Florida ranks No. 4 among exporting states, and it’s growing!

Florida ranks the nation’s fourth-largest export state with a record $64.8 billion in  exports last year.  Business is so great that Florida saw a 17 percent increase in exports in 2011 in comparison to 2010.  Who got the top 3 spots? Texas, California and New York.

Even through a down economy, U.S. Department of Commerce shows that exports grew 18 percent overall in 2011. Companies that weren’t exporting before are trying it now, and the Latin American market is their target.  Allen Brinkman, chairman, president and chief executive of SunTrust Bank-Tampa Bay said, “Twenty-five percent of SunTrust commercial customers in the Tampa Bay area do business in Latin America, Brazil and Colombia,”  according to an article by Tampa Bay Business Journal in July 2011

Why is Tampa Bay a hot market for exporting. It’s simple: central location in Florida, access to I-75, and access to the ports. But wait, it’s supposed to get better! This week, Tampa Bay business and community leaders signed a deal with the federal government to help boost exporting for the region.  The hopes of course are to boost manufacturing, and of course create jobs!

Sources: Orlando Business Journal, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Tampa Bay Times

The Largest Credit Union In Florida Jumps On Board To Help Pasco Businesses

Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union (Suncoast Schools FCU), Florida’s largest credit union, continues its long-time support of small businesses by donating $10,000 to Pasco Economic Development Council’s microloan fund due to launch March 1.

There are 26 million small businesses in America today, which are responsible for creating the majority of our nation’s new jobs. Unfortunately, the current economy is making it difficult for America’s small businesses to obtain credit. That’s where Pasco EDC decided to step in and help.

John Hagen, Pasco EDC President/CEO commented, “There are many people who may be turned down for a loan at a financial institution because their borrowing need is too small or they have limited credit history. Rather than turn away these people, who may have great business ideas, we say, ’send them to us’.” Hagen added, “We may be able to help them get started and create some jobs. Once they launch their business and are commercially viable, we can return them as valuable customers to the lender that referred them.”

The Largest Credit Union In Florida Jumps On Board To Help Pasco Businesses

Michael Cox (Chair, Pasco EDC Growth Task Force), Melva McKay-Bass (SVP Member Operations, Suncoast FCU), Pat Mulieri (Pasco County Commissioner), Pat Denmark (Regional Vice President, Suncoast FCU) and John Hagen (Pasco EDC)

The microloan program will lend money to small businesses located in Pasco County and offer entrepreneurs free technical assistance and training to help work through challenges they may face in starting or growing a new business.

“We are happy to support Pasco EDC’s microloan fund,” says Melva McKay-Bass, SVP of Member Operations, Suncoast Schools FCU. “This offers us an opportunity to help those people who have a great business plan, but little or no credit, and at the same time assist in the creation of more jobs for the Tampa Bay area. Moreover, this partnership provides an avenue for us to continue to cultivate relationships with our business members and provide additional access to resources and services.

Loan applicants must be for-profit companies located in Pasco County, and borrowers must show they have the experience and resources to be successful business operators. Proceeds may be used for working capital, inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery and equipment, but not to purchase real estate or to refinance existing debt. Please call the Pasco EDC at 813-926-0827 for more information or to consider donating to the fund.

What makes Pasco County Perfect for Your Business?

Florida ranked no. 4 for the best business climate in the United States in a recent survey of corporate real estate executives in 2011 by Site Selection Magazine.

That’s not news to us in Pasco! We love the climate here, both business and the sun. Pasco County is in one of the top 10 growing metros in the US — Tampa Bay!

It is a business-friendly community with strong, proactive governmental support. Lower tax rates benefit both Pasco corporations and residents.

Residents gain from the absence of a state personal income tax. Florida’s corporate income taxes are 5.5 percent, less a $5,000 exemption, and S-corporations are exempt from corporate income tax. Retail sales tax remains at 7.0 percent with no sales or use tax on the labor component of qualified research and development.  Florida has no inventory tax on raw materials, work in progress or finished goods in inventory. The total ad valorem millage rate in Pasco County is 13.0279 with no state level ad valorem tax on buildings or land.

Florida is consistently ranked as one of the top pro-business states, for a number of good reasons. Florida offers a competitive cost-of-doing-business, especially when compared to other high-tech states, and is one of only a few right-to-work states in the U.S. Workers’ compensation insurance will go down 6.8 percent in Florida in 2010, making Florida one of the 10 lowest-rate states in the country.  The rate decrease requested in August by the National Council on Compensation Insurance will produce savings of more than $166 million for Florida employers.  It will be the seventh consecutive decline in workers’ compensation rates since the Florida Legislature passed sweeping reforms in 2003, representing a cumulative rate drop averaging 63.2 percent statewide.

