2011 Florida Statutes
Small business advocate.
Small business advocate.
288.7002 Small business advocate.—
(a) “Advocate” means the Florida Small Business Advocate, who is also the Director of the Office of Small Business Advocate.
(b) “Director” means the Director of the Office of Small Business Advocate.
(c) “Office” means the Office of Small Business Advocate.
(2) OFFICE OF SMALL BUSINESS ADVOCATE.—The Office of Small Business Advocate is established, assigned to, and administratively housed within the Florida Small Business Development Center Network. The director shall be the Florida Small Business Advocate.
(3) DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF SMALL BUSINESS ADVOCATE; APPOINTMENT; DUTIES.—
(a) The advocate shall be selected by the director of the Florida Small Business Development Center Network and shall be an employee of or under contract with the Florida Small Business Development Center Network. Preferred qualifications for the advocate include at least 5 years’ experience in small business, extensive knowledge of the issues and challenges of importance to small business, and actual experience in small business advocacy and assistance.
(b) The duties and functions of the advocate shall include the following:
1. Act as staff for the Small Business Regulatory Advisory Council.
2. Serve as principal advocate in the state on behalf of small businesses, including, but not limited to, advisory participation in the consideration of all legislation and administrative rules that affect small businesses and advocacy on state policy and programs related to small businesses on disaster preparedness and recovery, including providing technical assistance.
3. Represent the views and interests of small businesses before agencies whose policies and activities may affect small businesses. Among other activities, the advocate may encourage standardized applications and information packages that would include all the information needed by each agency that a business has to deal with to prevent an applicant from having to fill out duplicative information on forms from various agencies.
4. Enlist the cooperation and assistance of public and private agencies, businesses, and other organizations in disseminating information about the programs and services provided by all levels of government that are of benefit to small businesses and information on how small businesses can participate in, or make use of, those programs and services.
5. Issue a report every 2 years evaluating the efforts of agencies that significantly regulate small businesses, to assist minority and other small business enterprises and to make recommendations that may be appropriate to assist the development and strengthening of minority and other small business enterprises.
6. Consult with experts and authorities in the fields of small business investment, venture capital investment, and commercial banking and other comparable financial institutions involved in the financing of business; with individuals with regulatory, legal, economic, or financial expertise, including members of the academic community; and with individuals who generally represent the public interest.
7. Seek the assistance and cooperation of all agencies and departments providing services to, or affecting, small business, to ensure coordination of state efforts.
8. Receive and respond to complaints from small businesses concerning the actions of agencies and the operative effects of state laws and regulations adversely affecting those businesses. The advocate shall establish an annual process for small businesses to nominate agency rules or programs for reform. The advocate shall publish those nominations online and update the status of agency action on the proposed reforms twice yearly.
9. Counsel small businesses on how to resolve questions and problems concerning the relationship of small business to state government.
10. Maintain, publicize, and distribute an annual list of persons serving as small business ombudsmen throughout state government.
11. Coordinate a statewide conference on small business with public and private organizations and entities impacting small business in the state.
12. Coordinate annual public meetings to share best practices for small business disaster preparedness. The meetings shall be held in consultation with regional and statewide small business organizations and shall take place in different locations throughout the state.
(4) REPORTS, DOCUMENTS, AND INFORMATION FURNISHED TO THE SMALL BUSINESS ADVOCATE; ANNUAL REPORTS.—
(a) Each agency of the state shall furnish to the advocate the reports, documents, and information that are public records and that the director deems necessary to carry out his or her functions under this chapter.
(b) The advocate shall prepare and submit a written annual report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives that describes the activities and recommendations of the office.
History.—s. 3, ch. 2008-149.