SBDC Blog Named Top Small Business Blog, Website

Feedspot recognizes Florida SBDC at USF blog and website in #68 spot

TAMPA (December 3, 2019) – The Florida SBDC at University of South Florida blog has been named to the Top 100 Small Business Blogs and Websites to Follow in 2019 list, by Feedspot.

“We see thousands of business owners each year, helping them to grow their businesses,” Stacey Dadd, marketing and communications officer, said. “We’re pleased that we are able to provide thought leadership in the area of entrepreneurship to those clients, and many more, at no cost to them. It’s important that they have access to the endless free resources that are available to them in the Tampa Bay region.”

The Florida SBDC at University of South Florida ranked #68 on this year’s list of top small business blogs and websites.

The Florida SBDC at USF blog publishes an average of once per week, featuring tip articles for business owners, as well as success stories of clients in the 10-county Tampa Bay region, infographics, audio segments, and more. In-house professionally credentialed consultants write all content.

“We’re only able to provide this high-quality blog due to the expertise of our business consultants we have on staff from the University of South Florida, Pinellas County Economic Development and our consultants at the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County,” Dadd added.

The Florida SBDC at USF provides no-cost consulting, training and information to existing and emerging businesses in the 10-county Tampa Bay region. The Center serves entrepreneurs in Desoto, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Highlands, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Feedspot is a modern RSS Reader platform that allows users to keep up with news and content from multiple websites, in one location.

About the Florida SBDC Network: 

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy. Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 624,331 hours of professional business consulting to 58,975 client businesses, resulting in 281,831 jobs impacted; $36.7 billion in sales generated; $2.7 billion in government contracts acquired; $1.6 billion in capital accessed; and 4,520 new businesses started. A statewide network of over 40 offices, 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 is a 2016 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 www.FloridaSBDC.org.


Free Family Christmas Event Hosted by FBCH and One More Child on Dec. 14

Community Christmas Event with holiday treats, family-friendly entertainment and cottage tours.


5-7 p.m. December 14


FBCH + One More Child Joe K. Blanton Campus

1015 Sikes Blvd. Lakeland FL 33815


While it is not expected, the following gifts would be a blessing for children in our care: non-perishable food items, pajamas, socks, paper goods, personal hygiene items, and unwrapped toys.

Visit our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/OneMoreChildSince1904 and RSVP through the “Events” tab. Feel free to share with friends.


At more than 50 locations in 13 countries around the world, One More Child meets the needs of hungry children, sex trafficked children and teens, single moms, foster children and families in need of assistance. In 2018, we impacted 249,044 children and individuals locally and globally, and we provided more than 7.4 million meals.




Polk State to Celebrate 121st Commencement Dec. 12

Monday, November 29, 2019 — More than 550 students with Polk State College’s 121st graduating class will walk the stage Thursday, Dec. 12, at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland to receive their diplomas.

The commencement ceremony, which is a free ticketed event, will start at 6:30 p.m. at 701 W. Lime St.

Members of the public may redeem up to two tickets starting Dec. 2 until the ceremony has reached capacity. Information on how to redeem tickets is available online at polk.edu/academics/graduation.

The ceremony will feature remarks from Polk State President Angela Garcia Falconetti and December 2019 Distinguished Alumna Susan Copeland.

“Commencement marks a significant milestone of perseverance and success for Polk State’s students, and the College is proud to celebrate its newest graduates who will join a network of more than 50,000 alumni,” Falconetti said.  “With 70 percent of Polk State students remaining in Polk County after graduation, their success is truly our success, and I am thrilled to watch them soar to new heights as our next entrepreneurs, teachers, healthcare professionals, and more.”

A total of 1,191 students qualify to walk in the ceremony. Eighty-five percent of this semester’s graduates are Polk County residents. Polk State’s 121st graduating class includes:

  • 280 students who will receive degrees from one of the College’s baccalaureate degree programs.
    • 158 will receive the Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management
    • 13 will receive the Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Sciences
    • 65 will receive the Bachelor of Science in Nursing
    • 27 will receive the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
    • 14 will receive the Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
    • 3 will receive the Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education
  • 659 students who will receive Polk State Associate in Arts degrees, which are fully transferable to any institution within the State University System.
  • 252 students who will receive Polk State Associate in Science and Associate in Applied Science degrees, which prepare students to transition directly into the workforce in fields including nursing, engineering technology, and diagnostic medical sonography.
  • 17 students who will graduate Summa Cum Laude with grade-point averages (GPAs) of 3.9 or greater; 63 who will graduate Magna Cum Laude with GPAs between 3.75 and 3.89; and 170 who will graduate Cum Laude with GPAs between 3.5 and 3.74.
  • 17 students who will receive the College’s Honors Program distinction on their diplomas. These students have completed a minimum of 18 credit hours in courses with Honors Program designation and achieved GPAs of 3.2 or greater.
  • Graduates as young as 17 and as old as 62.
  • In addition to Florida, students from Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, District of Colombia, and China.

The College will also honor Copeland, Executive Director of the Polk Education Foundation, with the December 2019 Distinguished Alumna Award.

Copeland, an Auburndale High School graduate who achieved her Polk State Associate in Arts degree in 1986, has served Polk County Schools for 27 years. She assumed her current position in 2005 and the Polk Education Foundation has since ranked in the top 10 education foundations nationwide.

