New partnership will allow organizations to strengthen support of Florida’s small businesses
ORLANDO, FL (November 12, 2013) – Today, Gray Swoope, President & CEO of Enterprise Florida (EFI); Mary Hernandez, Regional Manager for the SBA’s Export Solutions Group in the Office of International Trade in Miami; and Ed Ramos, Senior Area Manager for the SBA in Orlando participated in the signing of a Strategic Alliance Memorandum between EFI and the SBA.
The purpose of the memorandum is to develop and foster mutual understanding and a working relationship between the SBA and EFI to strengthen and expand small business development in the state. The partnership will increase the familiarity of each organization with the services offered by the other, allowing each to more efficiently and effectively assist small businesses.
As a result of this memorandum, both groups will provide resources and programs including:
- Mutually promoting international trade development events benefitting Florida’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)
- Facilitating access to SBA export finance services for EFI SME export clients
- Speakers to participate in workshops, conferences, seminars and other activities
- SBA-sponsored events and EFI-sponsored trade and development missions
- Local liaisons between EFI and the SBA
- Additional information and links to resources
Some of EFI’s most significant and effective services for small businesses are its export assistance programs. In fiscal year 2012-13, EFI conducted 5,750 export counseling assistance sessions to well over 2,000 companies statewide. EFI hosted 19 major international missions with 20 percent increased participation. Research has demonstrated that Florida companies that export grow 15 percent faster, and are more profitable and more resilient in times of domestic downturns than those that do not. Currently, more than 58,000 Florida companies export, accounting for 20 percent of all U.S. exporters.
“Small businesses are the foundation of our economy and their success is leading Florida’s continued economic recovery. We are seeing more and more small businesses start and succeed across all sectors thanks to their ingenuity,” said Swoope. “This new partnership between EFI and the SBA is incredibly important to assisting those small businesses in getting to market faster and expanding in Florida and beyond. We’re excited to be a part of this and look forward to working with the SBA and small businesses statewide.”
“By many polls and studies, the state of Florida is near the top for entrepreneurs and small business growth. Last fiscal year, the SBA approved 2,472 loans totaling more than $1.25 billion in Florida to help entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and create new jobs,” said SBA South Florida District Director Francisco “Pancho” Marrero. “Through strategic alliances such as this with Enterprise Florida, Inc., the state’s small business owners will have greater access to capital and counseling so they can reach not only national markets but global ones and, more importantly, expand their businesses and create more jobs.”
SBA North Florida District Director Wilfredo J. Gonzalez said, “Exporting remains a top priority for small businesses. Both North and South Florida SBA district offices have entered into Strategic Alliance Memorandums with resource partners to enhance export activities. This partnership with Enterprise Florida, Inc. will ensure that small business owners in this state are given additional opportunities to start or expand their exporting capabilities.”
Cooperation under this memorandum will begin upon signing and will continue for a period of two years unless otherwise terminated by one or both groups. The memorandum does not authorize the expenditure of any funds. Accordingly, it does not create any binding legal obligations between EFI and the SBA, nor shall it limit either from participating in similar activities or arrangements with other organizations.
Enterprise Florida, Inc. is a partnership between Florida's business and government leaders, and is the principal economic development organization for the State. Headquartered in Orlando, Enterprise Florida serves to expand and diversify the state’s economy through job creation. In pursuit of its mission, Enterprise Florida works closely with a statewide network of economic development partners and is funded both by the State and private-sector businesses.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. We recognize that small business is critical to our economic recovery and strength, to building America's future, and to helping the United States compete in today's global marketplace. Although SBA has grown and evolved in the years since it was established in 1953, the bottom line mission remains the same. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands and Guam.