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 News Release
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For immediate release - Oct. 19, 2004

Loan program extended for damaged businesses
Lake County business owners have until Nov. 30 to apply for emergency ‘Bridge Loans’

TAVARES — Lake County businesses that were damaged by the hurricanes have until Nov. 30 to apply for a State of Florida Small Business Emergency “Bridge Loan.” The program was recently extended to account for damage suffered by local businesses during Hurricane Jeanne, according to Ken Bragg at the Lake-Sumter Community College Business Assistance Center.

Small Business Emergency “Bridge Loans” totaling $59,000 for four Lake County businesses were approved Oct. 6. 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 eight banks, 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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