Through her work, Copeland has maintained a strong relationship with Polk State, with the Polk Education Foundation’s scholarship programs awarding approximately $50,000 annually to high school students who continue their academic journeys at the College. She has also served the Polk State College Alumni Association and the Polk State College Foundation Board.

“Susan continues to pay it forward to give students the opportunity she had to advance their education at Polk State,” Falconetti said. “Her story will instill in our graduating students the importance of giving back to their community and leading their lives with community servant hearts.”

About Polk State College

Located in Winter Haven, Florida, and established in 1964, Polk State College is a multi-campus institution serving more than 16,000 students with Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, Associate in Arts, and Associate in Science degrees, as well as a wide range of certificate and workforce training options. The College also operates three charter high schools.

Polk State’s advantages include small class sizes; hands


FSC’s Barnett School on the Princeton Review’s List of Best Business Schools for 2020

LAKELAND (November 25, 2019) – The prestigious Princeton Review has once again included the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise at Florida Southern College as one of the nation’s 248 best on-campus Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) schools in its nationally respected college guide for students and parents. This is the third consecutive year FSC has been selected for inclusion in the annual guide. Best Business Schools for 2020 was released Nov. 19.

The Princeton Review’s listing is based on data gathered from the surveys of more than 20,700 M.B.A. students, as well as school administrators.

“We recommend Florida Southern College as an excellent choice for a student aspiring to earn an M.B.A.,” said Robert Franek, editor-in-chief of The Princeton Review. Franek commended all the schools in the 2020 listing for their outstanding programs, “each of which has stellar academic offerings as well as on-campus and off-campus experiential components. Our goal is to help applicants identify, gain admission to, and succeed at the business schools best for them.

Dr. James W. Fenton, Jr., dean of the Barnett School, said The Princeton Review’s ranking of FSC’s business program is validation of the quality and engagement of students and faculty in the work they do, both in and out of the classroom. “Our excellent faculty are teacher-scholars who are experts in their chosen fields, and our curriculum is cutting-edge and experiential. We are very proud of the quality of academic programs that we deliver and the results we get.”

“It is wonderful to receive this recognition again,” said Dr. Brad Hollingshead, FSC’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “It not only speaks importantly to the quality learning experience that students can expect in our M.B.A. program, but also to the outstanding work of our faculty. They do a remarkable job of ensuring that the program remains at the forefront of business education year in and year out.”

For more information about the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise at Florida Southern College, visit www.flsouthern.edu/barnett

About Florida Southern College

Founded in 1883, Florida Southern College is the oldest private college in Florida. The College maintains its commitment to academic excellence through 70+ undergraduate programs and distinctive graduate programs in business administration, education, nursing, and physical therapy. Florida Southern has a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio; is an award-winning national leader in engaged learning; and boasts 30 NCAA Division II national championships. It is ranked among the top 10 Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report; and is included in The Princeton Review’s 385 Best Colleges, The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2018, and Forbes magazine’s America’s Top Colleges Guide. The College is committed to the development of the whole student through vibrant student life programs that prepare graduates to make a positive, consequential impact on society. FSC is conveniently located within an hour’s drive of both Orlando and Tampa. FSC is home to the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012. Named the “Most Beautiful Campus in the Nation” for two consecutive years by The Princeton Review and one of the nation’s “Ten College Campuses with the Best Architecture” by Architectural Digest, Florida Southern is an internationally-recognized place of beauty and academic excellence.


Lakeland Electric Maintains Fuel Charge Next Quarter and True-Up of Shift to Save Fuel Rate

EFFECTIVE January 1, 2020

LAKELAND, Fla. (December 3, 2019) – The Lakeland City Commission voted Monday to keep the electric fuel charge the same for Lakeland Electric customers for the next fiscal quarter (Jan./Feb./March 2020). A true-up of the Shift to Save (Time-of-Day) fuel rate was also approved.

The fuel charge will remain 3.275¢ per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Multiplying the fuel charge by 1,000 kWh, the amount an average residential home utilizes in a month, the cost equals $32.75 per 1,000 kWh for fuel.

The On Peak fuel rate for Residential and Commercial Shift to Save customers will change to 130.8% of the fuel charge, while the Off Peak fuel rate will become 86.1% of the fuel charge. Because of a lower fuel charge, the fuel rate cost to these customers is lower this year than at the same time last year.

Maintaining Lakeland Electric’s low fuel charge helps our customers keep their electric costs low. In fact, Lakeland Electric continues to have some of the lowest electric rates in the state. As with most electric utilities that generate their own power, the cost of fuel is passed directly to customers. This makes the fuel charge an important part of Lakeland Electric’s ongoing effort to keep our customer’s electric costs low.

Residential Rates Based on 1,000 kWh Current Rates – Effective January 2020
Base Charge* (see below for a breakdown of charges) $64.77 $64.77
Fuel Charge              $32.75 $32.75
TOTAL: $97.52 $97.52
 *Base Charge
Customer Charge $  11.00/month
Energy & Smart Grid Charges $50.99/1000 kWh
Environmental Charge $  2.78/1000 kWh



Shift to Save (Time-of-Day) Fuel Rate Current Rates – Effective January 2020
On Peak 118.8% 130.8%
Off Peak 91.0% 86.1%