Florida Propels U.S. to Surpass China in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Certifications

Press release from the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that more than 7,500 students have earned an entrepreneurship and small business (ESB) certification between July 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022. Due to Florida’s leadership (accounting for nearly 30 percent of all certifications nationwide), the United States has now surpassed China in the number of ESB examinations delivered between January 2021 and March 2022, totaling 25,754 exams compared to China’s 16,199. Supporting access to ESB certifications is a part of Florida’s goal to be the best state in the nation for workforce education by 2030.

This represents the largest number of ESB certifications in the state’s history and now makes Florida #1 in the nation for achieving the globally recognized credential. Governor DeSantis has supported entrepreneurship and small business education throughout his time in office, including keeping Florida open over the past two years.

“Florida’s economy depends on entrepreneurship and successful small businesses, and we know that freedom is the best way to achieve economic success, contrary to the philosophy of the Chinese Communist Party,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Florida is committed to being the best place to do business, and it is by supporting manufacturing and business-friendly policies that this country can continue to surpass China on all fronts. The rest of the nation should take note that this is how you place the U.S. back as a leader on the world stage.”

As of January 16, 2022, the number of small businesses opening in Florida increased by 9.7 percent compared to January 2020, with total small business revenue also increasing during the period. Florida leads the nation in business formations, increasing by 61% since 2019. In 2021, Florida saw 114,000 more new businesses than second-place state California, despite having a population that is 40% larger than Florida.

“Governor DeSantis has been focused on helping students access a quality workforce education since day one,” said Interim Commissioner of Education Jacob Oliva. “While we know our workforce programs are unmatched in terms of their ability to train for needed industry skills, it is also important that students graduate as critical thinkers and value creators. The fact that Florida is number 1 in the nation for ESB certifications is just more evidence that our approach to workforce education is working and that Florida is positioned for success for years to come.”

“Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ leadership, students across the state are investing in their future by earning their entrepreneurship and small business certifications,” said Secretary Dane Eagle. “Florida’s small businesses are the backbone of all communities and help support Florida’s positive economic growth. I am proud to see our state’s small businesses continue to succeed and strengthen Florida’s workforce for the future.”

The ESB certification is a test that validates the foundational-level concepts and knowledge involved in being an entrepreneur and a small business owner. These core concepts include recognizing and evaluating market opportunities, de-risking ideas, financial management, and knowing where and how to seek out venture capital opportunities. Teaching entrepreneurship concepts and skills supports the sustained growth of Florida’s economy for generations to come.

Scaling access to the ESB certification is a part of the Florida Department of Education’s (FDOE) larger initiative around entrepreneurship education and training. In 2020, Governor DeSantis approved Florida’s Perkins V State Plan, committing the state to creating a robust entrepreneurial statewide ecosystem through its career and technical education programs. In 2020 and in 2021, the FDOE awarded nearly $3.6 million to Florida’s school districts, technical colleges, and Florida College System institutions to expand entrepreneurial learning and training.

The ESB certification is a globally recognized industry credential sponsored by Intuit that was added to FDOE’s Career and Professional Education (CAPE) List in early 2021. When paired with Intuit’s Design Thinking certification, Florida students will receive a Master Certification in Entrepreneurship, indicating an even greater understanding of core business principles. In addition, all certifications can articulate into college credit at any of the state’s Florida College System institutions.