port.
Dina said he already tried to get help from the federal government.
"I went to FEMA because that was the website to apply for, and I got denied in literally like, five minutes. As soon as I click, I got a response that they were not asking for any pictures or anything, nothing," said Dina.
Now, Dina hopes the return of snowbirds will help bring customers through his doors, so business can pick up again.
For more information on how to apply for the small business emergency bridge loan, click here.