(1) PURPOSE.–The Florida Small Business Development Center Network is the principal business assistance organization for small businesses in the state. The purpose of the network is to serve emerging and established for-profit, privately held businesses that maintain a place of business in the state.
(2) DEFINITIONS.–As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Board of Governors” means the Board of Governors of the State University System.
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 288.001
- Appropriation: The provision of funds, through an annual appropriations act or a permanent law, for federal agencies to make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes. The formal federal spending process consists of two sequential steps: authorization
- Department: means the Department of Economic Opportunity. See Florida Statutes 288.005
- Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
- Jobs: means full-time equivalent positions, including, but not limited to, positions obtained from a temporary employment agency or employee leasing company or through a union agreement or coemployment under a professional employer organization agreement, which result directly from a project in this state. See Florida Statutes 288.005
(b) “Host institution” means the university designated by the Board of Governors to be the recipient organization in accordance with 13 C.F.R. 130.200.
(c) “Network” means the Florida Small Business Development Center Network.
(3) OPERATION; POLICIES AND PROGRAMS.–
(a) The network’s statewide director shall operate the network in compliance with the federal laws and regulations governing the network and the Board of Governors Regulation 10.015.
(b) The network’s statewide director shall consult with the Board of Governors, the department, and the network’s statewide advisory board to ensure that the network’s policies and programs align with the statewide goals of the State University System and the statewide strategic economic development plan as provided under s. 20.60.
(4) STATEWIDE ADVISORY BOARD.–
(a) The network shall maintain a statewide advisory board to advise, counsel, and confer with the statewide director on matters pertaining to the operation of the network.
(b) The statewide advisory board shall consist of 19 members from across the state. At least 12 members must be representatives of the private sector who are knowledgeable of the needs and challenges of small businesses. The members must represent various segments and industries of the economy in this state and must bring knowledge and skills to the statewide advisory board which would enhance the board’s collective knowledge of small business assistance needs and challenges. Minority and gender representation must be considered when making appointments to the board. The board must include the following members:
1. Three members appointed from the private sector by the President of the Senate.
2. Three members appointed from the private sector by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
3. Three members appointed from the private sector by the Governor.
4. Three members appointed from the private sector by the network’s statewide director.
5. One member appointed by the host institution.
6. The President of Enterprise Florida, Inc., or his or her designee.
7. The Chief Financial Officer or his or her designee.
8. The President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce or his or her designee.
9. The Small Business Development Center Project Officer from the U.S. Small Business Administration at the South Florida District Office or his or her designee.
10. The executive director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Florida, or his or her designee.
11. The executive director of the Florida United Business Association or his or her designee.
(c) The term of an appointed member shall be for 4 years, beginning August 1, 2013, except that at the time of initial appointments, two members appointed by the Governor, one member appointed by the President of the Senate, one member appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and one member appointed by the network’s statewide director shall be appointed for 2 years. An appointed member may be reappointed to a subsequent term. Members of the statewide advisory board may not receive compensation but may be reimbursed for per diem and travel expenses in accordance with s. 112.061.
(5) SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICES; AGREEMENT.–
(a) The statewide director, in consultation with the advisory board, shall develop support services that are delivered through regional small business development centers. Support services must target the needs of businesses that employ fewer than 100 persons and demonstrate an assessed capacity to grow in employment or revenue.
(b) Support services must include, but need not be limited to, providing information or research, consulting, educating, or assisting businesses in the following activities:
1. Planning related to the start-up, operation, or expansion of a small business enterprise in this state. Such activities include providing guidance on business formation, structure, management, registration, regulation, and taxes.
2. Developing and implementing strategic or business plans. Such activities include analyzing a business’s mission, vision, strategies, and goals; critiquing the overall plan; and creating performance measures.
3. Developing the financial literacy of existing businesses related to their business cash flow and financial management plans. Such activities include conducting financial analysis health checks, assessing cost control management techniques, and building financial management strategies and solutions.
