FIU Business Now Magazine
Center at FIU Business is Hub for $2.5 Million Small Business Program

Center at FIU Business is Hub for $2.5 Million Small Business Program

FIU has received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration's Community Navigator Pilot Program. The funds are earmarked for improving underserved entrepreneurs' access to government programs that provide assistance in launching a new venture, growing a business or managing unexpected business interruptions.

Miami-Dade Business NavigatorThe Miami-Dade Business Navigator program will focus on small businesses, including microbusinesses with fewer than 10 employees, as well as businesses owned by women, veterans and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

"This grant is a game changer to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Miami-Dade County for underserved small businesses," said Brian Van Hook, regional director of the Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) at FIU Business. "It will help break down long-standing programmatic silos among the small business providers and spur entrepreneurship in our community." The FSBDC at FIU Business will serve as the hub of the program and will work with six Miami-Dade organizations:

  • Ascendus, a community development financial institution assisting small business owners, especially minorities, women and immigrants, with capital and financial literacy;

  • Branches, a community organization active in southern and northern Miami-Dade focused on microbusinesses;
  • Economic Development Council of South Miami-Dade, a nonprofit economic development organization representing municipalities and business organizations in southern Miami-Dade County;
  • Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce, the oldest Black chamber of commerce in South Florida, which provides training, networking and consulting for Black, minorityand women-owned businesses;
  • Prospera, an economic development nonprofit specializing in providing bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs trying to establish or expand their businesses;
  • StartUP FIU Procurement, a university-based incubator program for minority-owned businesses seeking procurement opportunities.

Together, they will provide one-on-one assistance in the areas of business development, access to capital and financial assistance, contracting and procurement, as well as training, guidance in selecting resources, and networking opportunities.

"The Community Navigator Pilot Program is a critical tool for supporting the unique needs of our businesses owned by women, veterans and economically disadvantaged individuals," said Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee. "I am so excited to see this new program benefit the Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) at FIU. This SBDC has been a crucial resource for my office as we continue to assist small business owners all over the 27th district."