Category Archives: Business News

26Jun/18
2018VendorDay

Visit the 9th Annual Polk County Business Expo

LAKELAND, FL (June 26, 2018) – Every year, Vendor’s Day attracts large crowds from across Central Florida. It is an event where vendors come together to promote their products in a trade show, preceded by business seminars and breakfast. Now in its 9th year and renamed the Polk County Business Expo, it has continued to give vendors a place to showcase their product as well as giving attendees a chance to attend free business seminars.

The event begins with registration and breakfast at 7:30 AM. After that, participants may attend a business seminar of their choice. Lunch is provided after the seminars for all attendees. Most importantly, at the end there is a trade show event with tables set up by the registered vendors. The trade show allows participants to scout for services they may need and allows vendors to market to a large amount of business-minded people.

Cedric Joseph, Director of the Office of Supplier Diversity for Polk County, organizes this event every year with the hopes of bringing small businesses together. This year’s free seminars being offered are titled, “Anything is Possible, Raise the Standards,” “Navigating the Tax Minefield,” and “Five Secrets of doing Business with Polk County and the State of Florida”.

Attending the Expo is free, but registration is required to attend. If you would like to attend as a vendor, vendor registration is $100 for a table at the trade show. Register quickly, as registration for vendors is filling up quickly.

The event is being held at the Polk State College Lakeland Campus in Room 1100 on July 27th, 2018. To register, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-polk-county-business-expo-tickets-46153218519. If you are a small business looking to make contacts with companies throughout Central Florida, there is no better place to do it than the 9th Annual Polk County Business Expo.

For additional information, please contact Cedric Joseph, Director, Supplier Diversity, Polk County Board of County Commissioners, at (863) 534-5959 or by email at CedricJoseph@polk-county.net.

2018VendorDay

22May/18
Young Entrepreneurs Academy III (2017-18) at 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports field trip. From L to R:  Mark Van Wagenen, Manager, 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports; Sachin Sivakumar; Skyler Hollinger; Alexander Thomas; Om Tarapawala; Angel Mendez (in back); Warin Ding; Shelby Claville; Grant Gable; Luke Shamoun; and, Mark Scolnick, Central Florida SCORE.

LOCAL YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS ACADEMY IV RECRUITING STUDENTS FOR 2018-19

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (May 22, 2018) — The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is recruiting students for the fourth class of the Polk County chapter for the 2018-2019 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 direct mission of the Academy is to help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity and talents, and view entrepreneurship as synonymous with success and freedom. The Academy teaches kids to believe in themselves, to think big, and to understand that they can achieve anything they set their minds to. In the process, students learn as much about leadership and self-empowerment as they do about planning, budgeting, and production. Students in the Academy discover in themselves confidence, optimism, and capabilities they never knew they had.

Alexander Thomas, graduate of the 2017-18 class and owner of Aerial Perspective, shares his experience at the Academy, “I have had a great time participating in YEA! Polk this year. I have learned the starting principles of how to develop, run, and manage a business. The business I founded, Aerial Perspective Drone Services, is advancing significantly. On April 4th, I pitched my business idea to the YEA! Shark Tank investors and I received $1,300. With the awarded cash I purchased the business’ first drone! During the weeks following the student business presentations, we had several guest speakers. Ms. Dawn Decaminada from Polk County Small Business spoke to us about what the government can do for small businesses. Also Mr. Mark Van Wagenen led us on a tour of 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports. My fellow students and I got to ‘jump’ after the tour! My class and I have also learned about advertising, marketing, taxes, banking, and continuity and exit strategies. We also met three people representing the media (The Ledger, Spectrum Bay News 9, and Hall Communications, who spoke to us about press releases and how to interview with a reporter. On May 15th six students, including me, set up booths for a Trade Show event hosted by the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce at the RP Funding Center. I was able to get several leads and received a lot of encouragement and advice. I am looking forward to running Aerial Perspective Drone Services to the best of my ability.”

Young Entrepreneurs Academy III (2017-18) at 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports field trip. From L to R:  Mark Van Wagenen, Manager, 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports; Sachin Sivakumar; Skyler Hollinger; Alexander Thomas; Om Tarapawala; Angel Mendez (in back); Warin Ding; Shelby Claville; Grant Gable; Luke Shamoun; and, Mark Scolnick, Central Florida SCORE.

Young Entrepreneurs Academy III (2017-18) at 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports field trip. From L to R:  Mark Van Wagenen, Manager, 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports; Sachin Sivakumar; Skyler Hollinger; Alexander Thomas; Om Tarapawala; Angel Mendez (in back); Warin Ding; Shelby Claville; Grant Gable; Luke Shamoun; and, Mark Scolnick, Central Florida SCORE.

A graduate of the 2016-17 Young Entrepreneurs Academy, Logan Soria, CEO/Owner of Stand Up!, comments on the program, “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, 2018 and guarantees interviews for all applicants. The final application deadline is August 24, 2018, and students may be placed on a waiting list.

