‘Sunshine’ State Success: Women Entrepreneurship Flourishing in Florida

In Focus: Some schemes, initiatives & grants available for women entrepreneurs in Florida

#WomenInBusiness #FloridaEntrepreneurs #StartupSuccess

Florida is famously referred to as the ‘Sunshine’ State – mainly due to its subtropical climate and an average of 230 days of sunshine per year!

Is Florida a good place to start a business? According to WalletHub’s list of the top 10 best states to start a business in 2024, Florida ranks an impressive No. 3. Despite facing economic challenges last year, including some of the highest inflation rates in the country and a tumultuous insurance market, Florida is poised for a strong recovery today. With a growing workforce and an influx of startups, the Sunshine State is brimming with entrepreneurial potential.

Women entrepreneurs are a driving force behind Florida’s thriving business landscape. The state’s booming local economy, bolstered by one of the highest real GDP growth rates in the country at over 4%, provides fertile ground for new ventures. Florida ranked fourth in the “Average growth in number of small businesses” category, underlining its supportive environment for budding enterprises.

Florida’s Female Founders: Leading the Charge in a Booming Economy

Florida has entered 2024, with renewed optimism & women business owners are seizing the opportunity to innovate and lead. From tech startups in Miami to boutique shops in Tampa, women entrepreneurs are making their mark across diverse industries.

Their resilience and creativity not only contribute to the state’s economic success but also inspire the next generation of women leaders.

Let us explore the resources available for enterprising women entrepreneurs in Florida. What are some schemes, initiatives, grants and so on….and the unique advantages of starting a business in this dynamic state?

> The Florida Women’s Business Center (FLWBC)

The Florida Women’s Business Center (FLWBC) assists women in achieving their dreams by helping them start, run & grow successful businesses – regardless of social or financial disadvantage, race, ethnicity or business background.

FLWBC clearly recognizes the fact that women-owned businesses are a critical component to our nation’s economic viability & a necessary cornerstone in the foundation to building viable communities in Florida. So, they focus on helping women overcome barriers to success but is keenly attuned to supporting growth that builds businesses, uplifts communities via employing people, and increasing revenue while maximizing profits.
As a resource partner of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO), the FLWBC aims to foster the participation of women entrepreneurs in the economy & to help women compete and succeed in today’s global marketplace.

The Florida Women’s Business Center provides a 1-on-1 business counseling (at no charge) to those seeking advice on start-up, expansion or stabilization strategies for their business. Working with hundreds of business owners, their experienced business counselors offer insights into areas from resources, and solutions to everyday business challenges.

> The Florida Women’s Business Center (FWBC)

This is a local organization, funded in part by the Small Business Association – offering professional mentorship, news, events and supportive services to women business owners, throughout various counties in South Florida.

Their “Business Women Rock” event is also incredibly popular for networking & development opportunities.


> Florida Government Grants for Women

Florida Government Grants for Women come in different forms – each designed to support women in different areas of their lives & careers. One type is the Small Business Administration (SBA) grants, which provide financial assistance to help women entrepreneurs start or expand their businesses; and these grants can cover a wide range of expenses, from purchasing equipment to hiring employees.

Another type of grant is the Florida Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission Grant Program, aimed at celebrating and promoting women’s history & achievements. This grant supports projects that educate the public on women’s suffrage, and its impact on society.

Additionally, there are educational grants available specifically for women pursuing higher education in Florida. These grants aim to alleviate the financial burden of tuition fees and other academic expenses, enabling more women to attain their educational goals. So, whether you aspire to be an entrepreneur or an advocate for change, these grant opportunities will definitely cater to your specific needs! To be eligible for Florida government grants for women, there are certain criteria that need to be met.


> WBEC Florida

The Women’s Business Development Council of Florida became a Regional Partner Organization (RPO) of The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Quite prominently, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the US and also, a leading advocate for women business owners and entrepreneurs. They focus on providing women with equitable access to – certification, opportunities, resources & networking events is crucial for supporting entrepreneurial aspirations.


Florida Government Agencies
> Florida Department of State – Division of Corporations

The Division of Corporations is the State’s central location – for informational resources related to statewide business activities, registrations & certificates. The Division provides sole proprietors and companies with the legal right, to do business in the state of Florida.

Resources include – the ability to search records, understand how to start a business, managing and changing an existing business such as – dissolving a business and certifications, forms and filing fees, authentications, notaries & other services.

> Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) – Miami Business Center

Incidentally, the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises.

MBDA invests in a national network of MBDA Business Centers, Specialty Centers, and Grantees (including the one in Miami). Programmmes offer customized business development and industry-focused services – to provide greater access to capital, contracts and markets.

Clients are U.S. minority business enterprises (MBEs) – owned and operated by African Americans, Asian Americans, Hasidic Jews, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders.

MBDA connects MBEs to private lenders – including banks, mutual funds & investors. MBDA prepares and promotes MBEs to public and private sector buyers. MBDA positions MBEs to expand their client base and operations to global markets.

> U.S. Small Business Administration – SBA – Florida

North Florida and South Florida locations provide help with SBA services – including funding programmes, counseling, federal contracting certifications and disaster recovery.

They can also connect you to – partner organizations, lenders & other community groups that help small businesses succeed.


