Entrepreneurs with operations in Florida can turn to several programs designed to help them grow.
The Variable Rate Enterprise Bond Program is aimed at smaller manufacturers who can't take advantage of the low-cost, tax-exempt financing available to larger corporations. Coordinated by the public-private partnership Enterprise Florida, the program enables participating firms to obtain financing of $500,000 to $2 million backed by a bank-issued letter of credit and funded by industrial revenue bonds. The loans are typically 30 percent below the prevailing interest rate and can be used for fixed-asset expansion, real-estate improvements or equipment purchases. Contact (407) 316-4646 for information.
Florida is also the only state to sponsor a network of investment corporations specifically targeting African Americans. Overseen by the Florida Black Business Investment Board, the purpose of the regional Black Business Investment Corporations (BBICs) is to close the financing gap African American entrepreneurs often encounter.
Most of the BBICs provide loan guarantees ranging from 50 to 75 percent, and all companies--including start-ups--with viable ideas are eligible for assistance. The amount available depends on the BBIC's capitalization. In addition to guarantees, the Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa corporations offer direct loans. To find the nearest BBIC, call the main office at (850) 487-4850.