The Top Local Loans for Florida Small Business Owners
A small business loan for your Florida business could mean an average of $78,784 of capital to grow with. This means investing in that employee, equipment, or a new location that you’ve been imagining—but not acting on—for years.
Small business loans for Florida-based businesses specifically are few and far between: Most state-specific small business loan programs come from state governments, and Florida’s state government mostly provides small business financial aid in the form of small business tax credits.
There are four states of Florida small business loan options for you to consider:
- Enterprise Florida Microfinance Guarantee Program
- Florida Black Business Loan Program
- SSBCI Loan Participation
- TD Bank
Plus, there are additional Florida small business financial resources. We’ll cover them all in this guide to small business loans for Florida small businesses:
The Top 4 Florida Small Business Loans
If you’re looking for a local funding solution for your Florida small business, you have a few solid options to choose from. The top small business loans for Florida businesses will come from government small business loans programs administered through Florida state government or the federal government.
Let’s see what small business loan options that your status as Florida-based business opens up for you:
1. Enterprise Florida Microfinance Guarantee Program
Guarantees for Florida small businesses loans are available through the Microfinance Guarantee Program run by Enterprise Florida, Inc. If your small business has 25 or fewer employees and has generated an average annual revenue of $1,5 million or less in the last two years, then you meet the basic requirements of this program.
If you end up qualifying for a business loan through a participating lender, you could access a small business loan from $50,000 t0 $250,000 with a guarantee of up to 50% of the loan amount. Small business loans made through this Florida state program will carry repayment terms of up to three years long. In 2016 to 2017 alone, the Microfinance Loan Program facilitated $1,459,200 total in microloans to small businesses in Florida.
2. Florida Black Business Loan Program
If you’re looking for funding for you minority-owned Florida small business, then a top option is the Black Business Loan Program. This program provides small business loans for black business owners whose businesses are domiciled in Florida. These Florida small business loans can range from $2,500 to $75,000, and loans of up to $150,000 are available under special circumstances, though the program doesn’t elaborate on what these special circumstances might entail.
These Florida small business loans are available through two providers: Miami Bayside Foundation and FAMU Federal Credit Union. To be eligible to work with Miami Bayside Foundation, your business will need to be domiciled in Miami-Dade County. To access this program through FAMU, your business will simply need to be Florida-based. Either way, your business will need to be at least 51% owned by a black entrepreneur.
3. SSBCI Loan Participation
Also known as the Florida Small Business Loan Support Program, Florida SSBCI Loan Participation offers loans and loan participations to lenders and CDFIs that provide small business loans to Florida small businesses. Small business loans provided through this program typically come in amounts from $250,000 to $5 million with repayment terms as long as five years. Small business loans of less than $250,000 will also be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Florida small businesses with less than 750 employees will be eligible to access funding for startup costs, working capital, franchise fees, equipment, inventory, and other business expenses through this program. Note that passive real estate investment is not an eligible use of funds for this program, so you’ll have to occupy any real estate you intend to access with proceeds of a loan through this program.
4. TD Bank
Finally, though TD Bank isn’t a Florida-specific lender, they make it onto our list because of their stellar track record of providing SBA loans to Florida small businesses. In fact, TD Bank was the top SBA lender in Florida for 2018. They provided 884 SBA loans total with an average loan amount of $91,584 and an average interest rate of 8.7%.
If none of the state-specific Florida small business loan programs are the right fit, then definitely look into the national lender who’s particularly adept at providing Florida small businesses with affordable capital.
5 Florida Small Business Financial Resources
Beyond the few Florida commercial loan programs that the state government offers, there are multiple Florida small business financial programs that offer some valuable relief to Florida small businesses. Florida state government offers venture capital and tax credit opportunities if you’re willing to look beyond small business loans for financial aid.
Here are five additional programs to consider for your small business beyond the Florida small business loan options we highlighted:
1. Florida Venture Capital Program
For instance, the Florida Venture Capital Program doesn’t necessarily offer small business loans for Florida businesses, but it does offer access to capital. If you’re willing to dilute equity in your business, then this Florida program could be a top option for funding your small business. This program provides funding of $1,000,000 to $3,000,000 in targeted industries like aerospace, manufacturing, life sciences, and more.
2. Community Contribution Tax Credit Program
Another source of financial relief for Florida small businesses is a long list of state tax credits they can look into. One of the most accessible is the Community Contribution Tax Credit Program. To participate, your Florida business will simply have to donate money to a development or housing project that benefits low-income communities. Your business can access the tax credit in the form of a refund on the corporate income tax, insurance premium tax, or sales tax.
3. Rural and Urban Job Tax Credit Program
Florida also wants to reward small businesses for creating jobs, and they do so by offering the Rural and Urban Job Tax Credit. If your business is in one of the 36 designated Qualified Rural Areas of Florida, then you could access a $1,000 to $1,500 tax credit per employee. You can redeem the credit against Florida Corporate Income Tax or the Florida Sales and Use Tax.
If you’re operating within one of the 13 designated urban areas of Florida, you could access a credit of $500 to $2,000 per employee, also redeemable against Florida Corporate Income Tax or the Florida Sales and Use Tax.
4. Research and Development Tax Credit Program
Another tax credit available to small businesses in Florida is the Research and Development Tax Credit Program. If your Florida small business is operating in a targeted industry like aviation, cloud information tech, manufacturing, and life sciences—to name a few—and you’re already eligible to claim a research credit against federal income tax, then you’re eligible for this program as well. Be sure to not that you’ll have to submit an application for this tax credit during tax season to be able to participate in this program.
5. Opportunity Zone Program
Finally, a new tax credit program called the Opportunity Zone Program offers temporary corporate gains tax deferrals to investors. Investors must re-invest these gains into projects that will benefit low-income communities that legislation refers to as Opportunity Zones.
This program is still being solidified in Florida and nationwide, but it would very well benefit Florida small businesses looking to expand into a designated Opportunity Zone.
The Bottom Line
There you have it: The ins and outs of finding a small business loan in Florida. Though there’s a solid lineup of good local funding options for Florida small businesses, there aren’t as many loan programs as there are small business tax credits in Florida. If you’re eager to work on your business’s bottom line, consider pivoting your search to these tax credits.
Priyanka Prakash, JD
Priyanka Prakash is a senior contributing writer at Fundera.
Priyanka specializes in small business finance, credit, law, and insurance, helping businesses owners navigate complicated concepts and decisions. Since earning her law degree from the University of Washington, Priyanka has spent half a decade writing on small business financial and legal concerns. Prior to joining Fundera, Priyanka was managing editor at a small business resource site and in-house counsel at a Y Combinator tech startup.