The Florida Development Finance Corporation (“FDFC”) was conceived through the efforts of the Enterprise Florida Capital Partnership (“EFCP”), whereby the newly created Enterprise Florida (”EFI”) would be a public-private partnership to address the needs outlined in a report by the Florida Department of Commerce and the Florida Chamber of Commerce title “Cornerstone”. The goal was to create 200,000 jobs at higher than average wage levels. The four main areas of focus would include i) the commercialization of university research and development, ii) job training, iii) access to capital (known as the “Capital Partnership”) and iv) distribution systems.
The Capital Partnership brought together key industry leaders to lead and secure funding regarding i) seed capital investment, ii) venture capital, iii) cost effective private placement offerings for small manufacturers, iv) debt-based financing, v) micro-business lending and vi) export-import financing. The FDFC would address private placement offerings and debt-based financings.
The FDFC was formed by the Florida Development Finance Corporation Act of 1993 and is designated as a state-wide, special development financing authority for economic development purposes. Its purpose is to assist new and existing businesses and organizations (for-profit and not-for-profit) with access to capital through financings that promote business activity, job creation, and an improved standard of living for the citizens of Florida.
The FDFC is governed by a Board of Directors (“FDFC Board” or the “Board”) that are appointed by the Executive Office of the Governor. There are five (5) Director seats with three (1) reserved for bankers, one (1) for an economic development specialist and one (1) open seat. Each Director serves a 4-year staggered term. The day-to-day operation of the FDFC is overseen by the Executive Director. The administration of the FDFC was provided entirely by EFI staff until Board action in April 2016 provided that the FDFC would have its own staff dedicated 100% to the programs it provided.
The first meeting was held on February 5, 1994. On April 12, 1994, Orange County executed its first Interlocal Agreement. After finding an initial borrower on July 28, 1994, the FDFC began the bond validation process, which was completed on February 9, 1995. The first bond issuance closed on May 23, 1997.
Initial market research completed in 1992 indicated that the FDFC would complement the activities of the Florida commercial banking industry by providing access to loans for 10-15 years with fixed interest rates at a competitive price to good quality customers looking to borrow between $500,000 and $1,500,000. Over time, the capital markets changed and the FDFC expanded the type of borrowers, lengthened the maturity date of its bonds and issued a variety of qualified bond projects. As of April 1, 2017, the FDFC has issued over $1.35 Billion in tax-exempt and taxable bonds for over 95 different Florida businesses through over 75 bond transactions.