Category Archives: Community Info & Events

YEA! Polk Graduate Logan Soria, CEO of Stand Up!, Pitches to Investors


LAKELAND, FLORIDA (June 13, 2017) — The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is recruiting students for the Polk County chapter, only the fifth chapter in Florida, for the 2017-2018 school year.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a 30-week program for students, ages 11-18, where students start and run their own business and form connections with community leaders. The program will feature guest speakers from businesses and five field trips.

The program has three main sections: the big idea, the pitch and the launch. In the big idea phase, students brainstorm ideas, explore their passions, and learn how to evaluate a business opportunity.

The pitch will be a five-minute presentation by the students to an investors’ panel, which is made up of sponsors. During the launch phase, students will open bank accounts and file for legal fictitious names. The students will display their products at a trade show in May 2018. LkldTV captures the magic of the program in their video from this year’s trade show

A recent graduate of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, 18-year-old Logan Soria, CEO/Owner of Stand Up!, shares his experience, “You are going to go through a part-time business boot camp. That isn’t something you should be afraid of. As an entrepreneur, you have to embrace the barriers ahead – whether it be a lack of knowledge, funds, or ability. Trust me, if you try your best, you will make it through those hard times and you will be rewarded by your success.”

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce chapter will accept up to 20 students; the early application deadline is June 30. Classes will take place 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Southeastern University beginning in October.

The tuition for the program is $595, but there are some need-based scholarships available. The program offers the opportunity to participate in the YEA! Saunders Scholars Competition with the chance to win college scholarships.

The application for the Polk County program is available at

To learn more about YEA! visit, or for information on our local chapter, please visit at, or contact Rebecca Fortier at (863) 688-8551 ext. 229 or by email at  The YEA! Polk Sponsors and the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce are helping to build the next generation of business leaders in Polk County.

Lakeland Chamber of Commerce

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce represents 1,400 member businesses in the Lakeland area and provides opportunities for networking, professional development and advocacy for companies of all sizes. Five-Star Accredited by the US Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber upholds the following vision and mission statements:

Vision Statement:  The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce will be the premier catalyst for the advancement of Lakeland’s economic growth and enhancement of quality of life– creating Florida’s community of choice.

Mission Statement:  The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce is the leading organization dedicated to creating a climate where business can prosper.

 The Young Entrepreneurs Academy

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a 501(C) 3 offering groundbreaking year-long classes that teach middle and high school students how to start and run their own businesses. Throughout the class, students develop business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch their plans to a panel of investors for startup funds, and launch and run their own, fully formed companies and social movements. The project-based program empowers students to take charge of their futures. Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, YEA! today serves thousands of students nationwide. In 2011, the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation became a national sponsor and partner of the Academy to help celebrate the spirit of enterprise among today’s youth and tomorrow’s future leaders. YEA! bridges the business and educational communities to fulfill its mission of teaching more students how to make a job, not just take a job. YEA! is made possible by The Kauffman Foundation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the E. Philip Saunders Foundation. For more information, visit

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness and educating the public on how the free enterprise system improves society and the economy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.



publix field

Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium Seeks “Best of the Ballparks” Designation

The Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium needs your vote! Only one day left! Please show your community pride and vote for Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium as the BEST Ballpark! Our Lakeland stadium has made it to the final four and needs your vote to win! You can make a difference with a daily vote.

Welcome to Best of the Ballparks, High-A! You don’t need to login to vote: Just click on your preferences. If you do login, you’ll automatically be added to the Ballpark Digest newsletter list, where you can track all the results in this competition.publix field



The City of Lakeland is pleased to announce that the T.Mims Corporation’s Red, White & Kaboom Independence Celebration will take place at Lake Mirror along the Frances Langford Promenade on Friday, July 3rd from 6:00 – 9 p.m. with live music and ending with a dazzling fireworks display.

Clemons Road features an extremely talented and charismatic front man, Grammy award winning music producer Cliff Brown on lead vocals and guitar.  He is backed by a formidable group of highly talented and seasoned professional band members that are ready to light up the stage!  Their sound includes fiddle, banjo, piano, guitar, bass and drums that will keep the audience dancing and having a great time.   Brown said, “We want to be a band that crosses cultures and breaks age barriers. We want to make people feel good and give them songs to use for the soundtrack of their lives. We can’t wait to play before the Lakeland crowd at Red, White & Kaboom.”

