Startup companies and entrepreneurs often have substantial difficulty raising initial capital. Personal resources and friend and family funds are often limited, and most of these companies and entrepreneurs do not yet have realistic access to traditional bank financing or equity financing through venture capital, private equity or angel investors.

The Florida Microfinance Act (Florida Statutes Sections 288.993 to 288.9937) was enacted in 2014 to help to address these financing difficulties and to provide small businesses and entrepreneurs access to certain financing options.

On April 2, 2015, designated loan administrators began accepting applications for participation in the program. The program should be valuable to certain small businesses and entrepreneurs in Florida because it provides them with a much-needed potential source of capital at a critical stage in their development. This may be especially helpful in certain industries where technology has substantially reduced the amount of capital required to start a business.

There are two components of the microfinance program: a loan program where qualifying small businesses and entrepreneurs can get a loan of up to $50,000; and a loan guarantee program (administered by Enterprise Florida) under which qualifying participants can obtain a loan guarantee in connection with loans from $50,000 to $250,000. The program is administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Who is eligible?

Small businesses or entrepreneurs located in Florida who have no more than 25 employees and annual revenues of up to $1.5 million are eligible for the program. Borrowers who seek loans under the program must participate in business training and technical assistance provided by the Florida Small Business Development Network.

Proceeds from a loan under the program must be used for startup costs, working capital, or to purchase materials, supplies, furniture, fixtures and equipment. Repayment must be personally guaranteed, and borrowers must provide information regarding job creation and other financial data to the loan administrator. A borrower may receive a maximum of $75,000 in total loans each year, and may receive a maximum of two loans each year and five loans over a three-year period. The program is designed to help small businesses and entrepreneurs gain access to subsequent private financing.

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Please contact any member of Gunster‘s corporate law team for more information.

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This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.

About Gunster

Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, provides full-service legal counsel to leading organizations and individuals from its 12 offices statewide. Established in 1925, the firm has expanded, diversified and evolved, but always with a singular focus: Florida and its clients’ stake in it. A magnet for business-savvy attorneys who embrace collaboration for the greatest advantage of clients, Gunster’s growth has not been at the expense of personalized service but because of it. The firm serves clients from its offices in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa, The Florida Keys, Vero Beach, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With nearly 200 attorneys and 200 committed support staff, Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 500 largest law firms and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Diverse Law Firms by Law360. More information about its practice areas, offices and insider’s view newsletters is available at


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