Small Business Loans in Florida
Small businesses in Florida can connect with local and nationwide lenders to get the funds they need to grow and expand their companies. You can apply for small business financing in Florida through a traditional bank, online lender or governmental agency.
There are also Florida small business grants that help startups, women entrepreneurs and minority business owners access capital for their businesses. Eligible business owners might also qualify for a tax credit within the state.
Business loan options for Florida small businesses
The following lenders and organizations provide small business loans for Florida-based companies.
- Access up to $5 million in funds through local lenders
- Grow your business with training and development programs
- Entrepreneurship division for minority business owners
Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) partners with federal, state and nonprofit organizations to increase jobs, achieve revenue growth and diversify the Florida economy. The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) and Microfinance Guarantee programs help small businesses access funds for startup costs, franchise fees, equipment expenses and more. The EFI-sponsored Florida Opportunity Fund funds newly established companies with long-term growth potential in specific industries. You’ll have to check with the EFI for industry eligibility — the website doesn’t say which ones are included.
Florida Credit Union
- Loans for used or new vehicles with potentially no down payment
- Quick local lender offering quick business loan decisions
- Offers small business solutions like merchant processing and wire transfers
The Florida Credit Union (FCU) provides commercial auto loans and equipment financing for local entrepreneurs. With an FCU loan, you can receive competitive rates and a flexible repayment plan customized to fit your business needs.
FCU also offers an SBA 504 loan, which can help with growth projects such as purchasing commercial real estate or other long-term expenses.
Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program
- Interest-free business loans for emergencies
- Funds up to $50,000
- Minimum credit score of 600 to qualify
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan provides emergency business loans to eligible businesses within specific Florida counties. These bridge loans are designed to cover short-term funding gaps between a major catastrophe and when a company can secure long-term recovery resources. Your business must have 100 or fewer employees to qualify.
Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund
- Loan amounts between $25,000 and $2.5 million
- Only available to businesses primarily operating in Florida
- Interest rate based on the current Prime Rate
The Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund offers affordable financing to help new and existing Florida businesses strengthen their resiliency efforts. Similar to a working capital loan, this fund can be used for various business expenses, such as inventory, equipment, commercial real estate, business expansions and seasonal financing. Business owners must secure the loan with collateral.
Local Florida small business loans
Depending on your business’s location and other criteria, you might qualify for one of the following local Florida business loans.
LiftFund in Florida
- Microloan amounts starting at $500
- Terms from 5 to 120 months
- Offers consultation services, networking events and entrepreneurship programs
LiftFund, a nonprofit organization, provides up to $500,000 for small businesses in Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando and throughout Florida — with a focus on women-owned businesses and minority entrepreneurs.
Funds can be used for equipment, inventory, real estate, working capital and more. LiftFund is also an excellent option for a startup business loan or a microloan. While LiftFund loans are available in Florida, they aren’t offered in all 50 states.
Small Business Loan Fund
- Offers pre-loan counseling
- Can receive funds within a few business days after approval
- Flexible funding so loan payments can match your cash flow
The Small Business Loan Fund (SBLF) is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that helps business owners struggling to meet the strict requirements for traditional business financing. Loan amounts range from $10,000 to $25,000, with three to seven year terms.
To qualify, your business must have been in operation in Florida for at least 18 months with a solid cash flow. Priority is given to companies serving Broward, Palm Beach and Dade counties.
Rural Community Development Revolving Loan Program
- Flexible payment options
- 2% interest rate
- Collateral is negotiable
Created in 1996, the Rural Community Development Revolving Loan (RCDRL) Program provides local governments financial assistance to boost and diversify the economy of rural Florida communities. Counties with populations of 75,000 or less (or a contiguous county of 125,000 or less) are eligible to apply.
Loan funds can go toward equipment purchases, land acquisition, building improvements and construction and more. However, you can’t use the loan to cover payroll or grant administration.
Nationwide small business loans for Florida
If you want a lender with a national reach, these loans for small businesses offer competitive rates and a range of business products for Florida businesses.
- National Funding: Ideal for online lending
- Live Oak Bank: Ideal for SBA loan
- Wells Fargo: Ideal for traditional bank
National Funding: Ideal for online lending
- Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000
- Term length: 4 to 24 months
- Min. credit score: 600
National Funding is an alternative business lender offering quick business loans up to $500,000 for low-credit borrowers. To qualify, your business must operate for at least six months with a minimum of $250,000 in annual sales. Funds could hit your business bank account within 24 hours of approval.
You can also finance up to 100% of the cost of new or used equipment with National Funding, along with securing a low rate with its Guaranteed Lowest Payment program.
Live Oak Bank: Ideal for SBA loan
- Loan amounts: Up to $15,000,000
- Term length: Up to 300 months
- Min. credit score: 680
Live Oak Bank is a leading SBA Preferred Lender focused on helping well-established businesses take their companies to the next level. With Live Oak Bank, you can enjoy lower payments, longer repayment terms and no prepayment penalties (unless you have a commercial real estate loan).
Wells Fargo: Ideal for traditional bank
- Loan amounts: $5,000 to $150,000 (lines of credit) and up to $15,500,000 (SBA 504 loan)
- Term length: Varies by loan product
- Min. credit score: 680 for unsecured lines of credit
With over 1,300 branches and ATM locations throughout Florida, Wells Fargo is an excellent choice for a traditional bank with in-person support. You can take advantage of a range of small business solutions, including business credit cards, SBA loans, commercial real estate loans, business lines of credit, payroll services and more.
Note that traditional banks tend to have stricter eligibility requirements than online lenders. You must have a credit score of 680 or higher and have operated for a minimum of two years to qualify for Wells Fargo’s unsecured line of credit.
Other options for your small business in Florida
Florida’s government and business community are committed to helping small businesses grow and succeed. Here are some grants, tax credits and coaching programs to consider, as well as how to utilize resources offered by your local small business development center.
Small business grants in Florida
Here are some grants for small businesses to help you make a difference in your community.
- Targeted Marketing Assistance (TMAP): TMAP will award funds to help minority, rural and agritourism businesses in Florida improve their marketing. Nonprofits and independently owned businesses with gross revenue below $1.25 million are welcome to apply.
- Florida High Tech Corridor Matching Grants Research Program (MGRP): Partnering with the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida, MGRP awards grants for applied research between faculty, students and industry in 23 Florida counties.
- Florida Urban and Community Forestry Grants: With funds from the U.S. Forest Service, the Florida Forest Service assists local communities, nonprofit organizations and educational groups in starting or improving local urban forestry projects. The State of Florida anticipates a budget of $750,000 for fiscal year 2023.
Florida small businesses tax credits
- Brownfields Redevelopment Act: Eligible businesses with a Brownfield Site Rehabilitation Agreement could receive a Job Bonus Tax Refund of up to $2,500 by creating at least 10 jobs in the community.
- Rural and Urban Job Tax Credit Programs: These tax credits are awarded to eligible businesses creating rural or urban jobs within qualified areas throughout Florida. The Rural Job Tax Credit ranges from $1,000 to $1,500 per qualified employee. The Urban Job Tax Credit ranges from $500 to $2,000 per qualified job.
- Community Contribution Tax Credit Program (CCTCP): The CCTCP encourages Florida business owners to donate toward community development and housing projects for low-income residents. Businesses can take a tax credit of up to 50% of the donation’s value.
Coaching and mentorship for Florida businesses
Entrepreneurs can network and learn from local coaching and mentorship programs in their community.
- Prospera: This nonprofit organization provides bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs to help establish or expand their businesses. Small business owners can receive free support with legal and accounting assessments, creating a business plan, marketing and sales planning, branding development and more.
- weVENTURE: Women entrepreneurs in Brevard, Indian River and St. Lucie Counties can utilize weVENTURE’s Women’s Business Center Program with free one-on-one consultations and low-cost business classes.
