Category Archives: Business Resources


ConnectLakeland Community Group Seeks Volunteers

In March of this year, a group of Lakeland residents came together to support the City’s application to Google’s high-speed fiber project. As the application was sent off to “Googleville” for review, the group of residents quickly realized that the need for connectivity in our community was greater that a reliance on ultra high-speed fiber from Google. These folks wanted Lakeland to be connected to the Internet, yes; but more importantly, connected to each other.

There have been some administrative updates over the past few months, and the ConnectLakeland initiative has been integrated into the Lakeland Vision umbrella. Through it all, the leadership of the group developed a Vision & Mission and prioritized goals for the immediate future.

Vision: Establish Lakeland, Florida as the most connected city on the planet.

Mission: Enable residents, visitors, businesses, government and organizations to come together.


1) Installing high speed wireless and wired infrastructure
2) Create a community “portal”
3) Interconnecting people, business, government, services/organizations, healthcare, and education
4) Connecting local to global to differentiate and become an advantaged community

So, without a budget, the group has determined that the one thing we can do to affect change for our connectivity is to create a community portal. will become a resource to Lakeland residents and visitors- by Lakeland residents and visitors. Eventually, the site hopes to include a comprehensive community calendar.

So now, we’re meeting. Please, join the ConnectLakeland team as we tackle the development of Volunteers are needed in the following areas:

- Programming experience with WordPress and/or PHP
– Designer(s) comfortable working with WordPress and/or PHP
– CSS experience
– Photographer
– Content development and editing interest

If you’re capable in one of those areas, we need you! Please, join us at the Lakeland Police Department Community Room Thursday, 7/22 at 8:30 a.m. Bring ideas & creativity!


EEOC Technical Assistance Seminar Comes to Tampa on July 12

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Training Institute will be offering its annual Technical Assistance Program Seminar on Monday, July 12th at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk, in downtown Tampa, 200 North Ashley Drive, Tampa FL 33602.

The EEOC is the agency responsible for enforcing federal employment discrimination laws. The Training Institute provides a wide variety of training programs to help employers understand, prevent and correct discrimination in the workplace.

At this one day seminar, senior EEOC staff and expert guest presenters will highlight the latest EEO topics and provide expert presentations on EEOC policies and procedures.  This year’s topics will include a guide on preparing an effective response to a charge of discrimination, a briefing on the employer’s responsibilities under the new Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) of 2008, and a presentation on the broad impact of the amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  EEOC attorneys will also highlight the most significant developments in the courts regarding EEO law.

Human resource staff, business owners, managers, supervisors, employment agency staff, union officials and attorneys will obtain useful information at this seminar.  Additionally, 6.0 recertification credits from the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) and 7.5 Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits have been pre-approved for this seminar.

Click here for registration information.


SBDC Business Seminars for July

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


  • Steps to Starting a Small Business: July 8, 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm
  • Building the Ultimate Business Plan-I: July 15, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  • QuickBooks ($65): July 20, 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
  • Building the Ultimate Business Plan-II: July 22, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

*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.


ChamberPerks Discounts for Chamber Members: Spotlight Office Depot

Lakeland Chamber and Office Depot Partner on Discount Program

– Program participants will receive discounts, convenient shopping options and free next-day delivery.

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce and Office Depot announced today a partnership providing Lakeland Chamber members a discount on Office Depot products and services. Participants of the program will benefit from reduced pricing on office supplies and services, four convenient methods of shopping, and free next-day delivery.

“The Lakeland Chamber is dedicated to building partnerships that will reduce costs for our members,” said Terry Ottinger, of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce. “Partnering with Office Depot illustrates our commitment to doing everything we can for our members, so they can focus on growing their businesses.”

The Office Depot program includes the following benefits for Lakeland Chamber members:

  • Savings on more than 100 of the most-used office supplies on the Core Items List;
  • 30% discount on general office supplies featured on the Core List;
  • 15% discount on copy paper and toner supplies featured on the Core List;
  • 5% discount on all other Office Depot products*;
  • FREE next-day delivery (orders of $50 or more);
  • No sign up fees, no contracts, no minimums;
  • Shop online, in store, by phone or fax to receive discounts.


To sign up or to learn more about this program, please visit and click on the Chamber Perks button or contact Julia Levy at (813) 382-8535 or OR Brenton Lee at (813) 240-6469 or

*Some restrictions apply. 5% discount on 98% of Office Depot products.


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.