Florida has about two million registered businesses supported by an $800 billion economy, which is growing faster than the rest of the US since the pandemic. Getting set up as a business in Florida is straightforward, but finding the right funding may be more challenging.
The good news is business loans in Florida come in many forms to serve different needs and are available from banks, credit unions and online lenders. There are also several economic development programs available in Florida to help new business owners get off the ground.
Here's a closer look at where you can find business loans in Florida, including SBA (7a) and 504 loans, term loans, lines of credit, equipment financing as well as special programs for entrepreneurs, women and minorities.
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Where to get business loans in Florida
Here are the five most popular sources for business loans in Florida.
If you have strong business financials and an excellent credit score, consider a loan from a traditional bank. Many banks offer SBA loans, lines of credit, term loans and equipment financing plus business accounts and merchant services. Bank loans tend to have some of the most competitive rates, but funding may not be as quick as an online lender.
Bank loans feature:
- APRs between 5.50% and 10.50%+
- Loan amounts between $10,000 and $1,000,000
- Terms between four and 25 years
- Secured and unsecured loan options
To get a bank loan, be prepared to show strong financials. Many require a minimum credit score of 700 and want to see at least two years in business with $100,000 in annual revenue.
If you prefer to work with a local lender with in-person service, credit unions like Florida Credit Union (FCU), VyStar Credit Union and Suncoast Credit Union offer competitive rates on different loan types. Credit unions typically have more flexible eligibility criteria than banks, making qualifying easier.
Credit unions may be a good choice if you:
- Have a credit score of 640 or higher
- Want an SBA loan, line of credit, term loan or equipment financing
- Want to build a relationship with a local credit union
Credit unions can also be a good place to turn if you want a full suite of business banking products, including checking and savings accounts and merchant services.
Online lenders offer business loans in Florida and cater to scores as low as 560 — making them ideal for new or small business owners that may not qualify with a bank or credit union. They’re a good place to look for microloans, low or no-doc loans and short-term loans. Plus, they often offer fast turnaround loans, like invoice financing and merchant cash advances — but you’ll likely pay higher rates.
Online loans typically feature:
- APRs between 6.00% to 75.00%+
- Amounts between $5,000 to $500,000
- Terms from six months to 25 years
- Secured and unsecured loan options
Online lenders can also be a good source of small business loans in Florida for bad credit borrowers and those in higher-risk industries like cannabis, but you’ll need to show sufficient revenue to qualify.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) loans are funded by investors or individuals instead of commercial lenders. Because they’re designed to help lower credit, higher-risk borrowers get access to the cash they need, rates and fees can run higher than with other types of lenders.
Some P2P loans cross over into crowdfunding, with several investors chipping in to fund a business venture. If you’re interested in a P2P loan, some popular lenders include Funding Circle and Kiva.
Community Development Financial Institutions
Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) are mission-driven institutions that offer low-cost financing to startups and borrowers with bad credit, plus training for new entrepreneurs. Several CFDIs in Florida offer loans to business owners. Here is a list of CFDIs by state, including Florida.
Florida small business programs and grants
While there aren’t many business grants available in Florida, several loan programs are geared toward entrepreneurs and minorities.
Enterprise Florida Inc.
EFI partners with state, federal and nonprofit organizations with a focus on helping small and minority businesses with training, development and financing options. Its goal is to help small businesses enter new markets, achieve revenue growth, create jobs and access small business loans in Florida. If you aren’t eligible for this grant, check out business loans for minorities in your area.
Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund
The Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund is designed to help existing and new Florida small businesses access affordable working capital at reasonable rates and terms. Funds can be used for seasonal financing, inventory purchases, machinery and equipment and land acquisition — and can be used in conjunction with an SBA 504 loan.
Microfinance Guarantee Program
This loan program is geared toward small businesses with 25 or fewer employees and an annual revenue below $1.5 million. The program provides guarantees of up to 50% on loans of $250,000 or less, which may make them more accessible to certain borrowers.
To apply for this program, you must go through a lender like Citizens Bank & Trust, First Commerce Credit Union, Marine Bank & Trust, Neighborhood Lending Partners, Seacoast National Bank or United Bank.
Black Business Loan Program
If you’re struggling to find funding, Black Business Loan Program may be able to help. It provides loans, loan guarantees or investments through loan administrators to promising black business enterprises that haven’t been successful in getting a loan through conventional lenders.
