Florida Keys brewery among 269 small business working with Florida SBDC at FIU Business to obtain $35.6 million in COVID-19 aid.

Florida Keys brewery among 269 small business working with Florida SBDC at FIU Business to obtain $35.6 million in COVID-19 aid.

Florida Keys Brewing Company

Earlier this year, Florida Keys Brewing Company owners Craig and Cheryl McBay contacted the Florida SBDC at FIU Business (FSBDC) and began work on disaster planning.

And then came a real-time disaster: COVID-19.

Since then, the owners of the Islamorada brewery have been making all the right moves to set up their business to not just survive COVID-19’s economic pounding, but to grow again.

As small businesses like Florida Keys Brewing were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and struggled to hang on, FSBDC has helped owners in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties navigate disaster assistance programs, getting funds into the business’ hands and developing strategies to weather the crisis.

As of August 10, FSBD has helped 269 small businesses in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties secure $35.6 million in COVID-19 assistance:

  • $17.9 million in SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans
  • $13 million in SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
  • $4.5 million in Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans

The FSBDC team helped the brewery apply for and receive a PPP loan, a Bridge Loan and an EIDL. The financial relief allowed Florida Keys Brewing Company to keep its staff of 15 employed early in the pandemic. And while the drop in tourism has taken its toll, “I am still looking for growth no matter how hard things have been. We have to keep growing and we do have big growth plans in the next six months,” said Craig McBay. (Read more about the FSBDC’s work with Florida Keys Brewing here.)

Consultants at the FSBDC guide applicants to the best resources for them, explain the eligibility criteria, assist with applications, walk them through the review process, determine how to put the funds to their best use, and ensure they have the right plan to be successful when conditions improve.

Brian Van Hook, regional director of the FSBDC, explained that the group’s consultants also provide virtual consulting assistance to small businesses in Miami-Dade and the Keys in seeking funds to help cover operations, payroll and other business needs.

“Our team is working to help businesses pivot and adjust business strategies to navigate the new normal in light of COVID-19,” he said. “The goal is not just to help these business weather the pandemic but also to make them stronger and more resilient moving forward.”

Since March 1, the FSBDC has assisted 1,500 businesses impacted by COVID-19. While initially the focus was on access to capital, there is now increased demand for guidance on marketing, operations and human resources as businesses adjust to the new normal. The center has conducted 30 webinars for approximately 2,000 attendees, offering training on topics including disaster funding, business strategy and operations, digital marketing and government contracting.

The FSBDC at FIU, which began offering services in Miami-Dade County in 2014, has assisted over 3,500 entrepreneurs and small businesses with one-on-one consulting in marketing, financial management, disaster planning and strategy development, all at no-cost. The center expanded services to Monroe County in October 2018.

Since its launch, the FSBDC at FIU Business has helped launch more than 193 businesses and assisted local entrepreneurs and small-business owners in creating or retaining 9,990 jobs; generating $1.33 billion in increased sales; acquiring $123.3 million in government contracts; and accessing $144.5 million in capital via loans and equity investments.

Resources available for small businesses:

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