Top Small-Business Grants in Florida 2024


Top Small-Business Grants in Florida 2024

Are you an entrepreneur looking for grants for your Florida business. Fortunately, there are lots of options for business owners in the Sunshine State. Grants can be used for various purposes. Funding entities often provide resources to attract business to the state and options for specific, highly desired needs or industries. Companies of all types can apply for these grants. Whether your company is a sole proprietorship, partnership or set as an LLC, these grants can be a major boost.

Grants can provide a significant boost to companies, especially in their earliest days. The grants can offset the need for financing or equity funding. They’re also a great business accelerator, helping companies to make significant leaps in hiring, technology, infrastructure and other growth factors. Here is a close look at some of the top Florida grant programs for small businesses.

Enterprise Florida Trade Grants

These grants help companies with specific business tasks designed to help them begin exporting and expanding into new markets overseas.

There are four elements to the program:

  • Export Marketing Plans. Works with manufacturers and service providers to create customized export marketing plans. Once the plan is created, businesses can apply for other grants under this program or to participate in an overseas trade mission
  • Gold Key/Matchmaker. Designed as a market development initiative for new or infrequent exporters, the program connects businesses with pre-screened and pre-qualified agents, buyers, importers and representatives. Grant money covers some or all of the fees for a sales mission
  • Target Sector Trade Show. Reimbursable grants assist small- and medium-sized businesses expand overseas export sales for manufacturers and professional services companies
  • Online Global Website Localization. Helps businesses to create predefined and customized websites that help companies do business overseas. Works with companies to create a single website with a predefined scope, two websites or a fully customized website. Also helps with website redesign and e-commerce to grow sales, exports and brand

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Be Florida based and active with the state Division of Corporations
  • Be in business for at least two years
  • Be a licensed commercial operation with an office, office/warehouse or manufacturing site. Home-based and virtual businesses are ineligible
  • Have between 3 and 500 full-time employees
  • Have at least $250,000 in annual sales
  • Be either a Florida-based manufacturer whose products are made in-state or a services provider in an approved industry sector or a manufacturer’s representative representing a Florida-based manufacturer whose products are made in the state
  • Have products or services deemed viable in the target market

Companies can receive a maximum of three grants each year.

Florida Small Business Development Center Network Grants

The center provides grants to reimburse export businesses in the state for marketing plans, export credit insurance and expenses related to U.S. Commerce Department promotional events or trade shows.

There’s a maximum of $15,000 in reimbursements in each funding period. To be eligible, businesses need to be new to exporting or plan to use exporting to grow their business.

The center also provides free consulting services to help with business planning, marketing, financial analysis, management, international trade, cybersecurity, funding and disaster planning.

Florida High Tech Corridor Grants

This program is designed for technology companies. It provides funds of up to $150,000 for research and development in one of 23 Florida counties.

These grants also connect businesses with researchers at either the University of Central Florida or the University of Southern Florida.

The businesses and university researchers collaborate to develop a project plan and budget while program administrators advise on eligibility and compliance requirements.

Applications are reviewed by an external committee comprising regional stakeholders and economic development experts. Once approved, the applicant enters into a sponsored research agreement and creates a project plan and terms.

Florida State Small Business Credit Initiative

This initiative, operated by the state’s commerce department, has five programs designed to assist small businesses. It’s designed to help companies that may otherwise not have access to capital that could help them grow their businesses. In particular, it’s designed to focus on very small businesses or those that are owned by economically and socially disadvantaged individuals.

Eligible businesses need to be based in the state and have 500 or fewer employees. Funds can be used for equipment, franchise fees, inventory, franchise fees, start-up costs and business procurement. They also can be used for buying, building, renovating or improving a place of business.

Prospera Small Business Grants

Grants provided by Prospera, a nonprofit agency, help Hispanic-owned startup companies and existing small businesses. Prospera specializes in economic development; its grants are based on future potential, industry and need. It provides an array of professional business development services, including:

  • Accounting
  • Branding
  • Business plan creation
  • Legal assessment
  • Marketing and sales plan development
  • QuickBooks consulting

Businesses can sign up for a free strategy session to learn more about the program offerings.

Local Grant Programs

Several Florida grant programs are available for businesses located in certain cities.

Orlando Grant Programs

There are two major programs available to Orlando companies.

The Gusto Impact Awards provide $10,000 in grant funding, $50,000 in free advertising locally and a year of free Gusto payroll processing services. In addition to the winner, 50 other businesses will receive a $500 gift card.

Eligible businesses must have been in operation for at least a year, have no more than 75 employees and no more than $7 million in annual revenue.

The City of Orlando Business Assistance Program provides matching grants to promote small-business development and growth in Orlando. Business owners are responsible for 50 percent of the eligible development fees, with the city’s Economic Development Department covering the remaining 50 percent, up to renovating, $20,000.

Grants can be used for a range of uses including:

  • Transportation impact fees
  • Permits and other business development fees
  • Sidewalk repairs
  • Street improvements
  • Water line construction
  • Street lighting
  • Landscaping
  • Curb improvements
  • Electric vehicle charging enhancements\

Owners need to obtain the proper permits from the city before being eligible for reimbursement.

North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency Grants

The North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency is an independent government entity that administers multiple grant programs. The agency offers programs designed to augment the business climate in the city, with grants for:

  • Attracting business
  • Beautification and enhancement
  • Rehabilitation
  • Capacity building and retention
  • Affordable workforce housing
  • Transportation and transit-oriented business
  • Infrastructure improvements
  • Public private partnerships

Some grants target specific neighborhoods in North Miami.

Criteria vary based on the grant program and maximum amounts range from $7,500 to $150,000. Businesses must be located within or moving within the North Miami geographical boundaries and projects must have benefits for the community. Several programs – the Business Attraction Grant and Rehabilitation Grant – require a 50 percent match by the company.

Federal Grant Programs

Businesses in Florida can apply for multiple federal grant programs designed to encourage business growth.

WomensNet Grants

There are multiple opportunities under this program, including the Amber Grants, which provide awards of $10,000 and $1,000 monthly and a year-end $25,000 grant. There’s also a quarterly $10,000 Startup Grant, monthly business category grants and marketing planning grants.

Businesses must be at least 50 percent women-owned. There is one application for all the grant programs.

America’s Seed Fund

This fund, administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration and Small Business Technology Transfer program, is designed to support small businesses in the technology sector. The focus is work to develop technology and foster commercialization. Businesses must be U.S.-based, for-profit and have fewer than 500 employees. Awards range from $50,000 to $2 million.

National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) Grant

An NASE Growth Grant provides startups and small businesses with up to $4,000. Companies must be members of the organization for at least 90 days and show a financial need, illustrate how the grant monies will be used and share a copy of their business plan.

Commercial Grants and Contests

Several businesses sponsor programs designed to encourage small businesses.

FedEx Small Business Grant

The shipping company hosts a competition annually for small businesses. One grand prize winner earns $50,000 while nine other winners receive $20,000 each.

The contest rewards business innovation and is given to those with demonstrated financial need. Businesses must be for-profit, have fewer than 99 employees and have and use a FedEx business shipping account.

Barclays Small Business Big Wins

This contest provides prizes ranging from $5,000 to $60,000. Companies must have been in business for at least a year and write an essay sharing their story.

There are so many opportunities for Florida businesses to use grants to accelerate growth, enter new markets and gain an advantage over the competition.

Related Posts