TAMPA, Fla. — The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity gave out small business loans of up to $100,000 in the wake of coronavirus closures.
As ABC Action News reported, the state received more than 38,000 applications for the loan, but only approved less than a thousand businesses before money in the $50 million program ran out.
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Now, the I-Team has obtained public records showing the location of each of the businesses that received one of the state loans.
I-Team Investigator Kylie McGivern went through the data and found some counties, like Citrus and Polk, had only three businesses each receive emergency bridge loans from the state.
For comparison, the Orlando area had 90 Orange County businesses that received loans. In Miami-Dade County, 87 bridge loans were given to small businesses. That’s almost as many as nine Tampa Bay area counties combined, where businesses received 91 loans — or less than 10 percent of all loans statewide.
Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Recipients - Tampa Bay area county breakdown:
- Hillsborough - 33
- Pinellas - 27
- Manatee - 8
- Pasco - 6
- Hernando - 5
- Sarasota - 5
- Citrus - 3
- Polk - 3
- Highlands - 1
While tens of thousands of businesses failed to receive a loan, the I-Team found some owners received multiple loans for different business locations.
The I-Team plans to continue looking into how these tax dollars were spent.