Florida SBDC Network Regional Office Awarded $2.5 Million SBA Grant

Florida SBDC Network Headquarters (Pensacola, Fla.) – The Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance, is pleased to announce that the Florida SBDC at Florida International University (FIU), the network’s regional office serving small businesses in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, has received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The grant, which was awarded as part of the SBA’s Community Navigator Pilot Program, is an American Rescue Plan initiative designed to help strengthen outreach to underserved businesses.

“Our statewide network is thrilled to support the Florida SBDC at FIU as they launch the Miami-Dade Small Business Resource Navigator Program,” said Florida SBDC Network CEO Greg Britton. “We look forward to this pilot program serving as an example of how to better reach underserved and minority business owners and enrich our communities across the state.”

The SBA has announced that $100 million in funding will be allocated to 51 organizations as part of the Community Navigator Pilot Program. Leveraging a “hub and spoke” model, the Community Navigator Pilot Program connects grantee “hubs” with local organization “spokes” to provide critical resources and assistance.

“This grant is a game changer to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Miami-Dade County for underserved small businesses,” said Brian Van Hook, regional director of the Florida SBDC at FIU. “It will help break down long-standing programmatic silos among the small business providers and spur entrepreneurship in our community.”

The Florida SBDC at FIU will serve as the hub of the Miami-Dade Small Business Resource Navigator Program and will work with six Miami-Dade organizations to support small businesses and help create jobs:

  • Ascendus, a Community Development Financial Institution assisting small business owners, especially minorities, women and immigrants, with capital and financial literacy;
  • Branches, a community organization active in southern and northern Miami-Dade focused on micro-businesses;
  • Economic Development Council of South Miami-Dade, a not-for-profit economic development organization representing municipalities and business organizations in southern Miami-Dade County;
  • Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce, the oldest Black chamber of commerce in South Florida, which provides training, networking and consulting for black, minority and women-owned businesses;
  • Prospera, an economic development non-profit specialized in providing bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs trying to establish or expand their business;
  • StartUP FIU Procurement, a university-based incubator program for minority-owned businesses seeking procurement opportunities.

The Miami-Dade Small Business Resource Navigator Program will focus on small businesses, including microbusinesses with fewer than 10 employees, owned by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Together, these resource partners will provide vital assistance to small businesses in areas including access to capital, financial assistance, government contracting, as well as training.

The SBA “conducted a competitive review process to ensure compliance, objectivity, and integrity that allowed every applicant an opportunity to demonstrate the impact the SBA’s support of their organization could have on their communities.” More than 700 organizations applied for the program and the Florida SBDC at FIU was one of only 51 selected nationally.

For more information on the SBA’s Community Navigator Pilot Program, please visit www.sba.gov/navigators.