Classes will take place 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Southeastern University beginning in October.

The tuition for the program is $495, and there are need-based scholarships available.

The application for the Polk County program is available at http://www.lakelandchamber.com/pages/YEA or http://yeausa.org/. For questions or additional information, please contact Rebecca Fortier at (863) 688-8551 ext. 229, or by email at rfortier@lakelandchamber.com

Media about our local Academy https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4779nhjk7576kez/AADk7CvpASvWxl34F6kah9hza?dl=0

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Polk Sponsors and the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce are helping to build the next generation of business leaders in Central Florida.

Premier Sponsors:

Lakeland Chamber Foundation

Jannetides College of Business & Entrepreneurial Leadership at Southeastern University

Investor Panel Sponsors:

Allen & Company of Florida, Inc.

Publix Super Markets, Inc.

SunTrust Bank

Scholarship Sponsors:

Citrus Center Kiwanis

Maximize Digital Media

Mulberry Community Service Center

Suncoast Credit Union Foundation

Community Sponsors:

Gary S Claville Trust

Got Candy & More Food Truck

 ###

Lakeland Chamber of Commerce

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 yeausa.org.

11May/18

Leadership Lakeland Graduates 30 From Class XXXV

IMG_2082With leadership from Class XXXV Chair Timothy B. Darby (Darby Law Group, P.A.) and Chair-Elect Michelle B. Ledford (MADE), 30 participants officially graduated on Thursday, May 10, 2018. More than 130 alumni and friends attended the invitation-only Leadership Lakeland Graduation & Banquet at the RP Funding Center. Beginning in August, the class members undertook a rigorous schedule including overnight and full-day programs to immerse themselves in the community and in the development of leadership skills. Congratulations to the graduates of Leadership Lakeland Class XXXV:

  • Margarita Alfaro, NuJak Companies
  • Teresa Fay Aman, Watson Clinic LLP
  • Daniel Jay Berman, Alliance for Independence
  • Lisa K. Birket, True MD
  • Jessica Brown, Hall Communications, Inc.
  • Joshua Keith Brown, Peterson & Myers, P.A.
  • Anthony C. Camarillo, RP Funding Center/City of Lakeland
  • Ashley Cheek, Lakeland Economic Development Council
  • Julie A. Davis, Baylis & Company PA
  • Danielle Fogel, Publix Super Markets, Inc.
  • Alison M. Foley-Rothrock, Esq., Foley Immigration Law/Red Tent Initiative
  • Caroline Gay, Lakeland Regional Health
  • Louis Santo Giampavolo, Polk County Sheriff’s Office
  • Mary Catherine Green, Tenth Judicial Circuit
  • Paul “Sean” Harper, Harper Little Construction Mgmt/WebPro Realty, LLC
  • Marshall Hurley, Createch Machine and Design
  • Eunice Martinez Hutto, Southeastern University
  • Billy Clifton Langston II, Florida Southern College
  • Kristen Lowers, Saddle Creek Logistics Services
  • Lucas Dean Martin, Floralawn
  • Kevin M. McWilliams, Ameriprise Financial
  • Brandt William Merritt, First Presbyterian Church of Lakeland
  • LaTrice Moore, D.B.A., Polk State College
  • J. Scott Reed, Pilka & Associates, P.A.
  • William E. Roll, Jr., Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.
  • Amy Hammack Royal, GiveWell Community Foundation
  • M. Kimberly Schell, Parker Street Ministries, Inc.
  • Shukethia C. Troutman, La Rosa Realty
  • Darren Vogel, P.E., Vogel Bros. Building Co.
  • Julie Howes Ward, Polk County Public Schools/Rochelle School of the Arts

Leadership Lakeland is an annual program designed to identify leadership and enhance existing leadership in our community. The program unites leaders from diverse backgrounds and perspectives to improve their ability to lead effectively, offering its members a broad range of experiences and insights about the community, its people, its needs, and its services.

Also, congratulations to Chuck McDanal (Kindelan McDanal & Associates) who was announced as the upcoming Chair-Elect for Class XXXVI!

02May/18
05-15-18 Phantom of the Youkey TheaterFB

Networking with the Phantom of Youkey Theater

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (May 2, 2018) — You won’t want to miss this romantic and mysterious Business After Hours on Tuesday night, May 15, 2018. The RP Funding Center presents The Phantom of the Youkey Theater for one night only! Enjoy wonderful hors d’oeuvres, libations, and over 200 fellow member-investors. The classic black & white silent film, The Phantom of the Opera, will be playing as guests explore the Youkey Theater in hopes of catching a glimpse of the rumored Phantom of the Youkey Theater!

The party is starting earlier this month since we could not wait until our traditional Thursday to hold the event. So, please join us on Tuesday! We encourage you to adjust your schedule to attend this special event.

“The team and I at RP Funding Center are excited to host Business After Hours for a second year. We believe we have put together a Phantom of the Opera evening that will allow Chamber members to network and socialize in a special setting,” comments Tony Camarillo, Executive Director of the RP Funding Center.

