Category Archives: Business News

31Mar/10

US Internet Speeds Lag at #18 Internationally

Last week, the City of Lakeland submitted an application to Google (along with 1,099 other communities around the nation) to be considered for ultra-high speed fiber. Google has a simple plan- bring the Internet to everyone. Through the application, the City and a group of community leaders hope to portray to Google that Lakeland is a city with unlimited potential, at the epicenter of everything (technology, education, tourism, high-speed rail)!

Interestingly, CNN.com posted a piece today about the ranking of the speed of broadband in the US and internationally. Surprisingly, the US ranks #18 with South Korea ranking #1. To put it in perspective, that means that on average, our broadband speeds are 75% slower than those in South Korea. It’s an interesting read, especially for someone who is just learning about how the technology I use everyday comes to exist in communities like ours.  Hopefully, with Google’s experiment, we can improve the standing of the US, and the availability high-speed Internet to our communities, rural and metropolitan.

Read the CNN.com Article here.

For more information on the Google Fiber push in Lakeland, you can visit ConnectLakeland.com.

22Feb/10

Study Shows Chamber Members Offer Safer Bet When it Comes to Business Credit Risk

Chamber members pay their bills faster, possess better credit scores than other businesses

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – February 22, 2010 — The American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) today announced the publication of a new study detailing the credit scores and payment behavior of ten local chambers of commerce across the United States, comparing their member businesses with other regional, state and national business averages.  Produced by Cortera™, a community-driven business credit bureau, on behalf of ACCE, the study includes the Bowling Green (KY) Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Boca Raton (FL) Chamber of Commerce, Greater Durham (NC) Chamber of Commerce, Greater Omaha (NE) Chamber of Commerce, Helena (MT) Area Chamber of Commerce, Lake Champlain (VT) Regional Chamber of Commerce, Lubbock (TX) Chamber of Commerce, Salem (OR) Area Chamber of Commerce, San Diego (CA) Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Tulsa (OK) Metro Chamber.  According to the study, chamber of commerce members possess an average credit score of 629, compared to a 557 average score for businesses at large.  Such scores – the payment behavior from which they are derived — play a significant role in attracting lines of credit and securing favorable terms from lenders and suppliers.

A complete copy of the study, which includes both the aggregate findings, as well as the individual commercial credit scores for each of the ten local chambers, is available on the ACCE and Cortera sites.  The study was contracted by ACCE and performed by Cortera, which reviewed payment behavior for chamber member businesses.

“Chamber members have long been seen as responsible and reliable members of their community,” said Mick Fleming, president and CEO of ACCE.  “What this study indicates is that the perception is right.  From a credit standpoint, chamber members on average are better businesses, and as a result they have significant advantages in obtaining the funds they need.  In this economy and the tight credit environment we are experiencing, that’s especially important.”

“The economic health of the entire supply chain is dependent on the payment behavior of each of its stakeholders,” said Jim Swift, president and CEO of Cortera. “This study suggests that chamber members are among the most dependable participants in this ecosystem.”

About the American Chamber of Commerce Executives
Established in 1914, ACCE is the only national association serving the professional development needs of chamber professionals throughout the United States and Canada. Representing more than 7,300 individuals, ACCE enhances the knowledge, leadership skills, and management effectiveness of chamber executives and their staff through education, benefits programs, trend analysis, benchmarking, and network development. ACCE promotes the highest standards of professional excellence and integrity within the chamber profession.

About Cortera

In a sea of business information providers, Cortera is different. With over 15 years of experience serving finance professionals, Cortera combines premium business information and innovative tools with a fresh community approach to commercial credit.  It represents the first community for small business credit reporting and a fundamentally new way to capture the collective insight of millions of financial transactions. As a result, small businesses can make smarter, informed decisions to ensure optimal cash flow while attracting more favorable payment terms from existing and potential business partners. Free credit reports on millions of businesses are available at http://start.cortera.com/.

For more information on Cortera, please visit http://www.cortera.com/.

06Aug/09

USF Poly Now Accepting Incubator Applications

(Lakeland, Fla., Aug. 6, 2009) – The University of South Florida Polytechnic’s Blue Sky business incubation program is now accepting applications for space in its two facilities — a business accelerator, Blue Sky East in Winter Haven, and an entry-level incubator, Blue Sky West in Lakeland.

