Section 288.9618, Florida Statutes 2009
(1) Subject to specific appropriations in the General Appropriations Act, the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development may contract with some appropriate not-for-profit or governmental organization for any action that the office deems necessary to foster the development of microenterprises in the state. As used within this section, microenterprises are extremely small business enterprises which enable low and moderate income individuals to achieve self-sufficiency through self-employment. Microenterprise programs are those which provide at least one of the following: small amounts of capital, business training, and technical assistance. Where feasible, the office or organizations under contract with the office shall work in cooperation with other organizations active in the study and support of microenterprises. Such actions may include, but are not limited to:
(a) Maintaining a network of communication and coordination among existing microenterprise lending and assistance programs throughout the state.
(b) Providing information and technical help to community-based or regional organizations attempting to establish new microenterprise programs.
(c) Encouraging private sector investment in microenterprises and microenterprise lending programs.
(d) Fostering mentoring and networking relationships among microenterprises and other businesses and public bodies in order to give microenterprises access to management advice and business leads.
(e) Incorporating microenterprise components into the capital development programs and other business development programs operated by Enterprise Florida, Inc., and its affiliates.
(f) Providing organizational, financial, and marketing support for conferences, workshops, or similar events that focus on microenterprise development.
(g) Establishing a program and guidelines for the award of matching grants on a competitive basis to support the operational expenses of not-for-profit organizations and government agencies that are engaged in microenterprise lending and other microenterprise assistance activities.
(h) Coordinating with other organizations to ensure that participants in the WAGES Program are given opportunities to create microenterprises.
(2) The office shall adopt guidelines for administering the program and shall establish criteria for the competitive evaluation of applications for funding. The office shall establish performance measures for this program prior to providing grant moneys to any entity and shall report such measures to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
History.--s. 40, ch. 97-278; s. 43, ch. 99-251.