Local and state government and economic development leaders are working together to ensure economic growth and competitiveness by implementing needed legislative, fiscal and marketplace initiatives. From supporting a qualified workforce, to building a strong culture of preparedness and providing targeted industry incentives, Pasco offers businesses the right conditions for success and growth.

Why don’t your employees work as hard as you do?

  • Why don't your employees work as hard as youDo you know what employee areas are at risk for problems?
  • Do you have high turnover?
  • Do you wonder what would happen if your key employees left?

Founder Kelley Rexroad will answer these questions and more on Thursday, March 22 at 8:30am at Pasco EDC’s office in Lutz. Kelley has been described as “a big company expert with front porch common sense.” She is a business person who specializes in people, which she says “is the only resource that appreciates in a business.” She has first hand experiences in every HR function in several industries as well as developing, turnaround and M&A situations.

Register online at www.pascoedc.com/events. Cost is $5 and includes a light breakfast.

We’ve got America’s Favorite Airports in Tampa Bay!

Tampa International Airport has won countless awards since it first opened in 1971 from travel staples like Condé Nast and J.D. Power and Associates for everything from design and efficiency to customer service. Now there is a new accolade to add to the list: One of the Most Loved.

CNNgo.com, a CNN website devoted to international travel and tourism, recently rated Tampa International Airport #6 in its rating of the top 10 most loved airports. Unlike other online polls that rate airports on standardized categories, the CNN survey awarded airports based on characteristics like uniqueness and charm. The article recognizes Tampa for its “affable Floridian staff” and “tasteful galleria of shops” among its many favorable traits.

Other airports making the list include international favorites Singapore Changi and Hong Kong International. Tampa International Airport is the only U.S. airport to make the list.

Tampa International Business Member Lounge

Tampa International Business Member Lounge

But TIA isn’t the only award winning airport here!  Zephyrhills Airport in Pasco County won the Gerneral Aviation Airport of the Year Award in 2000. Zephyrhills Airport has become the place for businessmen and women to travel using chartered, private jets. 

What are the Top 8 Reasons to charter a Private Flight?

1 – You will not have to sit for hours in a crowded waiting area.
2 – No annoying and rude fellow travelers (unless you invited them).
3 – No layovers and sprints from one gate to another.
4 – Your favorite beverage will not be given to somebody else before the stewardess gets to your seat.
5 – You can put your seat back without annoying somebody else.
6 – Nobody in front of you will disturb you by putting their seat down.
7 – No screaming babies, or toddlers, or unhappily married people.
8 – No obnoxious body odors coming from your seat partner that you didn’t choose.

So whether commercial or private flying is your choice. We’ve got the best airports in the U.S.A., so if your employees travel on a regular basis, Tampa Bay would be the perfect place for you to move or expand your company!

Source: http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/life/10-most-lovedairports

Thanks to Saint Leo University, Pasco EDC’s Microloan Fund is Ready to Loan!

Pasco Economic Development Council, Inc. is proud to announce a total of $220,000 has been raised for its new microloan fund program, thanks to a generous donation by Saint Leo University.

Saint Leo Donates 25,000 to Pasco EDC Microloan fund.

Left to Right: Dr. Kirk (Saint Leo), John Hagen (Pasco EDC), Dr. Nastanski (Saint Leo)

“The Pasco EDC is a valuable partner with Saint Leo University and the Donald R. Tapia School of Business.  The council has worked closely with our business students, faculty and staff in helping companies grow,” said Dr. Michael Nastanski, Dean of the Donald R. Tapia School of Business at Saint Leo University.

Dr. Nastanski added that the Donald R. Tapia School of Business is committed to a long and prosperous relationship with Pasco EDC. In addition to the $25,000 donation, Saint Leo University will share its faculty and students to help evaluate projects and provide technical assistance to successful applicants.

“Saint Leo’s donation to the fund has put us over the top,” said John Hagen, Pasco EDC President/CEO. “We said we would go when we received commitments for at least $200,000.  We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Saint Leo’s award-winning faculty and outstanding business students to make a difference for small businesses in our community.

Excitement has been building and the inquiries are beginning to flood into Pasco EDC.  According to Hagen,   “The phones started ringing when we went public with our plans and haven’t stopped since!”  On Tuesday, February 21 the Pasco County Board of County Commissioners is meeting to approve the fund’s lending policies and procedures so that Pasco EDC may begin lending as of March 1.

The microloan program will not only lend money to small businesses located in Pasco County, but will offer free technical assistance and training to help work through the challenges of starting or growing a new business. “We believe that there are many people with great ideas and skills who simply lack the money and resources to get started — or to expand. We want them to succeed,” said Hagen.

