The Never Forgotten Coast campaign and the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association today announced 11 additional microgrants that will immediately help businesses in Mexico Beach. [Read more…] about Never Forgotten Coast Announces 11 Additional Microgrants for Mexico Beach Small Businesses
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) today announced new changes to the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program allowing more small businesses impacted by Hurricane Michael to qualify. [Read more…] about More Small Businesses Damaged by Hurricane Michael Qualify for Emergency Bridge Loan Program
Enterprise Florida (EFI) recently presented a series of trade seminars across the state to help Florida small and medium-sized businesses learn about doing business in Germany and German markets. The week-long event, held May 13-17, included 15 meetings and seminars in 8 cities.
Enterprise Florida senior vice president of international trade and development, Manny Mencia said, “These types of seminars allow us to reach companies around the state and help them learn about potential new markets. Germany is a top 10 total merchandise trade partner for the state and businesses there provide tremendous opportunities for companies in Florida. We’re continuously working to help companies here grow through trade in markets like Germany.”
Governor Rick Scott activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by Hurricane Irma. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm. The application period is from today through Oct. 31, 2017.
Governor Scott said, “Hurricane Irma was a massive storm affecting our entire state, including many of our small businesses. Small businesses are the backbone of Florida’s economy, and families are depending on these businesses recovering as quickly as possible. The small business bridge loan program will help small business owners and communities get back up and running and I encourage all affected business owners to apply today.”
DEO administers the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program in partnership with the Florida SBDC Network to provide cash flow to businesses damaged by a disaster. The short-term, interest-free loans help bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a business secures other financial resources, including payment of insurance claims or longer-term Small Business Administration loans. Up to $10 million has been allocated for the program.
DEO Executive Director Cissy Proctor said, “So many communities across Florida have been affected by this storm. Businesses from the Panhandle to the Keys need assistance, and DEO is working with these businesses to make sure they can recover and be successful. The first step to getting our communities back on their feet, is getting our businesses back on their feet.”
DEO is currently surveying businesses in the affected counties. To access the business survey, please click HERE and select “Hurricane Irma” from the drop-down menu. Response to the damage assessment is not an application for assistance, so businesses that fill out the survey and are interested in the bridge loan program must fill out a bridge loan application as well.
Small business owners with two to 100 employees located in any of Florida’s 67 counties affected by Hurricane Irma can apply for short-term loans up to $25,000. These interest-free loans are granted in terms of 90 or 180 days. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to Sept. 4, 2017, and demonstrate economic injury or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Irma.
Michael Myhre, CEO and State Director for the Florida SBDC Network, said, “We are saddened to see and hear the stories of damage and loss that individuals and small businesses have suffered due to Hurricane Irma. We want our small business owners to know how important they are to our state and we are here to help walk them through the recovery process to get their employees back to work and growing their business.”
To complete an application by the Oct. 31, 2017, deadline, or for more information on the program, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 850-898-3489 or email Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org. The phone line will be answered during regular business hours; all voice mails and emails will be responded to within 24 hours.
Proposal reforms incentive funds and recasts state focus to small businesses
Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) today filed two bills, Senate Bills 1110 and 1112, proposing reforms to Florida’s economic development programs. The legislation adopts several oversight provisions over Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) and the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), and establishes new programs focusing on the growth of small businesses and fostering a start-up environment in the state.
“The focus of economic development should be on Florida’s small businesses,” stated Senator Brandes. “Fostering a start-up culture in our state and encouraging small business development will create a better ecosystem where opportunity can thrive. This legislation provides greater oversight and safeguards over our current economic development programs. This bill recasts our focus on new businesses that breathe the entrepreneurial spirit and diversify Florida’s economy.”
The proposal reforms Florida’s economic development programs in several ways. $117 million held in escrow in the Quick Action Closing Fund will be returned to the State Economic Enhancement and Development Fund. Businesses that relocate from the state within 3 years of receiving final incentive payments will be sanctioned, and DEO is prohibited from making material amendments to incentives contracts. Those incentive contracts are limited to 10 years, and capital investments made with incentive money must remain within Florida. The Board of EFI will be reconfigured to incorporate representation of rural economic development interests along with CareerSource Florida. Finally, the President of EFI will be subject to Senate confirmation.
The bill further creates a new Start-Up Florida Grant Program focusing on incubators and small business accelerators. The $50 million annual program provides up to $5 million each year to an eligible incubator recipient for capital spending and $1 million annually for operations funding. Along with the grant program, the bill creates the Small Business Information Center (SBIC) within the Small Business Development Center at the University of West Florida. The SBIC will serve as an information gateway for small businesses to navigate permitting, licensing, and regulation. The SBIC will also serve a mentorship role, linking small businesses to resources including institutions of higher learning and other business resources to aide in their success.
“Gov. Scott’s Proposed Budget Includes $618 Million in Tax Cuts for Families and Small Businesses”
WTLV-JAX (NBC) – Jacksonville, FL
February 1, 2017
To view the clip, click HERE.