The Florida SBDC at FIU Business (FSBDC) has increased its support to the small business community in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, getting funds into business owners’ hands, developing strategies for recovery from the impact of COVID-19, and setting the stage for growth.
Since January, the organization has secured $9.9 million in contracts and $30.3 million in capital for its growing number of clients, which now stands at 1,127 businesses.
Jessica McClung launched Alpha Behavior Solutions, which provides Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy and consultation services, in 2017 in Key West. Two years later she sought the services of the FSBDC, and Monroe County consultant Margie Smith helped her obtain an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.
“I never took business classes, never ran a business. I needed a lot of education,” McClung said, adding that opening a stand-alone clinic would have never happened without the assistance. “My business would have crumbled. It has been a rocky road and now it’s starting to do quite well.”
Consultants guide applicants to the best resources for them, explain the eligibility criteria, assist with applications, walk them through the review process, determine how to put the funds to their best use, and ensure they have the right plan to be successful. The center secured over $1 million in additional Federal and local funding to add 10 consultants to keep up with the record demand for services.
In 2020, the center provided 20,088 hours of consulting services to more than 2,225 business owners. Both numbers represent records for the FSBDC, whose advisors normally provide 10,000 to 12,000 consulting hours and assist 1,000 clients per year. FSBDC at FIU’s sister center, the Eugenio Pino and Family Global Entrepreneurship Center, hosted a record 70 training events with 4,260 attendees.
For the full year, 2,225 businesses were assisted. Of those, 575 reported:
- $95.2 million secured in capital and equity investments, including $54.7 million in COVID-19 Disaster Loans and $68.4 million in capital to minority- and women-owned businesses
- $78 million in government contracts secured, including $77.3 million in contracts for minority-owned businesses
- 60 businesses launched
“The goal is to not just to help our local businesses weather the pandemic but to make them stronger and more resilient moving forward,” said Brian Van Hook, regional director of the FSBDC.
The FSBDC began offering services in Miami-Dade County in 2014 and expanded to Monroe County in October 2018.
Since its launch, the FSBDC at FIU Business has helped launch more than 254 businesses and assisted local entrepreneurs and small business owners in creating or retaining 16,669 jobs; generating $1.33 billion in increased sales; acquiring $197.3 million in government contracts; and accessing $294.4 million in capital via loans and equity investments.