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Tavares, Florida 32778


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For immediate release - Oct. 6, 2004

Group approves loans for damaged businesses in Lake
Time remains for business owners to apply for emergency ‘Bridge Loans’

TAVARES — A committee, chaired by Richard Mcadams of Gov. Jeb Bush’s office, approved Wednesday, Oct. 6, Small Business Emergency “Bridge Loans” totaling $59,000 for four Lake County businesses.

Officials from the office of Gov. Bush met last month in Lake County to arrange the activation of Florida's Small Business Emergency “Bridge Loan” Program to provide emergency, short-term loans to businesses located in the County that were most severely impacted by Hurricane Frances.

"Banks are still accepting “Bridge Loan” applications until at least Oct. 15," said Greg Mihalic, Director of the Lake County Department of Economic Development and Tourism. "We are also requesting that the Governor’s office allow damage from Hurricane Jeanne to be included in the loan program.”

The state's emergency bridge loan program is designed to provide a source of expedient cash flow to businesses impacted by a major catastrophe, enabling them to quickly begin repairs and replace inventory. The short-term loans are intended to "bridge the gap" between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured other resources such as, sufficient profits from revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims and secured longer-term loans to include U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loans.

The short-term “Bridge Loans” of up to $25,000 are available to owners of small businesses (less than 100 employees) in counties most impacted by Hurricane Frances. The interest-free loans come in terms of 90-day or 180-day maturities. To be eligible, a business owner must have been operational for one full year before Hurricane Frances (Sept. 7) and have verifiable, physical damage to their business.

Lake-Sumter Community College Business Assistance Center is administering the loan program in Lake County, in direct cooperation with the State of Florida, Enterprise Florida Inc. and local participating banks. Intended to be an agile process, the time from application through closing of a loan can be as little as 72 hours.

Participating banks in Lake County are:

  • Center State Bank, Rodney Drawdy, (352) 242-1815
  • United Southern Bank, Rob Adrid, (352) 483-5897
  • Public Bank, Bob Speaks, (352) 315-1074
  • Harbor Federal, Jeanie Rowin, (352) 516-4629
  • First National Bank, Heywood Gordon, (352) 383-2111
  • BankFirst, Marcia Smith Bell, (407) 429-4552
  • Citizens First Bank, Frank Stivender, (352) 259-3266
  • SunTrust Bank, George Madden, (352) 326-4531

For more information, call Ken Bragg at the Lake-Sumter Community College Business Assistance Center at (352) 365-3579. Applications are available at the Lake County Welcome Center, 20763 U.S. Highway 27, Groveland, or at the Lake-Sumter Community College Business Assistance Center, 9501 U.S. Highway 441, Leesburg.

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Contact information:
Christopher Patton
Communications Coordinator
Office: (352) 343-9609; Cell: (352) 455-0445
cpatton@co.lake.fl.us

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