The historic centerpiece of the RP Funding Center is the 2,226 seat Youkey Theater. The theater is named for Robert Youkey, former Lakeland City Manager, who had the vision to build the Lakeland Center for his community. The theater is home to the annual Broadway & Special engagements; the Imperial Symphony Orchestra; and is ideally suited for dance events, plays and concerts. The theater also offers the flexibility for meetings and general sessions and other corporate events.

05-15-18 Phantom of the Youkey TheaterFB

The Phantom of the Opera is a 1925 American silent horror film adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra, directed by Rupert Julian and starring Lon Chaney, Sr. in the title role of the disfigured Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House, causing murder and mayhem in an attempt to make the woman he “loves” a star. The film remains most famous for Chaney’s ghastly, self-devised make-up, which was kept a studio secret until the film’s premiere. The film was released on November 25, 1925.

Before you enter the Youkey Theater, please take time to meet the teen CEOs from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Polk County (YEA! Polk). They will be displaying their product and services and are excited to meet with you. You won’t want to miss this! Meet new contacts! Reconnect with fellow members!

Name: Business After Hours with The Phantom of the Youkey Theater

Register Now:  https://bit.ly/2jolIOb

Location: RP Funding Center, 701 W Lime St, Lakeland, FL 33815

Date/Time Information:  Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm EDT

Contact Information:  Katie McBride (863) 688-8551 ext 236, or kmcbride@lakelandchamber.com

Fees/Admission:  $10 investors | $30 non-members

###

RP Funding Center

Central Florida’s premiere entertainment, sports and convention venue offers loads of indoor entertainment, and is within walking distance of downtown Lakeland’s unique shopping and dining options.

Arena, Theater, Exhibit Hall and Conference Center

The RP Funding Center is the only multipurpose facility in Central Florida with four distinct venues under one roof: the 10,000-seat George Jenkins Arena, 2,186-seat Youkey Theater, 28,000-square feet Exhibit Hall, and 34,000-square feet Conference Center.

Broadway Series

Theatre lovers enjoying a Central Florida vacation will enjoy The RP Funding Center’s annual Broadway Series, featuring five nationally touring productions. Enjoy upbeat musicals, on the edge-of-your-seat dramas and timeless classics. Locals who subscribe to their Broadway Series Subscription Package receive entrance into all five shows, free parking, priority seating, special discounts and 10 percent off pre-show dining.

Entertainment Series

The RP Funding Center’s annual Entertainment Series brings down the house with thrilling live concerts, ballets, standup comedy, dance performances and more.

Famous groups and performers who have and will take part in the entertainment series include The Tenors, Neil Sedaka, various Dancing with the Stars alumni, America’s Got Talent winner Jackie Evancho and Kathy Griffin.

Lakeland Pro Rodeo Classic

If you’re lucky enough to be in town for the Lakeland Pro Rodeo Classic, you must go. Professional cowboys and cowgirls compete for cash, shiny gold buckles, and most importantly, the title of champion – it’s a boot scootin’ good time.

Public Ice Skating

One of the coolest things to do at The RP Funding Center in November and December is ice skating. Dates are scheduled to coincide with Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, and sometimes summer vacation.

Expos

Annual favorites for Central Florida visitors include Collectorama, featuring collectibles including currency, knives, watches more; Buckler Arts & Craft Show, which occurs in the summer and fall; The Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in the winter; Snowbird Extravaganza, which features 50,000 sq. ft. of vendors and entertainment; the Log & Timber Home Show and Lakeland VW Classic, which is held outdoors and features multiple vendors and a parts swap. The RP Funding Center also hosts multiple knife and gun shows each year, and the occasional boating and hunting expo.

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.

30Apr/18

Free Seminar on Eminent Domain in Preparation for US Highway 92 Expansion and Improvement

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (April 30, 2018) — The Florida Department of Transportation project to expand and improve US 92 (New Tampa Highway) from County Line Road to Wabash has been funded for 2020 and 2021 for obtaining right of way.

Now is the time for any business or landowner to take action to protect their property rights and/or get fair compensation for their business or property. Learn more about how you can prepare for this FDOT project, and the actions needed to protect your property and business with Guest Speaker Deborah Ruster of Peterson & Myers. Before joining Peterson & Myers, Deborah Ruster was a senior condemnation attorney with the Department of Transportation for six years. Since then she has been in private practice representing property owners and governments in eminent domain cases.

This seminar is free to the public and will cover topics such as how this project will impact you, what forms of compensation may be available, and what tricks and traps to look out for.

Sponsorships available!

Name: Enlightened Byte: Eminent Domain Timeline

Date: May 24, 2018

Time: 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM EDT

Location:  Peggy Brown Building, 215 S Lake Ave, Lakeland, FL 33801

Contact Information:  Send an Email or call (863) 688-8551 ext. 229

Fees/Admission:  Free with required registration – limited space available.

Registration:  https://bit.ly/2HB32W6 or at www.lakelandchamber.com

US92_Location_Map