ARCADIA – Funding support is available through both federal and state programs for DeSoto County businesses, as well as homeowners.

The Florida Small Business Development Center Network, along with the U.S. Small Business Administration, have set up shop on the corner of Hickory Street and Polk Avenue this week to help provide information and help fill out applications for locals seeking financial assistance after Hurricane Ian.

“We are all motivated to make it happen,” Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Director Carl Hadden said Tuesday. “We all want to do what we can to reach as many businesses as we can.”

Hadden and his team arrived in DeSoto earlier this week, opening up shop — via their mobile assistance center (MAC) bus — Tuesday along with the SBA, at the corner of Hickory Street and Polk Avenue, in the parking lot next to The Yellow Deli, 22 N Polk Ave, Arcadia, FL 34266

The center is open Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Between the two agencies, three plans are available for businesses.


Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan (EBL) Program.

The program provides short-term, zero-interest loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury or physical damage due to Hurricane Ian.

Loans approved through program are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a disaster impacts a business, and when a business has secured longer term recovery funding, such as federally or commercially available loans, insurance claims, or other resources. 

Eligible small businesses with two to 100 employees may apply for loans of up to $50,000 through the program.

Other stipulations for applicants:

  • A business must be located in Florida.
  • A business must have been established prior to September 24, 2022.
  • A business must have been located in an eligible county.
  • A business must have been economically or physically damaged by Hurricane Ian.
  • A business must have a credit score of 600 or above and have repaid all outstanding EBLs.

Visit to learn more about the program, as well as to view the lending guidelines and required documentation.

DEADLINE: December 2, 2022


U.S. SBA Business Physical Disaster Loan

Loan amount max: $2 million

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. 

DEADLINE: November 28, 2022. 

U.S. SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

Loan amount max: $2 million

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers EIDLs for funds up to $2 million to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

DEADLINE: June 29, 2023.

“Some businesses can apply for any combination of these depending on their scenarios,” Hadden said. “If you had an auto repair shop (for example) and a tree fell through the building, you need the physical disaster loan.

“But now that you’re closed, you lost revenue until the repairs are done and maybe it takes eight weeks to get the repairs done when now you need (and can apply for) the economic injury disaster loan So that one is also pretty favorable.”


U.S. SBA Home Disaster Loans

Loan amount max: $200,000 with additional options

SBA regulations limit home loans to $200,000 for the repair or replacement of real estate and $40,000 to repair or replace personal property.

Residents who rent and suffered damage also could apply for the $40,000 option.

DEADLINE:  November 28, 2022.

Regarding all the loan options, Hadden said the “nice part is that they are all long-term loans and low-interest.”

He added that the SBDC and SBA are working together to help as many as they can.

“We’re going to hit this county this week,” Hadden said. “I can’t announce where we are going next but we will be opening in a different location Saturday and then it’s going to open the next day Saturday in a different location.”

Federal and state officials are still mapping out the schedule, according to Hadden.

“We’re very aggressive in what we are trying to do and no matter how fast we do it, it’s never fast enough.”

Federal loan applicants can also apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at and should apply under SBA declaration # 17644.

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.

Disaster loan information and application forms can also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services or send an email to

Loan Applications can also be downloaded from Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.