Florida DEO Finally Approves $488 Million Initiative for Small Businesses

Toni Koraza

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has approved the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) plan proposed by the United States Department of the Treasury. The plan should bring $488 million in funding to Florida's small businesses.

Florida's Legislative Budget Commission has also approved the plan to release the first tranche of funding totaling $142 million for an existing small business loan program and venture capital investment program.

DEO aims to boost jobs and promote economic resiliency

The main goal of this program is to raise capital, promote economic resiliency, create more jobs, and boost economic opportunities in Florida.

DEO will be given the power to administer various capital access, credit support, and venture capital programs designed to help Florida's small businesses grow and thrive after the federal government releases the funding.

"The approval of Florida's State Small Business Credit Initiative application by the U.S. Treasury is great news for Florida, connecting small businesses with capital, especially very small businesses and those in underserved communities, will continue diversifying and strengthening our state's economy," said DEO Secretary Dane Eagle.

"While this is a great first step, we still have a way to go before the state receives the funds and can get it into the hands of Florida business owners. DEO will work diligently with our partners and key stakeholders to effectively administer this award," he added.

The change is coming for small businesses in Florida

Florida Deputy Secretary of Commerce Laura DiBella described such undertakings as a "monumental day for Florida small businesses."

Under the said initiative, any Florida-based small business or small business that will be in Florida with 500 employees or less is qualified for the program.

This multi-year project is in line with Governor Ron DeSantis' focus on programs for workforce development, a welcoming environment for businesses, and rapid economic growth. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 extended SSBCI's authorization. It is federally administered through the U.S. Treasury, which distributes the funds to states to improve access to capital, enhance access to finance, and foster economic resiliency.

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