Founded by the State of Florida in 1983 and licensed since 1984 by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as Florida’s Original Statewide Certified Development Company, Florida First Capital is chartered for the primary purpose of advancing the economic development and general welfare of the citizens of Florida by promoting and assisting the growth and development of small business concerns within the state.
In 1988, Florida First Capital contracted with the Florida Department of Commerce to provide SBA trained and qualified staff for the operation of its SBA 504 Loan Program. In 1996, upon the dissolution of the Department of Commerce, Florida First Capital contracted with the state’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development and with the Capital Development Board of Enterprise Florida to provide its staffing and management services.
In 1997, at the request of the Florida First Capital Board of Directors, the Florida Legislature approved a proposal for Florida First Capital to leave the state budget and become financially self-sufficient, providing for an initial state contribution of capital followed by a transition to self-sufficiency and an end to state financial support.
Since leaving the state budget, Florida First Capital, a nonprofit corporation, has achieved its goal of self sufficiency, greatly increased loan volume each year, and been recognized by the SBA for its increased capability and lending activity and its lending assistance to minority, rural and women-owned small businesses. In late 2016, Florida First Capital expanded its operations beyond the state of Florida to include eligible small businesses located in Baldwin, Covington, Escambia and Mobile counties in South Alabama and Camden, Charlton, Seminole and Thomas counties in South Georgia. In July of 2018, the SBA approved the company’s multi-state expansion request to offer the SBA 504 Loan Program to all eligible small businesses throughout the state of Alabama.