Category Archives: Forum 2.0

YEA! Polk Graduate Logan Soria, CEO of Stand Up!, Pitches to Investors


LAKELAND, FLORIDA (June 13, 2017) — The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is recruiting students for the Polk County chapter, only the fifth chapter in Florida, for the 2017-2018 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 program will feature guest speakers from businesses and five field trips.

The program has three main sections: the big idea, the pitch and the launch. In the big idea phase, students brainstorm ideas, explore their passions, and learn how to evaluate a business opportunity.

The pitch will be a five-minute presentation by the students to an investors’ panel, which is made up of sponsors. During the launch phase, students will open bank accounts and file for legal fictitious names. The students will display their products at a trade show in May 2018. LkldTV captures the magic of the program in their video from this year’s trade show

A recent graduate of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, 18-year-old Logan Soria, CEO/Owner of Stand Up!, shares his experience, “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. Classes will take place 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Southeastern University beginning in October.

The tuition for the program is $595, but there are some need-based scholarships available. The program offers the opportunity to participate in the YEA! Saunders Scholars Competition with the chance to win college scholarships.

The application for the Polk County program is available at

To learn more about YEA! visit, or for information on our local chapter, please visit at, or contact Rebecca Fortier at (863) 688-8551 ext. 229 or by email at  The YEA! Polk Sponsors and the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce are helping to build the next generation of business leaders in Polk County.

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. Five-Star Accredited by the US Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber upholds the following vision and mission statements:

Vision Statement:  The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce will be the premier catalyst for the advancement of Lakeland’s economic growth and enhancement of quality of life– creating Florida’s community of choice.

Mission Statement:  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

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness and educating the public on how the free enterprise system improves society and the economy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.



publix field

Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium Seeks “Best of the Ballparks” Designation

The Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium needs your vote! Only one day left! Please show your community pride and vote for Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium as the BEST Ballpark! Our Lakeland stadium has made it to the final four and needs your vote to win! You can make a difference with a daily vote.

Welcome to Best of the Ballparks, High-A! You don’t need to login to vote: Just click on your preferences. If you do login, you’ll automatically be added to the Ballpark Digest newsletter list, where you can track all the results in this competition.publix field


2015 Detroit Tiger BBQ Tickets On Sale

Join us in welcoming back our Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium during the Lakeland Chamber’s 69th Annual Tiger BBQ on Thursday, February 26th starting at 6 PM.

This Lakeland tradition kicks off the Detroit Tiger’s 79th Spring Training season and celebrates the 50th year of Tiger baseball at Joker Marchant Stadium—which translates each year into approximately $45 million in economic impact to our area!

Ticket holders will enjoy traditional southern BBQ, a commemorative 2015 souvenir mug and the opportunity support the longest standing Major League Baseball relationship in Spring Training history.   Please join us and fellow Tiger’s supporters in supporting the Chamber’s 69th Annual Tiger BBQ event by clicking here to order tickets.

Click here to order your ticket(s) or call Patty Smith at (863) 688-8551 Ext. 224

2015 Tiger BBQ
For more information on Spring Training, please go to or call 866-668.4437.


Public meeting of the Polk Schools Sales Tax Oversight Committee

Lakeland Chamber members, a public meeting of the Polk Schools Sales Tax Oversight Committee scheduled for Tuesday, December 9, 2014.

The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. It will take place at Eastside Elementary, 1820 E. Johnson Ave., Haines City, FL 33844.

The purpose of the meeting is to review projects funded by the half-cent sales tax.

Sign up to receive the Chamber’s Legislative Updates by email.


Forum 2.0 | Lakeland Chamber e-Newsletter

Mimi’s Cafe Hosts Schmooze a’Palooza This Thursday

Looking for an opportunity to tell your company’s story to other Chamber members? Join us Thursday, November 14, at Mimi’s Cafe where you and 30 to 35 of your fellow members will share leads, needs and more at the Chamber’s Schmooze a’Palooza luncheon.

