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Events & Opportunities
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Pinellas Business Events & Deadlines (Sept. 23, 2016)

Sept. 27, 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.: Selling to the Federal Government
Sell to the Federal Government! This class will provide information on how to register with the Federal Government, how to located federal opportunities, and the steps necessary to access federal business certification programs. $20 Register at

Sept. 30: GrowFL Manufacturers Business Growth Program
GrowFL, in partnership with FloridaMakes, is working to provide a year-long curriculum for manufacturers and manufacturing-related companies. The program includes a year-long curriculum for CEOs and their sales and marketing teams who are looking to grow their company or address challenging business problems. Attend a Lunch & Learn session in Tampa on Sept. 30. Details and registration can be found at

Oct. 4 Webinar: Financial Support for US Exports - Small Business Exporter Programs
Join Elena Mendez, Regional Director, Eastern Regional Office of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, for this informative webinar starting at 3:00 p.m. on Oct. 4. The presentation will focus on EXIM's products which will allow small business exporters to increase their export sales of U.S. goods and services abroad, while becoming more competitive and mitigating payment risk from overseas buyers. Click here for free registration.

Oct. 7: Celebrate 2016 Manufacturing Day
Manufacturing Day brings attention to an industry sector that employs nearly 60,000 people across the Tampa Bay region. Area manufacturing companies are encouraged to host student tours of their facilities to provide insight into future careers in manufacturing. Find a Manufacturing Day event in Florida or click here to host an event.

Oct. 21: Pinellas County Reverse Trade Show
Meet Pinellas County department buyers, as well as purchasing agents from surrounding counties, at this free annual event. Learn how to grow your business by providing products and services needed by local government agencies. Details and registration:

Oct. 31 Deadline: Emergency Bridge Loan Program to Aid Pinellas County Businesses Impacted by Hurricane Hermine
Florida businesses that have been impacted by Hurricane Hermine may now apply for short-term, interest-free loans through the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. The bridge loan program helps bridge the gap for small businesses between the time impact occurs and when other resources are available, including insurance claims or federal assistance. Under the program, eligible small businesses with two to 100 employees can apply for loans for up to $25,000 for 90 or 180-day terms. To be eligible, a business must have been:

  • established prior to August 31, 2016, 
  • be located in the 51 affected counties, and 
  • demonstrate economic or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Hermine.

For more information, and to submit an application, please visit

Entrepreneurs: Apply to present at the 2016 Florida VentureTech Showcase, Nov. 1
The VentureTech showcase is a capital acceleration competition and business-networking event co-hosted by Space Florida and the Florida Venture Forum. The event will feature presentations by some of Florida's most promising growth-stage companies. Additionally, a cross section of investors will be in attendance. Learn more and apply at

Dec. 5-8: Export Sales Mission to the Dominican Republic
The Export Sales Mission to the Dominican Republic will feature one-on-one customized matchmaking with potential partners, a briefing highlighting trade opportunities throughout the Caribbean, and companies will receive a regional market assessment for their products or services. Much of what is used or consumed in the Dominican Republic is imported, making this an excellent market for Tampa Bay exporters. Grants are available to qualified companies. Find details here and contact Brent Barkway at (727) 464-7411 or to learn more.

Pinellas County Business Events Extra, Sept. 2016

Pinellas County Business News, Sept. 2016

Events & Opportunities (updated weekly):

News Archive (releases, newsletters, events extra)


Tools, Announcements & Opportunities to Grow Your Business

MasterCut Tool Corp. grows from a Safety Harbor garage to a worldwide leader in the cutting tool industry with 100+ employees
In 1985, Michael Shaluly founded his company with one hand grinding machine and one dust collector in a small garage in Safety Harbor, Florida.  Today, just two miles away from that small garage, MasterCut Tool Corp. has become a worldwide leader in the cutting tool industry, with distribution in over 40 countries. The company has expanded into a 70,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility, opened a European Sales Office and employs over 100 staff members. The company is proud to call Safety Harbor in Pinellas County its global headquarters, as they celebrate over 30 years as a world class manufacturer. On August 9th, at the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioner's meeting, Michael Shaluly, President of MasterCut Tool, was recognized for his contributions to the Pinellas economy and leadership in the business community with the "Thank you for Doing Business in Pinellas," award presented by Commission Chairman Charlie Justice. Click here to read more...

The #IdealBusinessClimate just got better...
Nonstop flights from Tampa to San Francisco

The much-anticipated announcement was made July 25: nonstop air service through United from
Tampa International Airport to San Francisco will begin Feb. 16, 2017. One of the most in-demand routes, the new service will help connect Tampa Bay businesses to Silicon Valley and will bring new opportunities for local entrepreneurs. Tampa Bay's rising tech scene helps secure nonstop San Francisco flight (Tampa Bay Times)

New weekly container service between Tampa and Mexico
Port Tampa Bay announced the beginning of weekly container shipping service between Tampa and the ports of Altamira and Progresso, Mexico. Linea Peninsula will provide the two to two and a half day transit service every Tuesday. