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How to Find Business Loans in Florida

Borrowers can get small business loans in Florida from banks, credit unions and alternative lenders. Funding could be used to cover general business expenses or larger purchases such as real estate and machinery. Here is a selection of business loans and other funding available to entrepreneurs in the state — and where to find them.

Where to find business loans in Florida

When searching for financing, business owners could turn to traditional banks in their area or alternative lenders and loan companies in Florida that operate online. Here are a few options to help you get started.

Bank lenders

Types of Loans
Suncoast Credit Union
  • Real estate loans
  • Microloans
  • Vehicle and equipment loans
  • Business lines of credit
  • SBA loans
FirstBank

Suncoast Credit Union

Suncoast Credit Union offers various commercial financing options for business owners.

The Tampa-based credit union — which has 68 branches in 40 Florida cities — is a U.S. Small Business Administration lender that also offers the following for qualified borrowers:

Businesses with at least three years in operation are eligible for financing, although Suncoast may consider newer ones on a case-by-case basis.

Suncoast loans (offered with variable or fixed rates) range from $15,000 to $15,000,000, and the approval process typically takes three to seven days. For more information, you could visit your local branch, or call Suncoast’s Member Care Center at 813-621-7511 or 800-999-5887.

FirstBank

FirstBank provides commercial loans for business owners in the state. It is also a preferred SBA lender, offering 7(a), 504 and Express loans, with variable-term and fixed-term loans of at least one year available. (Note that Miami-based FirstBank doesn’t disclose online how long your business should be in operation to be eligible for financing.)

There are 10 FirstBank locations throughout South Florida. To find out if you could qualify for a business loan from FirstBank, visit a bank branch or call the company at 866-456-2265.

Non-bank lenders

Types of Loans
First Capital Business Finance
  • Business loans
  • Heavy equipment financing
  • Medical and restaurant equipment financing
  • Commercial truck financing
  • Invoice factoring
Florida First Capital Finance Corporation SBA loans for:

  • Commercial real estate
  • Machinery
  • Equipment

First Capital Business Finance

Though based in California, online financing company First Capital Business Finance provides funding to businesses in the Florida cities of Orlando and Jacksonville, its website notes.

Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $2,000,000, while equipment financing is available between $5,000 and $5,000,000. Loan applicants need at least six to 12 months in business, while startups can apply for equipment financing.

After submitting an application online or calling 888-825-1669, an advisor will contact you to discuss funding options. You could be approved and receive funding in as few as 24 hours.

Florida First Capital Finance Corporation

Florida First Capital Finance Corporation is a Certified Development Company, a type of nonprofit corporation that primarily lends through the SBA’s 504 loan program. It provides funding to cover the cost of major fixed assets.

Tallahassee-based Florida First Capital finances up to 90% of project costs, with 40% of the total amount being contributed by the SBA. Borrowers typically must provide a 10% to 15% down payment for machinery and equipment, or 15% to 20% for startup business costs or special-purpose facilities.

The maximum loan amount is $5,000,000, though specific manufacturing or energy projects could qualify for $5.5 million. The application and approval process for SBA loans could take two to three months.

Resources for business owners in Florida

To assist new entrepreneurs or longtime business owners, a number of resources are available throughout Florida.

Of note, there are 2.5 million small businesses in Florida, according to SBA data, accounting for 99.8% of businesses in the state.

Florida SBA offices

The SBA has multiple district offices in both North and South Florida.

These offices:

  • Host educational events throughout their respective regions
  • Provide educational assistance
  • Help business owners find nearby SBA lenders

Florida Small Business Development Centers

More than 40 Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) throughout Florida provide resources for small business owners in partnership with the SBA.

The centers offer business consulting, training and assistance with accessing capital.

Find your local SBDC here.

Florida Small Business Loan Support Program

The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) assists business owners through its Florida Small Business Loan Support Program.

The program provides capital to eligible lenders in the state, such as credit unions and community development financial institutions, to help business owners get loans.

The SSBCI typically guarantees 5% to 20% of loan amounts between $250,000 and $5 million, but it could guarantee as much as a maximum 50% of the loan amount. The maximum participation term length is five years. The SSBCI also participates in the SBA 504 program, guaranteeing between $250,000 and $5 million with terms between three and 18 months.

Enterprise Florida

Enterprise Florida is a public-private partnership between state businesses and government leaders to promote economic development. 

It works with other organizations to:

  • Provide funding
  • Assist minority business owners
  • Offer training and development programs

Visit the Enterprise Florida website to see what programs may be beneficial for your small business.

Types of funding for Florida business owners

Small business grants in Florida

State-level grants are often aimed at addressing social or economic issues or improving local communities.

Miami-Dade County, for example, offers Mom and Pop Small Business Grants that provide funding for local ventures. Recipients can use the Mom and Pop grants to:

  • Buy equipment, inventory or insurance
  • Make renovations

Small business grants, which are often earmarked for specific purposes, typically don’t need to be repaid.

Online loans in Florida

Business owners in Florida can apply for online business loans through non-bank alternative lenders that are usually available quickly. Online loans could provide affordable, flexible financing with less stringent requirements than traditional banks.

SBA loans in Florida

SBA loans are available from financial institutions in Florida, including Capital City Bank and Florida Credit Union, both based in Gainesville. The SBA partners with financial institutions to provide this financing for small businesses.

The SBA guarantees a percentage of loans that partner lenders issue. This guarantee reduces risk for lenders, giving business owners a better chance of securing funding.

SBA 7(a) and 504 loans in Florida can cover general business expenses and real estate purchases, respectively.

Microloans in Florida

SBA microloans are available to Florida business owners looking for a small amount of money. SBA microloans are offered up to $50,000 for women, low-income, minority and veteran business owners.

The SBA works with nonprofit lenders to issue microloans that are available for startup or existing businesses.

How to get a small business loan

Small business loan criteria in Florida would vary by lender and could be more extensive for bank loans than alternative business loans. When applying for business financing, you can expect to have to submit these typical requirements, according to Suncoast Credit Union:

  • A business plan
  • 3 years of projected profit and loss statements
  • Resume
  • Personal financial statement and past 3 years of personal tax returns
  • Personal investment in the business — 25% to 35% of funds could be required
  • Assets offered as collateral
  • Competitive market research
  • Statement describing planned use of funds

Your credit history would also be considered.

If you’re not confident that you can secure a business loan, you may want to find a cosigner. Business loans with cosigners have two parties guaranteeing the loan, boosting your chance of approval. A cosigner could also help you qualify for a larger loan amount or more favorable rates and terms.

Keep in mind, though, that both you and the cosigner would be on the hook for the debt, which could cause problems if your business cannot repay the loan. If you default on the loan, the cosigner’s credit and assets would be at risk.

 

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