- FAU Business Mentoring Program: Offered by Florida Atlantic University, the FAU Business Mentoring Program helps bring students and business professionals together to share ideas and network. Participants develop interviewing and networking skills, oral and written presentation skills and experience solving complex problems.
- SCORE Business Mentoring: SCORE is one of the nation’s leading nonprofit networks of volunteer business mentors, helping entrepreneurs develop, launch, manage and grow their business ideas. You can find a SCORE mentor in your area to access free training, webinars, workshops and more.
Small business development centers in Florida
A Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides individualized support and technical assistance at every stage of business development — from your first idea to a nationwide expansion. You can receive help implementing new technologies, improving your business strategy and operations, enhancing marketing efforts, increasing productivity and more.
While the SBDC doesn’t fund loans, your local branch can help you find affordable government loans for your small business.
Enter your business zip code and how far you will travel to find an SBDC location near you.
What do you need to apply for a small business loan in Florida?
While business loan requirements vary by lender and loan type, here is a general guideline of what you might need when applying for a Florida business loan.
You typically need a FICO Score of 670 or higher and a business credit score above 80 to get the best business loan interest rate. Boosting your scores before applying can improve your chances of securing the most competitive loan offer. Or, you can consider a business loan for bad credit.
A business plan outlines your company’s goals, including marketing strategies and financing plans. A detailed business plan can reassure lenders that you will use their money responsibly.
Many lenders require a steady income stream to qualify for small business financing. Annual minimums can range from $36,000 to $480,000 or higher, although some lenders may accept lower earnings for startups. If your revenue doesn’t allow you to qualify for a small business loan in Florida, consider applying for microloans or business credit cards to cover your immediate needs.
Time in business
Online lenders typically require companies to have been in operation for six months to one year to qualify for a business loan. Traditional banks usually want to see an established track record of two or more years.
Collateral and/or personal guarantee
Some lenders require collateral to reduce risk with a secured business loan. Collateral can be real estate, equipment or a cash down payment. The lender can seize your collateral as a form of payment if you default on the business loan. A personal guarantee is slightly different since it’s connected to your personal assets.
How to apply for a small business loan
Here are the general steps to apply for a small business loan in Florida.
Step 1: Decide what type of business loan you need
You have multiple options when it comes to types of small business loans. Some small business loans have limitations or restrictions on how to spend the funds, so be sure to pick one that matches your needs.
Step 2: Determine your eligibility
Review the lender’s criteria on their website to ensure it’s a good match. Boost your credit score before applying to improve your chances of securing a competitive rate.
Step 3: Compare small business lenders
You can apply for small business financing via a traditional bank, online lender, government lender or peer-to-peer lending. Watch out for lenders offering no-credit-check business loans or a deal that sounds too good to be true. Reading small business lender reviews before applying can help avoid scams.
Step 4: Gather required documents
Save time by gathering essential documents in advance, such as your business plan, business tax ID number, business licenses, personal and business tax returns and business financial statements. Some lenders may also require a certificate of good standing before approving your loan application.
Step 5: Submit and review offers
Most banks and lenders allow you to submit a small business loan application online, although some banks may require an in-person appointment. Review all loan offers to pick the best deal for your needs.
Tips to decide what loan terms are best for you
Here are some key factors to consider when comparing small business loans in Florida:
- Interest rates. It’s generally best to pick a fixed business loan interest rate to avoid any unexpected rate increases in the future.
- Fees. Check the loan agreement for additional fees, such as origination fees, late charges and prepayment penalties. Add these to the loan amount to ensure the overall cost is worth it.
- Terms. Some small business loans require daily or weekly repayments. Make sure your business budget can handle the repayment schedule.
- Funding speed. Online lenders typically approve and fund small business loans within a few days. In comparison, traditional banks or SBA loans can take several weeks or months to scrutinize your application details. If you can wait, you will likely get better rates and terms with a traditional bank or SBA lender.