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Navigating Small Business Assistance Loans

by FloridaWest News




The global pandemic COVID-19 has created a unique challenge for our businesses and our community. We at FloridaWest are committed to the continued success of our businesses. We are working diligently with our local, state and federal partners to monitor changing legislation and resources so to provide information and access to programs that will strengthen your businesses and aid in your recovery.

Download PDF: Updated Navigating Small Business Assistance Loans

Please note: with all of these programs, by reading applications thoroughly and following the directions carefully, you will move through the process more quickly. 

Gulf Power – Northwest Florida Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Grant Program

The grant program was made possible by an initial contribution of $250,000 from Gulf Power through its economic development fund.

The grant program will provide up to $5,000 to help offset losses that small businesses may currently be experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant applications will be accepted April 8-15, 2020, and are available for download at Eligibility requirements include:

  • A for-profit, privately held small businesses established on, or before January 1, 2019.
  • Must maintain a place of business, including a physical location, within eligible Northwest Florida counties.
    • Eligible Northwest Florida counties include Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Jackson, Washington, Calhoun, and Bay.
  • Must have 2 to 10 employees.
  • Must have a demonstrated reduction in sales revenues of 25% or more due to the loss of business income related to COVID-19.


For more information about the program or assistance with completing the grant application, contact the Florida SBDC at UWF at 850-586-7802 or [email protected].

Email application and all required attachments to UWF SBDC at [email protected]  (850) 474-2528

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

 The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.

Fill out the application at

Your only option for applying is online. However, the website is often very busy so it would be best to try during off-hours.

Please note: If you have questions, the local SBDC Office can assist but they do not process these loans, they have to use the same website as everyone else

CARES ACT Paycheck Protection Program Loans

The Department of Treasury has released the Paycheck Protection Program application and supplemental information, all available on their website. We strongly recommend that you all immediately:

Also, be aware that the lender guide lists accountants as approved agents of loan applicants, so also inquire of your accounting firm as to their participation and implementation timetable.

As a reminder, funds from this program:

  • Can be used for employee salaries under $100,000, paid sick or medical leave, insurance premiums, and mortgage, rent and utility payments;
  • Are 100% forgivable if used for the above purposes; and
  • Are available to businesses or 501(c)(3) nonprofits with less than 500 employees, including sole-proprietors, independent contractors, and other self-employed

While the application and documentation requirements are simple, make sure you review all the documents carefully. Additionally, consider your intentions with other Small Business Administration loan programs when pursuing funding possibilities.