(1) The Microfinance Guarantee Program is established in the department. The purpose of the program is to stimulate access to credit for entrepreneurs and small businesses in this state by providing targeted guarantees to loans made to such entrepreneurs and small businesses. Funds appropriated to the program must be reinvested and maintained as a long-term and stable source of funding for the program.
(2) As used in this section, the term “lender” means a financial institution as defined in s. 655.005. (3) The department must enter into a contract with Enterprise Florida, Inc., to administer the Microfinance Guarantee Program. In administering the program, Enterprise Florida, Inc., must, at a minimum:
(a) Establish lender and borrower eligibility requirements in addition to those provided in this section;
(b) Determine a reasonable leverage ratio of loan amounts guaranteed to state funds; however, the leverage ratio may not exceed 3 to 1;
(c) Establish reasonable fees and interest;
(d) Promote the program to financial institutions that provide loans to entrepreneurs and small businesses in order to maximize the number of lenders throughout the state which participate in the program;
(e) Enter into a memorandum of understanding with the network to promote the program to underserved entrepreneurs and small businesses;
(f) Establish limits on the total amount of loan guarantees a single lender can receive;
(g) Establish an average loan guarantee amount for loans guaranteed under this section;
(h) Establish a risk-sharing strategy to be employed in the event of a loan failure; and
(i) Establish financial performance measures and objectives for the program in order to maximize the state funds.
(4) Enterprise Florida, Inc., is limited to providing loan guarantees for loans with total loan amounts of at least $50,000 and not more than $250,000. A loan guarantee may not exceed 50 percent of the total loan amount.
(5) Enterprise Florida, Inc., may not guarantee a loan if the direct or indirect purpose or result of the loan would be to:
(a) Pay off any creditors of the applicant, including the refund of a debt owed to a small business investment company organized pursuant to 15 U.S.C. s. 681;
(b) Provide funds, directly or indirectly, for payment, distribution, or as a loan to owners, partners, or shareholders of the applicant’s business, except as ordinary compensation for services rendered;
(c) Finance the acquisition, construction, improvement, or operation of real property which is, or will be, held primarily for sale or investment;
(d) Pay for lobbying activities; or
(e) Replenish funds used for any of the purposes specified in paragraphs (a)-(d).
(6) Enterprise Florida, Inc., may not use funds appropriated from the state for costs associated with administering the guarantee program.
(7) To be eligible to receive a loan guarantee under the Microfinance Guarantee Program, a borrower must, at a minimum:
(a) Be an entrepreneur or small business located in this state;
(b) Employ 25 or fewer people;
(c) Generate average annual gross revenues of $1.5 million or less per year for the last 2 years; and
(d) Meet any additional requirements established by Enterprise Florida, Inc.
(8) By October 1 of each year, Enterprise Florida, Inc., shall submit a complete and detailed annual report to the department for inclusion in the department’s report required under s. 20.60(10). The report must, at a minimum, provide:
(a) A comprehensive description of the program, including an evaluation of its application and guarantee activities, recommendations for change, and identification of any other state programs that overlap with the program;
(b) An assessment of the current availability of and access to credit for entrepreneurs and small businesses in this state;
(c) A summary of the financial and employment results of the entrepreneurs and small businesses receiving loan guarantees, including the number of full-time equivalent jobs created as a result of the guaranteed loans and the amount of wages paid to employees in the newly created jobs;
(d) Industry data about the borrowers, including the six-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code;
(e) The name and location of lenders that receive loan guarantees;
(f) The amount of state funds received by Enterprise Florida, Inc.;
(g) The number of loan guarantee applications received;
(h) The number, duration, location, and amount of guarantees made;
(i) The number and amount of guaranteed loans outstanding, if any;
(j) The number and amount of guaranteed loans with payments overdue, if any;
(k) The number and amount of guaranteed loans in default, if any;
(l) The repayment history of the guaranteed loans made; and
(m) An evaluation of the program’s ability to meet the financial performance measures and objectives specified in subsection (3).
(9) The credit of the state or Enterprise Florida, Inc., may not be pledged except for funds appropriated by law to the Microfinance Guarantee Program. The state is not liable or obligated in any way for claims on the program or against Enterprise Florida, Inc., or the department.
1Note.—Section 56, ch. 2014-218, provides that:
“(1) The executive director of the Department of Economic Opportunity is authorized, and all conditions are deemed to be met, to adopt emergency rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54(4), Florida Statutes, for the purpose of implementing this act.
“(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the emergency rules adopted pursuant to subsection (1) remain in effect for 6 months after adoption and may be renewed during the pendency of procedures to adopt permanent rules addressing the subject of the emergency rules.
“(3) This section shall expire October 1, 2015.”