The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Florida’s Small Business

To explore the impact of the pandemic on the state’s small businesses, the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, the Florida Chamber Foundation, and the University of West Florida Haas Center partnered to conduct a survey of Florida’s small businesses during the summer of 2020.

The impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s small businesses has been unprecedented. To understand the scope of impact of the pandemic on the state’s small businesses and the implications for Florida’s economy, the researchers first investigated the contributions of businesses with fewer than 100 employees on the state’s economy. Analysis shows that 60 percent of net new job gains in Florida since 2012 have come from small businesses with less than 100 employees, confirming the important role small businesses play in the state’s economy.

Key Highlights of the Report

– 60 percent of Florida’s net new jobs since 2012 are created by companies with fewer than 100 employees.
– 45.4 percent of respondents said they were extremely concerned about their ability to operate in the future.
– 60.8 percent of respondents revealed extreme concern over the economy.

With 2.7 million small businesses in Florida, this economic engine is crucial to Florida’s success. To highlight the growth and ongoing role small businesses play in our economic development, the Florida Chamber Foundation has added new data to track the growth of businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Visit and click on the Innovation & Economic Development icon at the top.

Report Partners

Florida SBDC Network
Since 1976, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s statutorily designated principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide small businesses the intellectual capital and business experience that enables overall business growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity. In 2019, Florida SBDCs provided 114,064 hours of professional business consulting to 12,535 client businesses, resulting in 37,966 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $496.5 million in government contracts acquired; and $255.3 million in capital accessed; and 453 new businesses started. With over 40 offices statewide, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and prestigious recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit   

The Haas Center at the University of West Florida
The Haas Center at the University of West Florida Mission: we support communities with market research, workforce development, and industrial innovation. We are known for the breadth and depth of our data resources and have been for 25 years. We provide textured, meaningful analysis to an array of customers from the public and non-profit sectors to private industry, including manufacturing. Immersive public manufacturing laboratories, like Sea3D in Pensacola’s Historic District, showcase what is possible when creative minds intersect with manufacturing and workforce partners. Our market research covers a variety of topics, including economic impact studies, consumer, and visitor profiles, as well as research on talent gaps. Our team collaborates with industry experts and university scholars to bring objective and reliable information and solutions to our customers. 

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