f you’re growing your business in Florida, you’re probably no stranger to the fact that the sunshine state can be a difficult location in which to run a successful business. Working capital and steady cash flow are important, not only to the growth of your business, but also as a buffer against volatility. If you want to avoid downsizing or debts and have the ability to expand to new markets, financial assistance may help you with access to much-needed resources. There are several small business loans in Florida and other forms of financial aid such as small business tax credits.

Let’s take a look at the types of loans you can secure for your small business in the state of Florida and how to qualify.

Small Business Loan Opportunities in Florida

Small Business Administration Loans

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several kinds of loans, including a Basic 7(a) loan for general business financing. The 7(a) loan program is SBA's primary program for providing financial assistance to small businesses and accepts a wide range of business types and categories. Other SBA loans may include an International Trade Loan for businesses adversely affected by competition with imports or an Export Working Capital Loan for companies preparing to engage or already engaged in exports. 

For more information about SBA loans, you can read more here

Enterprise Florida Microfinance Guarantee Program

Enterprise Florida is a public-private partnership that offers funding programs for small business owners in the sunshine state — it intends to diversify the economy and help create more jobs. 

The Microfinance Guarantee Program is one such program. To qualify, your small business must meet the following requirements:

  • Have 25 or fewer employees
  • Generated $1.5 or less in average annual revenue for the past two years

Participating lenders fund these loans, so there may be additional requirements you’ll need to meet. Small businesses who qualify can borrow anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000, with a guarantee of up to half the final loan amount. This term loan requires you to pay your loan back in up to three years. 

You can apply through a local lender and find more information here.

Enterprise Florida State Small Business Credit Initiative

This small business credit initiative is another financial aid program offering participating loans to help ensure more accessible funding for Florida small business owners. The State Small Business Credit Initiative offers capital to different commercial lenders in Florida, who then, in turn, provide loan funds to small businesses with fewer than 500 employees. 

You can find more information here

Florida Black Business Loan Program

The Florida Black Business Loan Program offers funding to black business owners with Florida-based businesses. Depending on different qualifying factors, you may be able to borrow from $2,500 to $150,000.

It’s best to check the loan program website for the latest list, but so far, the following organizations offer this loan:

  • Miami Bayside Foundation: To qualify, your business needs to be located and operating in Miami-Dade county
  • FAMU Federal Credit Union: Your business must be based in Florida and majority-owned (at least 51%) by a black entrepreneur. 

Learn more about this business development program here.

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LiftFund in Florida

LiftFund is a non-profit offering funding to business owners who don’t always qualify for loans from banks or other types of traditional financial institutions. The non-profit offers microloans and small business loans to established businesses and startups in Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. 

Small businesses can borrow anywhere from $500 to $1 million, and you can use the funds towards expenses such as equipment, inventory, lease improvements, and lease improvements.

Find out more about the program and how to apply here

SSBCI Loan Participation

The Florida Small Business Loan Support Program, or SSBCI, offers funds to Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and other lenders that provide small business loans to business owners in Florida. 

Here’s how to qualify for this loan program:

  • Must be a small business in Florida that have less than 750 employees
  • Must use funds for specific expenses such as funding or startup costs, equipment, inventory, franchise fees, working fees, and real estate

Small businesses can borrow anywhere from $250,000 to $5 million and typically have a five-year repayment plan. Some lenders may approve loans less than $250,000, but they consider such loans on a case-by-case basis.

You can find other facts and information here.

Florida Venture Capital Program

This program isn’t a loan per se, but it offers small businesses access to other financing options. The Florida Venture Capital Program may require more research and due diligence on your part, but it could be worth it to get up to $3 million in funding. You’ll need to be in specific industries like manufacturing and life sciences. 

Accion Opportunity Fund

Institutions such as Goldman Sachs and Bank of America back the Accion Opportunity Fund. This organization offers small business loans for those that may not have access to traditional funding sources. 

Small business owners may qualify for loans ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. Repayment terms are usually up to five years, and interest rates start at 5.99%. The organization also offers various mentorship and other programs to help you grow your business. 

Learn more about the program here.

State Tax Credits in Florida

If you’re looking for some financial relief, you may also qualify to take advantage of Florida tax credit opportunities. These tax credit opportunities can supplement or even take the place of  small business loans. 

Community Contribution Tax Credit Program

The Community Contribution Tax Credit Program is one of Florida's more accessible tax credits. In order to qualify, your business must donate money to a housing or development project benefitting low-income communities.

Once you qualify, you can use the tax credit by getting a refund on your insurance premium tax, corporate income tax, or sales tax. 

Rural and Urban Job Tax Credit Program

The Rural and Urban Job Tax Credit offers incentives for Florida small businesses that create jobs. Your small business may receive a $1,000 to $1,500 tax credit per employee if your business resides in one of the 36 designated Qualified Rural Areas of Florida. You can use this credit towards state sales tax or corporate income tax.

Tax credits are also available for businesses operating within one of Florida's 13 designated urban areas. The tax credit ranges from $500 to $2,000 per employee and can also go towards state sales and corporate income tax. 

You can find out more information here. 

Research and Development Tax Credit Program

The Research and Development Tax Credit Program is for small businesses in Florida that work in certain industries. 

These industries include: 

  • Aviation and aerospace
  • Cloud information technology
  • Homeland security and defense
  • Information technology
  • Life sciences
  • Manufacturing
  • Marine sciences
  • Materials science
  • Nanotechnology

You’ll also have to qualify to claim a research credit — if so, you can use this tax credit for expenses directly related to the research. Don’t forget that you’ll need to apply for this tax credit through the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR).

The Takeaway

Many loan options and other business resources exist to help your small business grow and sustain itself. Be sure to check borrower eligibility requirements when looking for loans to fulfill your financing needs. Florida, just like every state, needs small businesses like yours to support its economic development, so be sure to take full advantage of their offers to help your business’s needs. 

This page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as legal, financial, or accounting advice. Please consult your own professional if you have any questions.

June 17, 2022
Business Building