FAMU SBDC Receives $3M in Federal Funding To Help Underserved Entrepreneurs Grow Their Businesses

August 08, 2023
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FAMU SBDC Receives $3M in Federal Funding To Help Underserved Entrepreneurs Grow Their Businesses

The SBDC will lead a new small business accelerator for 12 North Florida counties.Caption: The Planning Team: from left, Kara Holbert, associate director, Domi Station; Katrina Tuggerson, president, Capital City Chamber; David Teek, project director, FAMU Innovation Center; Aundra’ McGlockton, interim director, Florida Small Business Development Center at FAMU;  Beka Blair, then-communications manager, Domi Station; Robert Blacklidge, executive director, Domi Station;  Cindy Holmes, Holmes Consulting. (Credit: David Teek)

The Florida A&M University-based (FAMU) Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC at FAMU) received $3 million as part of the Biden administration’s Capital Readiness Program (CRP) initiative to promote small and minority owned businesses.

The grant, combined with $1 million in FAMU matching funds, will be used to establish the Florida Panhandle Capital Readiness Collaborative (FPCRC) to provide technical assistance and programs across 12 counties to help underserved entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses.

The FSBDC at FAMU is one 43 non-profit and community-based organizations, private sector entities, and institutions of higher education to be selected for grants from more than 1,000 applicants nationally. As part of the initiative, the FSBDC at FAMU will be forming partnerships to assist and train underserved entrepreneurs seeking resources, tools, and support to start or scale their businesses in high-growth, high-wage industries such as healthcare, climate resilient technology, asset management, infrastructure, and more.

“FAMU welcomes the opportunity to help empower entrepreneurs and stimulate economic initiatives among underserved communities in North Florida,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. “This initiative is consistent with our goal to drive innovation on campus, and economic development in local communities and across the state.”  

The award from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) was announced by Vice President Kamala Harris at a White House “Investing in America: Small Business” event on August 4. 

“President Biden and I firmly believe that for America’s economy to be strong, America’s small businesses must be strong. I am proud to announce that we will invest an additional $125 million in small businesses across our country through a national network of small business incubators and accelerators,” said Harris.

The FPCRC will serve both small businesses interested in expansion and individuals seeking to start a new business, providing multiple entry points exist for businesses to participate in one-on-one coaching, workshops, bootcamps, and a six-month business development course. The project is a partnership with Domi Station, the Capital City Chamber, the Big Bend Minority Chamber and the University of West Florida’s (UWF) SBDC providing access to microlending programs and other specialized services, including business tax preparation seminars, assistance in becoming certified as a minority business to pursue both local and Federal contract opportunities, and access to mentors.

FPCRC expects to enroll 100 Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Individuals (SEDI) participants in the first year of operation, growing that number each year. At the end of the four-year period, the FPCRC team will have enrolled an additional 1,000 SEDI entrepreneurs, generating 750 graduates, with a minimum of 700 businesses started or scaled.


“We are grateful for this opportunity to assist our community’s small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups in seeking and securing the necessary capital for business formation and expansion,” said FSBDC at FAMU Interim Director Aundra’ McGlockton. “The program partnership and collaboration plan will combine the strengths of our organizations to create new pathways to business success.”

The FAMU SBDC currently serves eight of the proposed counties, including Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Liberty, Leon, Madison, Taylor, and Wakulla. Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, and Jackson are expansion counties and will be served by the UWF SBDC, as it already serves those counties.

The SBDC staff provides technical assistance during every phase of the business life cycle. The improvements that result from our direct support of our client’s activities lead to job creation, investments, and economic growth for communities throughout northwest Florida.

The Capital Readiness Program is a $125 million technical assistance program to help underserved entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses. Awardees will launch and operate business incubators or accelerators designed to prepare underserved entrepreneurs to secure capital from the historic $10 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) and other capital sources.

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is the only federal government agency dedicated solely to supporting the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises. The MBDA’s Capital Readiness Program is funded by the Department of Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) and was reauthorized under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.