April 16, 2014

Resources and perspectives for Florida small businesses

Joe Catrambone, president/CEO of the Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce.

| 2/13/2012


• The Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/Leon County last year initiated an Entrepreneurial Excellence Program, a tuition-based course to help existing early-stage startup businesses and entrepreneurs with well-developed ideas for the successful launch and development of a business.

• The Tallahassee EDC in 2009 launched an International Business Development Program whose goal is to grow and diversify international business opportunities and provide leadership, counseling and advocacy on international business issues through strategic partnerships.

• Florida State University College for Business at Tallahassee is part of a network of eight national schools partnering to offer the Small Business Administration's Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, and a similar program for families of veterans with disabilities. FSU has participated in the programs since 2008, which combine online and classroom instruction.

• The SBA announced two new programs in the fall of 2011 for veterans, which complement the consulting assistance offered by the SBDC Veterans Business Outreach Center at Gulf Coast State College at Lynn Haven. New are SBA's V Wise program for female veterans in business, and Endure and Grow, for National Guard members or reservists who are in business.

— Charlotte Crane


Joe Chavarria
"It seems every small business is just trying to get by. Construction contractors have stopped dramatically. The charter boat and fishing industry and restaurants have been hard hit because of the oil spill, and that had a trickle down effect on retail, hotel, leisure. Although we've seen closures, we also have seen a rise in business startups since last year. The businesses that seem to be doing well are any type of medical business and businesses doing work with the government contractors."

— Joe Chavarria, regional director, SBDC at Gulf Coast State College, Lynn Haven (serves Bay, Gulf, Jackson, Washington, Holmes, Calhoun counties)

"Businesses closing due to the recession are generally those just starting up during the recession. We haven't seen that huge a drop."

— Karen Moore, chairman, EDC, Tallahassee (Leon County)

Karen Moore

Tom Hermanson
"I see two trends: One that correlates with the phasing out of a recession, where people begin to look forward and are starting to see an opportunity; and also one in which individuals because of high unemployment may have looked for employment elsewhere and now are evaluating a business opportunity. And we are seeing more businesses for sale as well."

— Tom Hermanson, associate director, SBDC,
Fort Walton Beach (Okaloosa and Walton counties)

"National brands or franchises seem to be doing better on the whole than local business. I would estimate that there is less than half of the business startup activity today than there was in the fall of 2006."

— Larry Strain, executive director, SBDC,
Pensacola (Escambia and Santa Rosa counties)

Larry Strain

Tags: Florida Small Business

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