FloridaCommerce Press Releases

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Recognizes Small Businesses in Celebration of National Small Business Week in Florida

May 03, 2023
Tallahassee, FL –  This week, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) celebrates National Small Business Week in Florida by recognizing the vital contributions of entrepreneurs and small business in their communities. Of Florida’s 529,072 private sector businesses, 99.7 percent employ less than 500 employees, which represents 56.9 percent of the state’s total private sector employment. In 2023, alone, 158,088 new businesses have formed in Florida, more than any other state in the nation.

On April 30, 2023, Governor DeSantis, declared the week of April 30 - May 6, 2023, National Small Business Week in Florida.

“Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ Freedom First policies, people from around the country are flocking to Florida to start a business and experience Florida’s freedom and opportunities,” said Acting Secretary of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Meredith Ivey . “I am proud to work with our state partners to provide valuable resources, such as the State Small Business Credit Initiative, Black Business Loan Program and Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, to connect Florida small businesses with capital to fuel our state’s economy.”

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” said Laura DiBella, Florida Secretary of Commerce and President & CEO of Enterprise Florida. “Supporting small businesses is at the heart of Enterprise Florida’s mission, and we are proud to celebrate Small Business Week alongside our many economic partners throughout the state.”

“Small businesses are critical to our economy,” said Greg Britton, state director of the Florida Small Business Development Centers Network. “Our state's small business owners create jobs, transform communities, and stimulate economic growth. We couldn't be more proud to celebrate and honor our state's small businesses as part of National Small Business Week for the important role they play. We remain committed to working with our partners to ensure their growth and success.”

Resources available for Florida’s small businesses include:

  • State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) – In January 2023, DEO announced the availability of $142 million in new capital to fuel small business growth and startups across the state through Florida’s SSBCI program. As of March 2023, more than $40 million of SSBCI 2.0 funds have been obligated, stimulating more than $137 million in private capital lending, and creating or retaining more than 340 jobs for Floridians.
  • Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program – In October 2022, Governor DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program in response to the impact of Hurricane Ian. DEO assisted 907 businesses by loaning more than $37.5 million to help businesses expedite their recovery efforts following Hurricane Ian. In April 2023, Governor DeSantis activated the program, making $5 million available in response to the unprecedented flooding event in Broward County. To date, DEO has approved 34 loans totaling $1.22 million and funded 28 loans totaling more than $1 million to help small businesses in Broward County get back on their feet more quickly.
  • Black Business Loan Program (BBLP) – BBLP provides alternative lending opportunities and technical assistance to black business enterprises that cannot obtain capital through conventional lending institutions but could otherwise compete successfully in the private sector. On Monday, May 1, 2023, DEO opened the application period for Black Business Loan Program Administrators to apply to participate in the program for Fiscal Year 2023-2024.
  • The Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund – The Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund , which has $50 million available to assist businesses statewide with economic development and resiliency, focuses on creating and enhancing the diversification and resiliency of Florida’s economy. Its purpose is to address the current gap in available, affordable capital for businesses by providing longer term loans with higher funding levels at market interest rates.
More information about National Small Business week can be found HERE
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