Tom Mims, President of T. Mims Corporation said, “We are very excited to sponsor Red, White & Kaboom again this year.  It is an excellent opportunity for our community to come together in celebration of our great country and it is free to the public.” Mims added, “We will be continuing our Chow for Now canned food drive to benefit Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE) so we want each spectator to bring at least one can of food for VISTE.” There will be Chow for Now volunteers with grocery carts circulating through the park collecting canned goods.

VISTE is a community-based, non-profit organization serving Lakeland, Bartow, Mulberry and Ft. Meade. Established in 1983, the primary goal of VISTE is to enable frail elderly persons to continue living independently and safely in their own home.

During Red, White & Kaboom there will be a variety of food trucks around Lake Mirror so bring a blanket, your appetite and enjoy the festivities celebrating our great nation.  All City parking garages will be open for T.Mims Corporation’s Red, White & Kaboom.


Bartow Retail Academy to teach business owners marketing and sales tactics

Polk County business owners are invited to learn new marketing and sales tactics for their small businesses at the Bartow Retail Academy, beginning June 9 at DMAR Business Center, 300 East Summerlin Street, Bartow. The Academy, presented by Main Street Bartow, Greater Bartow Chamber, Bartow CRA and the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida, will include four seminars for just $120.

Businesses in the Bartow CRA District qualify for a scholarship and can register by calling Main Street Bartow at (863) 519-0508 or Greater Bartow Chamber at       (863) 533-7125.

“As we work to enhance the business community in downtown, providing business focused education is a priority for Main Street Bartow, Inc.,” Laura Mills Simpson, Executive Director of Main Street Bartow, said. “We are excited to partner with the CRA, the Bartow Chamber, and SBDC to present the Retail Academy. This series is tailored to local business owners with a focus on business trends in engaging with local consumers and successful implementation techniques.”

The Bartow Retail Academy Series includes the following seminars:
Marketing Your Business – June 9, 2015, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

You know why your business rocks. Does anyone else? Take this class to uncover the characteristics that make up your business’ DNA. Soon, you’ll be able to boost consumer loyalty and company profits. After answering the two most important questions in all of marketing, you’ll be ready to skillfully implement customer-winning strategies and face the competition. SBDC Quick Tip: Marketing Your Business is a must-take class to attend before launching that website, product or new business!

Merchandising and Customer Service – June 16, 2015, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

What does your customer see when they walk through the door? Learn how to optimize the buying experience utilizing best practices in product placement, promotions, curb appeal and more. This seminar will cover:

• Signage
• Selling space
• In-store promotions
• Metrics

The seminar will be in two parts with additional time for question and answer sessions and a break.

Advertising Your Business – June 30, 2015, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Why, when, and where to advertise. The participant will learn how to:

• Create a successful ad
• Write powerful headlines
• Write effective advertising copy
• Use words that move people to action
• Design good, simple layouts

Ignite Your Online Marketing – July 7, 2015, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Stuck in “the web?” Online marketing doesn’t have to be so frustrating. Learn how to take advantage of incredible online marketing tools from a Google-qualified professional. This interactive two-part seminar serves as a comprehensive overview of what it takes to have a successful online presence. Part I introduces attendees to the vast opportunities for marketing on the web. Part II features an introduction to specific Google resources that can help you get found and attract customers – many of which are free!

Online registration is open to all small business owners. Businesses in the Bartow CRA District register by calling Main Street Bartow at (863) 519-0508 or Greater Bartow Chamber at (863) 533-7125.


Chamber Member Wins People’s Choice Award at Mayfaire

Longtime Lakeland resident and Chamber member Victor Prebor III, won the People’s Choice award in his second Mayfaire appearance this past weekend.

Victor Prebor III, an architect with Lunz Prebor Fowler Architects, was the recipient of the MidFlorida Mayfaire by-the-Lake 2015 Peoples’s Choice award for his mixed media piece.

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