Held once every three months, Schmooze a’Palooza brings members together for lunch and networking, but also affords each attendee an opportunity to share his or her company’s 30-second commercial with the group. Reservations are required.

Honor Flight Returns to Lakeland Linder Regional Airport Tonight

The first Honor Flight from Lakeland Linder Regional Airport left this morning at 6 a.m. to usher World War II veterans to Washington D.C. The community is invited to welcome them back tonight at 8:30 p.m. Please plan to be in place at the terminal on Drane Field Road by 8 p.m.


Vets Ride Polk Transit Free

During Saturday’s Veterans Day Celebration, Congressman Dennis Ross officially cut the ribbon allowing Polk’s veterans to ride public transportation free by presenting a military or VA identification.

The Jim Erickson Memorial Universal Access Program provides transportation support to the nearly 10% of Polk’s population that have served in the military. To read more about this program, click here.

Small Business Development Center Announces November Seminars

The Small Business Development Center at the University of South Florida has organized a series of workshops to assist business owners with challenges including marketing, financing, bookkeeping, contracts, and more. The Small Business Development Center is located at 1101 Channelside Drive.

Learn more.

October 22, 2013

Wednesday, November 13

11:30 a.m.

Ribbon Cutting for Utopia Home Care

Thursday, November 14

8:30 a.m.

Ribbon Cutting for All County Polk Property Management

Thursday, November 14

11:30 a.m.

Ground Breaking for Southeastern University Football Stadium

Thursday, November 14

11:30 a.m.

Schmooze a’Palooza at Mimi’s Cafe

Thursday, November 14

4:30 p.m.

Ribbon Cutting for Scooter’s Skin Art Tattoos and Piercing

Friday, November 15

11:30 a.m.

6th Annual CarBQ

Tuesday, November 19

9:00 a.m.

Ribbon Cutting for Lakeland Regional Health System Downtown Office Space

Tuesday, November 19

4:30 p.m.

Ribbon Cutting for Albert Griffin Bridal

Wednesday, November 20

9:00 a.m.

Ribbon Cutting for Home Contracting Services

Wednesday, November 20

4:00 p.m.

Ribbon Cutting for Clark & Daughtrey Medical Group/LRHS

Thursday, November 21

5:30 p.m.

Business After Hours hosted by Regal Chevrolet, GMC, Honda, Acura, Kia

Gems & Jewels Artist Market Comes to PMoA November 14

What better time of year to look for a new sparkly little something? Polk Museum of Art is proud to present Gems & Jewels Artist Market on Thursday, November 14, from noon to 8 p.m. >>>Read More.

US Navy Blue Angels to Perform at Sun ‘n Fun 2014

The United States Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, The “Blue Angels” will be the featured air show performers at the 40th Annual SUN ’n FUN International Fly-In & Expo, scheduled for April 1-6, 2014 >>>Read More.

Tri-County Human Services, Inc. Opens New Psychiatric Services Clinic

Tri-County Human Services, Inc. welcomes Dr. J. David Moore, DLFAPA as Psychiatric Services Director at our new Psychiatric Services Outpatient Clinic opening at 1409 Meadowbrook Ave., Lakeland, FL 33801. >>>Read More.

Lakeland Snowfest Seeking Arts & Crafts Vendors

The City of Lakeland Parks & Recreation Department is proud to host the 33rd Annual Snowfest at Lake Mirror on Saturday December 7, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. >>>Read More.

Polk State Wins National Recognition for Manufacturing Training Program

Polk State College has won national recognition for its work to provide the manufacturing industry with a more highly trained workforce. >>>Read More.

Welcome to the following new members who joined October 21-November 8, 2013!

Egret Technology Services, Inc.

Flat Screen Branding

French Fry Heaven Lakeland

In With The New – Decorative Concrete

Incredible You Coaching

Scarpa’s Italian

USA Mobile Drug Testing of West Central Florida