Category Archives: Business News


The Google Race Begins – Vote for Lakeland Today!

If you’re a regular reader – I know, I know, as if someone isn’t a regular – then you are aware of the Google Fiber movement taking place as a part of the ConnectLakeland inniative. If you’re confused, check these posts:

ConnectLakeland – Who is That on the Tricycle?

US Internet Speeds Lag at #18 Internationally

How High-Speed is Ultra-High Speed

At the end of March, the City of Lakeland submitted an application to be considered as a test site for ultra-high speed borabdband fiber access for our ENTIRE community. The possibilities for Lakeland are endless, especially as we sit on the edge of a major Polytechnic University, tourism destination and commuter rail line. Think epicenter.

Now, we need to show the community’s support. With your help, we can show Google that Lakeland understands the impact this project will have on the area chosen, and we are ready to move forward- everyone, together.

Click here to be taken to Google’s Fiber Blog.

You’ll have an opportunity to vote (of course, we have to ask you to type in Lakeland, FL for “other”). Then, Google is asking for comments to add additional “umph” to our votes. As you’re pondering your comment submission, think ConnectLakeland. What could crazy fast Internet and connectivity make possible in your school, your home, your neighborhood? How can we as a community ensure that everyone, regardless of income, can enjoy access to knowledge?

Each person can vote once a day… please do!

06Apr/10 Who is That on the Tricycle?

At one point, it was  Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields- that footage still exists somewhere, by the way. Thankfully, Steven Goodman of Neo Net Media volunteered to fill in.  Joining him are Shannon Lanier, Executive Director of Lakeland Vision on the scooter and Chuck Welch’s daughter Juliette (sort of) in one of Ford Heacock’s fastest cars. Why?

Great question!

The County’s School Video Awards are coming up on April 20. ConnectLakeland has offered a prize to the school that can best describe what students would do with 1 gigabit-  that’s ultra-high speed, folks. This video, and others like it  are something we hope will encourage students to get on board with the effort!

ConnectLakeland is a group of community leaders who have banded together with the purpose of- connecting Lakeland… seems simple, right? It all started with the City’s application to Google to be a beta site for crazy-fast Internet (our words, not Google’s). With the application period behind us, we’re on to educating our community about the benefits and opportunities that an ultra-high speed fiber network would bring to Lakeland homes, schools, businesses and more.

Over the next few months, you’ll be seeing a lot more of the ConnectLakeland crew- at events, ballgames, online, in print, on the radio – everywhere.

Short-term, we want Google.

We want Google to notice us; to recognize that Lakeland is the epicenter of everything that’s happening in Florida; and to bring ultra-high speed fiber to our community.

Long term, we want you.

We want you to love Lakeland like we do; to see Lakeland as the best place to live, work and play; and to feel connected -no- to be connected to your community.

Do you have questions about the ConnectLakeland movement? You can visit the Web site, or email me here at the Chamber.


Polk Schools, Polk State College, Local Businesses Partner to Showcase Young Talent

The County’s first Career & Technical Education Expo will be presented at the Polk State College/Lakeland Campus.

April 9, 2010

Business – 4:00p.m. – 6:00p.m.

Parents – 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Refreshments and Entertainment Provided
The Expo will feature more than 40 high and middle school exhibitors who will be showcasing their products and skills. These students are the next generation of Polk County workers and attendees will have the opportunity to interact with the best. Anticipation of this event is growing and we expect that it will greatly benefit our community.

Who Should Attend This Event?

This expo should be attended by anyone who is interested in the quality and state of readiness of the future workforce of Polk County.

How can you help make this event a success?

This is the first CTE Expo designed to showcase and support our high school and middle school students and here is how you can help make it a success.

Bring 7 people from your organization that would have an interest in the future workforce of our county.

Bring 3 small business leaders that do not work for your company. Examples: veterinarian, plumber, electrician, car mechanic,… anyone that will need highly trained employees.

All participating companies will be recognized during the event by the student hosts.

Become a Sponsor of this event by contributing $250. Door prizes are also being accepted for event giveaways. Sponsoring companies will be recognized during the event and have their logos on the website and event literature.

We are proud of this collaborative effort of our public school district, Polk State College, and our industry and community partners. We want to thank you in advance for your consideration and support. What an excellent opportunity for us to come together to support our future workforce!

To Register or Help Sponsor This Event
For Information: Call Cliff Bennett at (863) 669-2837

A WE-3 event sponsored by Polk County District Schools, Polk State College and the Polk County Chapter of the Association of Information Technology


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, 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 Article here.

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


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

For more information on Cortera, please visit