Florida Small Businesses Play Major Role In Nation’s Economy
Two million small businesses make Florida a key target for the presidential candidates to visit the Sunshine State in preparation for November’s election. President Obama is currently on a two-day tour in Florida, with stops in Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Myers and Orlando, where he is expected to touch on the economic importance of small businesses and their role in the nation’s economy. Florida’s small businesses account for nearly 62% of new job growth in the state. They represent 98.9% of all employers and employ 42.3% of the private-sector workforce. Of Florida’s $754.3 billion in gross domestic product, $565.73 billion is contributed by small business.
Research has shown that small businesses have the highest opportunity for growth, furthering their importance in today’s economy. The most recent Small Business Index Survey, conducted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, suggests there is continued improvement for small business owners. This includes more and more businesses seeking to hire new employees, less facing lay-offs, and more small businesses able to obtain capital. According to the survey, 31% of small businesses are looking to hire new employees within the next six months. To maximize on this opportunity for growth, small businesses need access to information and resources, such as access to capital and new markets via avenues such as exporting and government contracting.
“Small businesses have born the greatest brunt of this recession,” said the President. “I put in place an economic plan to help small businesses. We were guided by a simple idea: government can’t guarantee success, but it can knock down barriers to success, like the lack of affordable credit, supporting nearly 70,000 new loans to small businesses through expanded SBA lending.”
In 2011, the Florida Small Business Development Centers helped small businesses secure over $96.6 million in capital, with a portion coming from U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. In an effort to help small businesses continue to grow, the Florida SBDC Network provides small businesses with management and technical assistance and connects them with a myriad of resources. State-designated as the principal provider of small business assistance [§ 288.001 Fla. Stat.], the Florida SBDC Network is the only statewide organization capable of providing business assistance through all stages of business growth, from start-ups to fast growing second-stage businesses, assisting every industry.
Key findings of a recent report released by the SBA, The SBDC Program: An Indispensable Partner in America’s Economic Development, demonstrates statistically the prolonged impact that SBA-funded SBDCs have on the formation and growth of small businesses. “SBDCs,” the report says, “are solely focused on creating and supporting small businesses which in turn pay taxes, provide employment and diversify the economic base for their states… The businesses that work with the SBDCs are the job creators and enterprises that have the potential for survival and growth.”
For over 35 years, the Florida SBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development organizations, dedicated to providing emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth and increased profitability for the businesses and economic prosperity for the state. The Florida SBDC Network served 38,444 entrepreneurs and small business owners in 2011, resulting in 16,914 jobs created and saved; $317.9 million in sales growth; $96.6 million in capital accessed; $313.9 million in government contract awards; and 1,026 new businesses started. To learn more about the Florida SBDC Network visit www.polksbdc.org or call (863) 534-5915.