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Small businesses in the Tampa Bay region are among initial loan recipients for Ian recovery

A dark-haired man in a blue suit stands behind a podium with the official seal of the governor of Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis
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Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaking at a press conference in Port Charlotte Monday, detailed initial awards of small business loans for Hurricane Ian recovery.

The state of Florida has awarded the first $2.5 million to help small business owners get back up and running after the devastation of Hurricane Ian — including in Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says an initial pool of money is being made available for owners of small businesses whose companies suffered physical damage, or lost money, because of Hurricane Ian.

"I activated...the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, we made an initial tronc of $50 million available," DeSantis said at a news conference in Port Charlotte Monday. "We set aside $10 (million) of that for agriculture — enterprises, small and family-owned agriculture, not mega-corps...who were impacted by Hurricane Ian."

RELATED: How Florida businesses and homeowners can get assistance

Of the original 55 recipients of the one-year, zero interest loans, DeSantis said 34 small businesses are in Charlotte, DeSoto, Collier, Sarasota, Hardee, and Lee counties. The businesses range from restaurants to car repair shops.

In total, the state awarded $2.5 million in the first round of loans.

Those who apply are eligible for personal loans up to $50,000, as long as they own at least 51 percent of their business and have repaid previous emergency bridge loans.

Business owners can apply for the emergency bridge loans, which must be repaid to the state of Florida, here.

According to a press release from the governor's office, the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is intended to bridge the gap between the time a disaster impacts a business and when a business can secure long-term recovery funding.

Businesses affected by Hurricane Ian in counties including Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota are eligible to apply.

Small businesses in the most impacted counties — Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee, and Sarasota — will be escalated and prioritized as they are received.

I love telling stories about my home state. And I hope they will help you in some way and maybe even lift your spirits.
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