(1) The Black Business Loan Program is established in the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development. Under the program, the office shall annually certify eligible recipients and subsequently disburse funds appropriated by the Legislature, through such eligible recipients, to black business enterprises that cannot obtain capital through conventional lending institutions but that could otherwise compete successfully in the private sector.
(2) The office shall establish an application and annual certification process for entities seeking funds to participate in providing loans, loan guarantees, or investments in black business enterprises pursuant to the Florida Black Business Investment Act. The office shall process all applications and recertifications submitted by June 1 on or before July 31.
(3) If the Black Business Loan Program is appropriated any funding in a fiscal year, the office shall distribute an equal amount of the appropriation, calculated as the total annual appropriation divided by the total number of program recipients certified on or before July 31 of that fiscal year.
(4) To be eligible to receive funds and provide loans, loan guarantees, or investments under this section, a recipient must:
(a) Be a corporation registered in the state.
(b) For an existing recipient, annually submit to the office a financial audit performed by an independent certified public account for the most recently completed fiscal year, which audit does not reveal any material weaknesses or instances of material noncompliance.
(c) For a new recipient:
1. Demonstrate that its board of directors includes citizens of the state experienced in the development of black business enterprises.
2. Demonstrate that the recipient has a business plan that allows the recipient to operate in a manner consistent with ss. 288.707-288.714 and the rules of the office.
3. Demonstrate that the recipient has the technical skills to analyze and evaluate applications by black business enterprises for loans, loan guarantees, or investments.
4. Demonstrate that the recipient has established viable partnerships with public and private funding sources, economic development agencies, and workforce development and job referral networks.
5. Demonstrate that the recipient can provide a private match equal to 20 percent of the amount of funds provided by the office.
(d) For an existing or new recipient, agree to maintain the recipient’s books and records relating to funds received by the office according to generally accepted accounting principles and in accordance with the requirements of s. 215.97(7) and to make those books and records available to the office for inspection upon reasonable notice. (5) Each eligible recipient must meet the provisions of ss. 288.707-288.714, the terms of the contract between the recipient and the office, and any other applicable state or federal laws. An entity may not receive funds under ss. 288.707-288.714 unless the entity meets annual certification requirements.
(6) Upon approval by the office and before release of the funds as provided in this section, the office shall issue a letter certifying the applicant as qualified for an award. The office and the applicant shall enter into an agreement that sets forth the conditions for award of the funds. The agreement must include the total amount of funds awarded; the performance conditions that must be met once the funding has been awarded, including, but not limited to, compliance with all of the requirements of this section for eligible recipients of funds under this section; and sanctions for failure to meet performance conditions, including any provisions to recover awards.
(7) The office, in consultation with the board, shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement this section. (8) A black business investment corporation certified by the office as an eligible recipient under this section is authorized to use funds appropriated for the Black Business Loan Program in any of the following forms:
(a) Purchases of stock, preferred or common, voting or nonvoting; however, no more than 40 percent of the funds may be used for direct investments in black business enterprises;
(b) Loans or loan guarantees, with or without recourse, in either a subordinated or priority position; or
(c) Technical support to black business enterprises, not to exceed 9 percent of the funds received, and direct administrative costs, not to exceed 12 percent of the funds received.
(9) It is the intent of the Legislature that if any one type of investment mechanism authorized in subsection (8) is held to be invalid, all other valid mechanisms remain available.
(10) All loans, loan guarantees, and investments, and any income related thereto, shall be used to carry out the public purpose of ss. 288.707-288.714, which is to develop black business enterprises. This subsection does not preclude a reasonable profit for the participating black business investment corporation or for return of equity developed to the state and participating financial institutions upon any distribution of the assets or excess income of the investment corporation.