Florida DEO launches $142M program for small businesses. Here’s everything you need to know.

South Florida Business Journal
By   –  Digital Producer, South Florida Business Journal
Jan 25, 2023

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced today that $142 million in new capital is available for small businesses and startups through Florida’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI).

Eligible companies must be Florida-based and have 750 employees or less, according to the DEO news release.

The initiative is administered by the DEO in partnership with Enterprise Florida. It has five programs to serve small businesses that may not otherwise have access to the capital needed to grow their businesses, including very small businesses and sole proprietors.

Funding through Florida’s SSBCI programs may be used to fund startup costs, business procurement, franchise fees, equipment, inventory and the purchase, construction, renovation, or tenant improvements of an eligible place of business.

“[The] program connects Florida’s small businesses with opportunities for new capital that they may not otherwise be able to access,” said DEO Acting Secretary Meredith Ivey. “DEO is proud to support the Governor’s mission by enabling local lenders to put funds into the hands of deserving small business owners in underserved communities and stimulate their local economies.”

In September, the DEO announced the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s approval of the state’s SSBCI application for $488 million. Funding is available from the U.S. Treasury in three payments, and the first funds totalling $142 million is ready for deployment, the DEO said.

“Enterprise Florida is proud to partner with DEO to provide Florida’s small businesses with the resources they need to succeed,” said Florida Deputy Secretary of Commerce Laura DiBella. “Florida’s small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities and are crucial to our state’s success, and we are honored to continue supporting them through Florida’s SSBCI program.”

Enterprise Florida (EFI), the state’s lead commerce agency, helps foster economic development by promoting Florida as a premier business destination and aiding with the state’s private-sector job creation efforts:

The five programs for funding through the SSBCI are:

  • Collateral Support Program – Enables financing that might otherwise be unavailable due to a collateral shortfall. This credit enhancement uses public resources to encourage private lenders to lend money to businesses by providing a cash deposit as collateral for a business loan or credit facility.
  • Venture Capital Program – Targeted investment strategy to attract capable investment managers to support Florida small businesses and create value. DEO will work with Enterprise Florida to secure partnerships with public entities and investment managers.
  • Loan Participation Program – SSBCI funds are used alongside private funds to support a loan to a borrower. The SSBCI funds may be used as a companion loan, or to purchase a portion of the loan made by the private lender.
  • Loan Guarantee Program – Provides a private lender with a short-term, partial guarantee to support a loan or line-of-credit for eligible small businesses.
  • Capital Access Program – A pooled loan insurance program where a private lender originates a loan, and the borrower and lender contribute a percentage of the loan per eligible small business, which is then matched by SSBCI funding.