4. Developing and implementing plans for existing businesses to access or expand to new or existing markets. Such activities include conducting market research, researching and identifying expansion opportunities in international markets, and identifying opportunities in selling to units of government.
5. Supporting access to capital for business investment and expansion. Such activities include providing technical assistance relating to obtaining surety bonds; identifying and assessing potential debt or equity investors or other financing opportunities; assisting in the preparation of applications, projections, or pro forma or other support documentation for surety bond, loan, financing, or investment requests; and facilitating conferences with lenders or investors.
6. Assisting existing businesses to plan for a natural or manmade disaster, and assisting businesses when such an event occurs. Such activities include creating business continuity and disaster plans, preparing disaster and bridge loan applications, and carrying out other emergency support functions.
(c) A business receiving support services must agree to participate in assessments of such services. The agreement, at a minimum, must request the business to report demographic characteristics, changes in employment and sales, debt and equity capital attained, and government contracts acquired. The host institution may require additional reporting requirements for funding described in subsection (7).
(6) REQUIRED MATCH.–The network must provide a match equal to the total amount of any direct legislative appropriation which is received directly by the host institution and is specifically designated for the network. The match may include funds from federal or other nonstate funding sources designated for the network. At least 50 percent of the match must be cash. The remaining 50 percent may be provided through any allowable combination of additional cash, in-kind contributions, or indirect costs.
(7) ADDITIONAL STATE FUNDS; USES; PAY-PER-PERFORMANCE INCENTIVES; STATEWIDE SERVICE; SERVICE ENHANCEMENTS; BEST PRACTICES; ELIGIBILITY.–
(a) The statewide director, in coordination with the host institution, shall establish a pay-per-performance incentive for regional small business development centers. Such incentive shall be funded from half of any state appropriation received directly by the host institution, which appropriation is specifically designated for the network. These funds shall be distributed to the regional small business development centers based upon data collected from the businesses as provided under paragraph (5)(c). The distribution formula must provide for the distribution of funds in part on the gross number of jobs created annually by each center and in part on the number of jobs created per support service hour. The pay-per-performance incentive must supplement the operations and support services of each regional small business development center.
(b) Half of any state funds received directly by the host institution which are specifically designated for the network shall be distributed by the statewide director, in coordination with the advisory board, for the following purposes:
1. Ensuring that support services are available statewide, especially in underserved and rural areas of the state, to assist eligible businesses;
2. Enhancing participation in the network among state universities and colleges; and
3. Facilitating the adoption of innovative small business assistance best practices by the regional small business development centers.
(c) The statewide director, in coordination with the advisory board, shall develop annual programs to distribute funds for each of the purposes described in paragraph (b). The network shall announce the annual amount of available funds for each program, performance expectations, and other requirements. For each program, the statewide director shall present applications and recommendations to the advisory board. The advisory board shall make the final approval of applications. Approved applications must be publicly posted. At a minimum, programs must include:
1. New regional small business development centers; and
2. Awards for the top six regional small business development centers that adopt best practices, as determined by the advisory board. Detailed information about best practices must be made available to regional small business development centers for voluntary implementation.
(d) A regional small business development center that has been found by the statewide director to perform poorly, to engage in improper activity affecting the operation and integrity of the network, or to fail to follow the rules and procedures set forth in the laws, regulations, and policies governing the network, is not eligible for funds under this subsection.
(e) Funds awarded under this subsection may not reduce matching funds dedicated to the regional small business development centers.
(a) The statewide director shall quarterly update the Board of Governors, the department, and the advisory board on the network’s progress and outcomes, including aggregate information on businesses assisted by the network.
(b) The statewide director, in coordination with the advisory board, shall annually report, on October 1, to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the network’s progress and outcomes for the previous fiscal year. The report must include aggregate information on businesses assisted by the network; network services and programs; the use of all federal, state, local, and private funds received by the network and the regional small business development centers, including any additional funds specifically appropriated by the Legislature for the purposes described in subsection (7); and the network’s economic benefit to the state. The report must contain specific information on performance-based metrics and contain the methodology used to calculate the network’s economic benefit to the state.