LiftFund is a local nonprofit that provides small business loans for women and minority entrepreneurs and startups in Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando and throughout Florida. LiftFund partners with the SBA and other institutions to provide startup loans, microloans and SBA 504 loans. Check out our guide on business loans for women to learn more about your options.
If you’re an entrepreneur in a high-growth market and can’t access traditional financing, the Florida Opportunity Fund could be for you. Backed by corporate investors, it’s designed to identify promising early growth stage companies and provide capital for long-term growth.
Business loan eligibility requirements in Florida
While every lender is different, the eligibility requirements for getting a business loan generally include:
- US resident
- 18 years of age
- Minimum 2 years in business
- Minimum credit score of 640
- Specific revenue requirements
Keep in mind that business loans come in many flavors, and these requirements do not apply to all loan types. For example, if you just need quick cash, online lenders may accept scores as low as 500 and less than one year in business.
Business loan rates and fees in Florida
APRs for business loans in Florida vary a lot, depending on the loan type and your creditworthiness. Here are some typical APRs by loan type.
|Term loans||6.00% to 45.00%|
|Lines of credit||8.00% to 60.00%|
|SBA loans||10.50% to 16.25%|
|Merchant cash advances||1.09 to 1.50 factor rate|
|Bad credit business loans||25.00% to 75.00%+|
How to get a business loan in Florida
Here are the steps to get a business loan in Florida.
1. Determine the type of loan or financing you need
Business loans come in many flavors. Choosing the right loan can help you get the lowest rates while getting the most out of your funds.
- Business term loan. Term loans are best for a large one-time purchase or debt refinancing, since you can pay them off over several years.
- Business line of credit. Business lines of credit are generally used as a source of working capital or for ongoing projects and emergency expenses.
- SBA loans. If you have good credit but can’t qualify for a traditional bank loan, Small Business Administration (SBA) loans offer government-backed financing at competitive rates.
- Equipment loan. If you just need to buy equipment, an equipment loan could snag you a better rate and keep your existing credit lines and loans available for other uses.
- Microloan. For startups and bad credit borrowers who need less than $50,000, a microloan or a personal loan from an online lender may offer the lowest rates available.
- Merchant cash advances. If you have bad credit or are new in business, merchant cash advances offer an advance on future sales — but fees can run high.
- Invoice factoring and financing. If you run a B2B business, invoice financing and factoring offer an advance on your unpaid invoices to help cover cash flow gaps.
2. Check your eligibility
Not every business owner will qualify for the same types of business loans, but knowing your eligibility beforehand can help improve your chances of approval.
Here’s what lenders typically look for:
- Credit score. Banks may require a personal credit score of 700, while online lenders may accept as low as 500 on certain types of loans.
- Annual revenue. Banks may require you to have at least $100,000 in annual sales, but credit unions and online lenders may be more lenient.
- Time in business. Banks and credit unions want to see at least two years in business, but online lenders may consider less than one year.
3. Find the right lender
Once you know the type of business loan you need, review banks, credit unions, online lenders and other community programs to find the ideal lender for your needs. If you’re still unsure where to start, you also can use a connection service like Lendio to help you find the right provider in Florida.
Florida business loan laws and regulations
According to FindLaw and a lawyer we spoke with at Warren Gammill & Associates, P.L. in Florida, the maximum allowable interest rate is 18% per annum for loans that are less than $500,000. For loans over $500,000, the maximum allowable rate is 25%.
However, your actual rate on a loan, credit card or line of credit could be much higher in Florida, since these limits don’t apply to loans from national banks or lenders that operate outside of Florida. As always, carefully read over your loan agreement to make sure you understand the rates, fees and penalties you could be on the hook for.
Other Florida resources for small businesses
If you’re a new business owner looking for coaching and networking opportunities in Florida, these organizations offer mentorship and support to entrepreneurs.
- SBDC Florida. A network of small business consultants in Florida, providing access to no-cost consulting, affordable resources and knowledge of experienced small business experts.
- weVENTURE. Provides free one-on-one consultation and no- or low-cost business education and networking opportunities to women business owners in Brevard, Indian River and St. Lucie Counties.
- Southwest Florida Leadership Institute. The SFLI at Florida Gulf Coast University offers training and programs in business leadership for the Southwest Florida region and beyond.
- Small Business Resource Guide,Florida Department of State,2023
- Starting a Business in Florida,Florida Department of State,2023
- Small and Minority Business Programs,State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity,2023
- The Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund,Florida First Capital Finance Corporation,2023
- Florida interest rate laws,Findlaw,February 26 2018
Business loans by state
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