Category Archives: Business Resources


Tell Governor Crist NO VETO for USFP funding

The Chamber Board of Directors and members of the Government Affairs Committee have been writing letters to Governor Crist urging him to keep the funding for the University of South Florida Polytechnic and the new USF Pharmacy School IN the budget.

The University of South Florida Polytechnic has been a long standing public policy priority for the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce. USFP is unquestionably one of the most important economic development projects to impact not only Lakeland, but Polk County and the greater I-4 corridor in decades, and will serve as a catalyst to attract high skill/high wage industry and jobs to our region. Information technology, manufacturing, logistics, distribution, health care and engineering– these are just a few industries that will be attracted to our area as a result of USF Polytechnic.

Now we need your help.

We need to send Governor Crist a loud message of support for USFP. Below is a letter to the Governor stating our support. I realize we are all very busy, so I have made it easy! All you have to do is fill in your name, copy it into an email and click the send button. Too complicated? Pick up the phone and call his office (850)-488-4441. Tell his staff your name, where you are from, your occupation (we want Governor Crist to know that you represent the business community) and NO VETO for USFP funding.

Find the MS Word document by clicking here.

MS Word document for Polk State College Funding.

Need help? Call Katie Daughtrey at the Chamber (863) 688-8551, Ext. 241.


SBDC Seminars for June

The Small Business Development Center, at Central Florida Development Council, is offering a several business seminars in June.  These are held at SBDC-USF Polytechnic, (Lakeland Campus), 3433 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland, Fl 33803-9807.


  • Steps to Starting a Small Business, June 3, 9:30am– 12:00pm
  • How to Become a State of Florida Certified Business Enterprise, June 22, 10:00am – 12:00pm
  • Building the Ultimate Business Plan-I, June 22, 5:30pm–7:30pm
  • Building the Ultimate Business Plan – II, June 29, 5:30pm – 7:30pm

All classes are $35, unless otherwise noted

To register for a seminar, please visit the website at: or for more information, please contact the Small Business Development Center at (863) 667.7913.


USFP’s Blue Sky Incubators are Officially “Cookin'”

University of South Florida Polytechnic celebrated with community members, staff, incubated businesses and, well, just about everyone, the recent grand opening of the Blue Sky Incubators in Polk County. Information about Blue Sky and the incubation system can be found at

Blue Sky West is a 6,428 square-foot location at 116 S. Kentucky Ave. in Lakeland. Blue Sky East opened at 199 Ave. B NW in Winter Haven with 3,000 square feet.

The Blue Sky facilities are the first public business technology incubators in Polk County. They 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.

“This is an important step for our region, as we cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation,” says Dr. Marshall Goodman, VP and CEO of USFP.

“These facilities will 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.”

According to Goodman, “The story of innovation is the story of entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurship is all about calculated risk. That is the principle upon which [we based] Blue Sky. We will provide a climate to nurture innovation.”

“This is a huge opportunity, not only for entrepreneurs but also for investors. We hope it will bring to this area more technology-oriented businesses with the potential for growth and new jobs.”

Initially, USF Poly will seek information technology companies interested in software, networking and developing specific IT projects.

There are 7,000 incubators and counting around the globe, and they create jobs, grow companies and help technology evolve. President Obama has pledged $250 million a year in federal funds to seed a regional network of such organizations–an effort aimed at growing jobs and innovation.

The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration says business incubators provide communities with significantly greater results at less cost than do any other type of public works infrastructure project.

A recent study conducted for the U.S. Economic Development Administration showed that business incubators provide communities with significantly greater results at less cost than do any other type of public works infrastructure project. In the study of the economic impacts and federal costs of EDA construction program investments, researchers found that business incubators are the most effective means of creating jobs; more effective than roads and bridges, industrial parks, commercial buildings, and sewer and water projects. In fact, incubators provide up to 20 times more jobs than community infrastructure projects (for example, water and sewer projects) at a cost of $144 to $216 per job compared with $2,920 to $6,872 for the latter, the report notes.

Business incubation programs provide entrepreneurs with a guiding hand to help them turn their ideas into viable businesses.  Many thousands more jobs have been created by companies that have graduated from these programs and now operate self-sufficiently in their communities. For more information about business incubation and the EDA study, visit


Local Businesses are “LEEDers” in Green Buiding Awards

The Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is pleased to announce the winners for the 2010 LEEDership Awards.  LEED is the acronym for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design.   Nominees were recognized during the opening ceremonies of the Smart Sustainable Conference on April 22, 2010 in Tampa, Florida at the Hilton Carillon.   The USGBC acknowledged those projects, businesses, and individuals who are LEEDing the way toward a more sustainable environment through green building and design initiatives, and their commitment to the advancement of USGBC in the marketplace and community.   This year’s LEEDers were:

Outstanding Community LEEDer (tie) – Karl Nurse, St. Petersburg Councilman, and Jason Taylor, Architect

Outstanding Project, New Construction – Magnify Credit Union

Outstanding Project, Core & Shell – MetWest One

Outstanding Project, Commercial Interiors – PBS&J

Outstanding Project, Schools – New Heights Elementary

Outstanding Project, Homes – Laurel Street

Outstanding Project, Existing Building – 100 N. Tampa

Outstanding Business of the Year – St. Petersburg College

Outstanding Chapter Member – Ken Buschle

[Editor’s note: The Magnify Credit Union building at 540$ & Scott Lake Road was designed by Straughn Trout Architects and is the only building in Polk County to achieve LEED Gold certification by the USGBC]

About the Florida West Coast Chapter of USGBC

The mission of the Florida Chapter is to lead the region toward sustainability by encouraging and advancing environmental friendly knowledge and values as they pertain to the built environment and its relationship and impact on nature and human kind.  For more information on the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the USGBC, please visit

About U.S. Green Building Council

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a Washington, D.C. based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings.  USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building certification program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual GreenBuild International Conference & Expo, and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities.


Celebrate National Tourism Week With Us

Lakeland and Polk County will be celebrating National Tourism Week on Tuesday, May 25 at 8:30a.m. at Lake Eva Banquet Hall at 799 Johns Avenue in Haines City.  The Keynote Speaker will be Will Seccombe –Chief Marketing Officer at Visit Florida –presenting Visit Florida’s marketing platform and introducing the impact LEGOLAND  will have on Florida and Polk County’s tourism industry.

Facts on Florida Tourism:

  • Every 85 visitors to the Sunshine State support 1 Florida Job;

During 2009:

  • 20.3 million visitors
  • $15.8 billion in spending
  • $948 million in sales tax collections
  • 238,000 Florida Jobs

An investment in tourism marketing strengthens Florida’s economy.  Every public dollar invested in tourism generates more than $3 of additional sales tax revenue paid by visitors, not residents…  One of the main reasons Florida does not have a state income tax!

Tourism provides 1 million jobs to Floridians and adds $3.9 billion to state coffers annually.  Tourism-related tax revenues provide the necessary funding for road construction, education, schools, libraries, health care and other vital programs.

If you would like to attend this breakfast celebrating Tourism contact  Cost is $10.00 person and you must have reservations!