Florida Agencies and Nonprofit Organizations
> Florida Women’s Business Center – FLWBC

The Florida Women’s Business Center (FLWBC) assists women in achieving their dreams by helping them start, run & grow successful businesses, regardless of social or financial disadvantage, race, ethnicity or business background.

As a resource partner of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO), the FLWBC aims to foster the participation of women entrepreneurs in the economy, and also to help women compete and succeed in today’s global marketplace.

FLWBC’s primary objectives are – to provide training, counseling, mentoring, resources, referrals & support to women entrepreneurs.

Areas of assistance include but are not limited to Business Start-Up, Business Plan Development, Business Recovery, Funding, Marketing, Accounting, Operations and Strategic Planning.

So, no matter where an individual falls in the business cycle, FLWBC is poised to help. From concept to profitability, the FLWBC counsels, teaches, encourages & inspires!

> Jacksonville Women’s Business Center (JWBC)

The Jacksonville Women’s Business Center (JWBC) is totally dedicated to expanding the entrepreneurial and economic development of women business owners & leaders in Northeast Florida.

JWBC provides an innovative, valuable educational experience that enables women in business – to make sound decisions & develop the infrastructure to facilitate business growth and prosperity.

The Jacksonville Women’s Business Center is a programme of the Jacksonville Chamber Foundation, Inc. The Women’s Business Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Small Business Administration and the JAX Chamber Foundation.

> The Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre

Located at the Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women, the Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre helps women entrepreneurs launch and grow successful businesses, by providing – free business coaching, webinars, mastermind groups, networking opportunities and access to financial resources.

Since 2013, the Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre has been the only SBA- designated women’s business centre on the West Coast of Florida.

> weVENTURE at Florida Institute of Technology

weVENTURE is the Women’s Business Center at Florida Tech Bisk College of Business. They provide free one-on-one business consultations, low and no-cost business education seminars and workshops, IGNITE 360 Mentoring Program and Peer Groups, purposeful networking events & leadership development opportunities for professional women.

The non-profit programme is part of the Nathan M. Bisk College of Business on the campus of Florida Tech and has trained 15,500+ clients, helped 180+ business owners grow and expand their businesses through the IGNITE 360 Mentoring Program, helped clients to create and maintain local jobs, and increase revenues.

> Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI)

What Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) does is that it works – to expand and diversify the state’s economy through private-sector job creation.

As a public-private partnership of business and government leaders, EFI’s goal is – to promote Florida as a premier business destination and expand the state’s economy through private-sector job creation. In pursuit of this mission, EFI works closely with a statewide network of economic development partners.

EFI serves as the state’s primary entity for trade & export development, supporting more than 60,000 Florida exporting businesses. The organization also assists small & minority businesses through its capital programmes, supports Florida’s defense industry through the Florida Defense Alliance and Florida Defense Support Task Force, and champions sport industry growth through the Florida Sport Foundation.

> Domi Education, Inc.

Domi is a non-profit business incubator and co-working space – offering programmes, resources & events that help entrepreneurs start and scale sustainable companies. At Domi Station small business owners (or aspiring ones) can participate in entrepreneur programs to help accelerate your growth.

Domi supports Tallahassee and Leon County businesspeople, who want to pursue their dreams and build their local community.

> Florida Small Business Development Center – SBDC

From Pensacola to Key West, the Florida SBDC serves small businesses in all of Florida’s 67 counties – by providing convenient access to no-cost consulting and training, affordable and high-quality resources, innovative tools and the knowledge of experienced, small business experts.

Featured consulting services include – business and strategic planning, business management, financial analysis, marketing, capital access, international trade, government contracting, cybersecurity, and disaster preparedness and recovery.


Funding – State and Federal Sources
> U.S. Small Business Administration

They offer loans, investment capital, disaster assistance, surety bonds & grants – to start and grow a business as well as to recover from a disaster.

> Florida High Tech Corridor Council

The Florida High Tech Corridor Council accelerates collaborative research and innovation, and connects industry partners with research universities through matching grants.

The Florida High Tech Corridor’s Matching Grants Research Program (MGRP) fosters applied research between industry partners and faculty and student researchers at the University of Central Florida and University of South Florida. Grants directly fund the work of expert faculty and create an opportunity for their students to participate in collaborative research with industry partners in the 23-county region.


> Women Business Owners (WBO)

The North Florida Association of Women Business Owners was formed in July 1981. The purpose of the organization was multi-fold to:
· Encourage ownership by women in business.
· Encourage and support women who own and operate businesses.
· Provide a voice for women who own and operate businesses.
· Foster the economic stability of businesses owned and operated by women.
· Foster training, technical assistance and other learning opportunities specifically orientated toward the needs of women in business.
· Serve as a vehicle for making available group benefits in areas such as credit, insurance, financing and purchasing to members of the association.

· Provide a system for sharing and disseminating information on and of interest to women in business.
· Increase the general visibility of women in business.
· Encourage the adoption of a referral system of potential clients or customers to appropriate women owned businesses in the community.
· Encourage and support the adoption of legislation which will benefit businesses that are owned by women.

Later the name was changed to Women Business Owners of North Florida, Inc.


> 74 Women Grants for Florida

Here you can get grants for women entrepreneurs, seed money to individual women, college grants for women, small business grants for women, enterprise grants and grants for minority women.


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