Loan applicants must be for-profit companies located in Pasco County, and borrowers must show they have the experience and resources to be successful business operators. Proceeds may be used for working capital, inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery and equipment, but not to purchase real estate or to refinance existing debt. Please call the Pasco EDC at 813-926-0827 for more information or to consider donating to the fund.

When it comes to AP exams, Florida high schools rank 6th in the USA!

Here is one more reason why Florida is one of the best places to build your business – we’ve got an excellent workforce growing smarter and smarter every year!

In the College Board’s recent “AP Report to the Nation”, Florida schools were ranked 6th in the nation based on the percentage of its 2011 graduates who passed at least one AP exam

Both Governor Rick Scott and the Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson were excited about the results.

The latest Advanced Placement results highlight the achievement of Florida’s students. Participating in advanced coursework and taking AP exams gives students a head start as they move into higher education.” – Gov. Rick Scott

“This is tremendous news and shows that Florida students are embracing the rigors of advanced coursework and what it means to be ready for college or a career.” – Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson

Nearly 24 percent of Florida’s graduates left high school with at least one successful AP score in 2011, up from 13.4 percent a decade ago.  We say, WELL DONE!

Source: Florida ranks 6th in students passing AP exam, Orlando Sentinel, 02/08/12.

Florida Companies to Watch… We’ve got plenty of those in Pasco!

Pasco County and Tampa Bay as a whole is experiencing a revolution of innovation. Tampa Bay is on fire, really, with exciting an explosion of companies who are making headlines globally. Sure there are many companies to watch in Florida, but we’d bet the majority of them are right here in the Tampa Bay area, and quite a few from Pasco County!

Innovating PascoAfter all our own Odessa-based Dais Analytic just made Forbes Magazine’s #2 Energy Companies to Watch in 2012. We have many other companies here in Pasco that are leaders of innovation their industries like PQI (Power Quality International), PharmaWorks, or Seaway Plastics, and the list goes on and on!

The Florida Companies to Watch program has just opened its gates to begin nominating companies, perhaps even your own!

To be eligible for the award, a company must be headquartered in Florida, be a privately held, commercial enterprise that is currently in a stage of growth and past the start-up phase, with between six and 99 full-time equivalent employees and annual revenue in 2011 between $750,000-$50 million. Companies in all industries throughout Florida are invited to apply.  To apply go to: http://florida.companiestowatch.org/

Need help starting a business or writing a business plan?

Pasco EDC is hosting a class on “How to Start a Business: Business Basics and Writing a Business Plan”. This seminar will be held on Friday, February 24th from 8:30am – 10:00am, and will be led by Carol Hendrix of USF’s Small Business Development Center (a partner of the Pasco Enterprise Network).

Starting a business requires a tremendous amount of planning, a strong knowledge of local, state, & federal guidelines & requirements, a detailed picture of your potential market, a source of financial options, calculations on start up costs, and access to a wealth of business & industry knowledge. Get a head start by attending this seminar!

Get a head start on starting your business!

There is a $5 charge for a light breakfast. To make a reservation go to: http://www.pascoedc.com/event/17/How-to-Start-a-New-Business-Create-a-Business-Plan

CenterState Bank Supports Small Business Growth in Tough Economy

Center State Bank announces its support for Pasco Economic Development Council’s new microloan fund with a $5,000 donation through its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) program to help small business growth in Pasco County.

“We are proud to partner with Pasco EDC in this great program,” says Skip Skairus, Vice President, CenterState Bank. “This is a great way of making possible short-term, fixed-rate, fixed-payment loans to start-ups and newly established small businesses in Pasco County.

“CenterState’s donation to the fund is perfect timing,” said John Hagen, Pasco EDC President/CEO. “We wanted to start lending in March.” Hagen added that there are many people who may be turned down for a loan at a bank because their borrowing need is too small or they have limited credit history, but who might have a really great business idea. Hagen is asking for banks instead to refer these entrepreneurs to Pasco EDC’s new microloan fund. “We may be able to help them get started. Once they launch their business, the bank can continue its relationship with them and make the next one when they are commercially viable. It’s a win-win-win.”

The microloan program will not only lend money to small businesses located in Pasco County, but will offer entrepreneurs free technical assistance and training to help work through challenges they may face in starting or growing a new business. “We believe that there are many people with great ideas and skills who simply lack the money and resources to get started — or to expand. We want them to succeed,” said Hagen.

Pasco EDC is actively looking for community leaders and businesses who want to pitch in to build the fund.  Commissioners’ approval of the funding lending policies is anticipated in February, and according to Hagen, “We expect to be funding projects on March 1.”