            “We want a diverse group of entrepreneurs with the potential to create a significant economic impact in central Florida,” says Marshall Goodman, VP and CEO of USF Polytechnic. “These facilities provide opportunities for a wide range of enterprises. Some will be raw start-ups, and some will be more advanced. Regardless of the stage, Blue Sky represents an opportunity to thrive."

            The application is available online at http://poly.usf.edu/BlueSky. Applicants must be for-profit technology corporations, with proprietary technologies preferred. Applicants can be a start-up company, an existing small business in a growth phase, an existing business launching a new business project, or an international business looking for a soft-landing site.

            The Blue Sky facilities are the first public business technology incubators in Polk County. They will focus on attracting and nurturing entrepreneurial businesses by creating a place where USF Poly faculty, staff and students can work with businesses to develop innovative technology. Incubated companies will benefit from the proximity to and resources of a national research university as well as the assets of economic development networks.

 

04Jun/09

Florida Chamber Bill Causes Direct Decrease in Workers’ Comp Rates

Today, due to the advocacy of Florida Chamber members, the Florida Insurance Commissioner approved a rate decrease on workers’ compensation insurance rates, which will immediately save Florida’s businesses $172 million in insurance premiums. This is a direct result of the passage of HB 903, a priority of the Florida Chamber during the 2009 Session, and is a significant victory in the fight to keep costs low for employers and small businesses.

This victory would not have been possible without the thousands of calls, emails and in-person meetings made by members of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Your overwhelming response to our grassroots calls to action made the difference in getting HB 903 passed, signed by the Governor and now put into cost-saving application by the Insurance Commissioner.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce applauds Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty for his quick action to reduce workers compensation rates for Florida’s employers and small business owners.

In his statement today, Commissioner McCarty noted the important cost savings to Florida’s employers, saying:

“I am pleased that Gov. Crist and the Florida Legislature recognized the importance of keeping our workers’ compensation rates down. I believe that injured workers still will have appropriate access to the legal system while also still keeping workers’ compensation rates affordable for employers.”

In Case You Missed It: In The News

Miami Herald: Today, June 3, 2009 – Fla Workers’ Comp Rate Increase Rolled Back

McCarty’s quick action drew praise from David Daniel, vice president of governmental affairs for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. ‘Simply capping the fees paid to plaintiffs’ trial lawyers has directly led to immediate savings for the businesses and employers that are creating jobs to put Floridians back to work,” Daniel said, noting the state’s 9.6 percent jobless rate.’ “


Orlando Sentinel: Friday, May 29, 2009 – Governor Crist Signs Workers’ Comp Bill

“Gov. Charlie Crist has signed a contentious workers’ compensation bill, HB 903, and was earning thanks from the Capitol’s powerful business lobby even before the official bill-signing was announced.

Again, this success would not have been possible without the grassroots support of members such as you. The Florida Chamber will continue to fight against additional burdens in our mission to drive Florida toward the successful, innovative economy of tomorrow.

Please visit www.FloridaChamber.com for additional updates and analysis of the 2009 legislative session.
My best,

Mark Wilson
President and CEO
Florida Chamber of Commerce

29May/09

SBDC offers free workshop on “Understanding Small Business Administration Stimulus Loans”

(Lakeland, Fla., May 29, 2009) — The Small Business Development Center at the Central Florida Development Council presents a free workshop, “Understanding SBA Stimulus Loans,” June 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Jim Miles Professional Development Center, 5204 U.S. 98 S., Lakeland. The presenter will be Jim Parrish, certified business analyst.

“Small businesses suffering financial hardship as a result of the slow economy may be eligible to receive temporary relief to keep their doors open and get their cash flow back on track through a new loan program,” said Doretha Brooks, Small Business Development Center director.

Beginning June 15, the U.S. Small Business Administration will start guaranteeing America’s Recovery Capital loans. These deferred-payment loans of up to $35,000 are available to established, viable, for-profit small businesses that need short-term help to make their principal and interest payments on existing qualifying debt. ARC loans are interest-free to the borrower, 100 percent guaranteed by the SBA, have no SBA fees associated with them, and repayment will not begin until 12 months after the final disbursement.

To register visit www.polksbdc.org or call (863) 667-7913.

The Small Business Development Center at the Central Florida Development Council is a non-profit organization that designs and delivers a collection of programs directed towards strengthening the economic benefit of Central Florida. Services include free one-to-one counseling, on-going educational entrepreneurial training workshops, and support of the activities of the Florida Small Business Development Center Network.