As of May 28, 2021, the Paycheck Protection Program has run out of funding. You can learn more about the PPP with our COVID-19 resource hub.

Are you a state of Florida small business owner who needs cash to grow your company?

Perhaps you hope to launch a new product or service.

Maybe you want to take advantage of post-pandemic opportunities.

No matter the reason, there are many loan options available to small businesses in Florida. Some are offered through the state government in Tallahassee. Others come from federal agencies.

This could be the perfect time to look into them, especially since the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that many companies have been depending on to help maintain cash flow during the coronavirus pandemic are ending soon.

Florida Microfinance Guarantee Program

If your business has 25 or fewer employees statewide and has generated an annual revenue of less than $1.5 million in each of the last two years, it could qualify for the Microfinance Guarantee Program, run by Enterprise Florida, Inc.

These loans range from $50,000 to $250,000 and come with a guarantee of up to 50 percent. You can apply for them through an approved lender.

Florida Black Business Loan Program

If your business is at least 51 percent black owned, it could get funding from this program. These loans typically range from $2,500 to $75,000, and sometimes up to $150,000.

The loans are available through a limited number of providers, which can be found on the Black Business Loan Program section of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity website.

SSBCI Loan Participation

The Florida SSBCI Loan Participation program offers loan participations to lenders that work with Florida small businesses.

The loans typically range from $250,000 to $5 million. Small business owners have up to five years to pay them back.

A business must be Florida-based and have fewer than 750 employees to qualify. Money can be used for startup costs, working capital, franchise fees, equipment financing and other standard business expenses.

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity administers this program in partnership with the Florida Small Business Development Center Network (Florida SBDC Network) and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation. It provides cash flow to businesses economically impacted by state-declared disasters.

The short-term, interest-free loans are typically available for up to $50,000. They help businesses make it through the crisis period immediately after a disaster occurs.

Other Florida Small Business Loan Options.

Small business owners in the sunshine state may be able to access loan money through federal economic development programs, many of which are run through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The loans from these initiatives usually don’t come directly from the government. Instead, they are offered through SBA approved financial institutions. The government guarantees them up to a certain amount, topping out at 85 percent.

SBA 7(a) Loan Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) Loan Program is the most popular SBA initiative.

SBA 7(a) loans can be used for a wide variety of purposes, including as working capital, for buying equipment or other business resources, purchasing an existing business and more. You can apply for an SBA 7(a) loan for up to $5 million. Repayment terms range from 7 to 25 years, depending on what the money is used for. Loan interest rates (which can be fixed or variable) and fees are set by the SBA and depend on the maturity and size of the loan.

SBA CDC/504 Loan Program

The SBA CDC/504 Loan Program offers specialized financing for small companies that want to purchase or upgrade commercial facilities. This includes things like buying or renovating commercial real estate, warehouses, manufacturing plants or purchasing equipment and heavy machinery.

Rather than just working with an SBA-approved financial institution, a borrower must also partner with a Certified Development Company (CDC) to get access to funds.

CDCs are nonprofit, SBA-approved community lenders that support local economic and business development. The CDCs lend and guarantee 40 percent of the loan money, the financial institution lends 50 percent of it and the borrower supplies the remaining ten percent in the form of a down payment.

These term loans can be valued at up to $20 million and come with repayment terms of between ten and 25 years. Interest rates are dependent on both the CDC and the lending institution.

SBA Microloan Program

If your business has limited financing needs, the SBA Microloan Program could be the answer for you.

The loans cap out at $50,000. Under the program, the SBA provides funds to nonprofit community-based organizations. Nonprofit community lenders determine loan eligibility factors, amounts, terms and interest rates. The SBA sets a maximum of six years for microloan repayment terms and interest rates typically range between eight and 15 percent.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs)

EIDLs are commonly leveraged by small businesses in Miami and south Florida after hurricanes. They are long term, low interest loans for businesses that experience physical damage or economic hardship because of an official declared disaster.

Unlike the other types of government loans, disaster loans are funded and issued by the SBA. Eligible businesses apply for them through the SBA.gov website. Typically, loan amounts are limited to $2 million and come with repayment terms of up to 30 years. Interest rates top out at four percent.

SBA Express Bridge Loans

These loans are not part of the SBA disaster loan program, but they help companies struggling through the initial stages of a disaster.

They are funded by participating SBA lenders. The application process is relatively fast, making them perfect for emergency cash needs. They’re available for up to $25,000 with terms of up to seven years. The SBA limits interest rates to 6.75 percent.

SBA Import/Export Loans

For businesses in the import and export industry, SBA Import/Export Loans can provide financing to pay suppliers, purchase inventory and produce goods.

They are available through SBA Senior International Credit Officers at U.S. Export Assistance Centers.

SBA Lines of Credit

An SBA Line of Credit is similar to an SBA 7(a) Loan, but adds a revolving business credit feature, so cash is always available when small businesses need it.

SBA Community Advantage Loans

The SBA Community Advantage Loan Program offers low interest loans to businesses in underserved areas. Companies can qualify if they operate in communities where people earn relatively low incomes or if they’re owned by women, minorities or veterans.

These loans cap out at $250,000 and the repayment term is limited to ten years for funds used for working capital and 25 years for real estate and other fixed assets.

USDA Loans

Businesses located in rural Florida, including the area surrounding Orlando, could qualify for loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Like SBA loans, USDA loans are partially guaranteed by the federal government.

Overview

Florida small business owners can take advantage of state and federal loan programs to get funding to run and grow their businesses. A loan expert can advise you on the ones that are best for you. As always, whenever taking out a loan, it can be a good idea to reach out to a certified public accountant (CPA) who can help you understand any paperwork or documentation you may need to provide as well as any tax implications that may result from taking out a loan.

There is no doubt that this pandemic has been tough on businesses. However, by researching and understanding loan options available to your business, you can start to make plans for a recovery as we exit the pandemic. Be sure to keep checking back here at our Biz2Credit Blog for more timely information on the various programs springing up as federal, state, and local governments attempt to help small business owners revitalize their companies in the coming months and years.

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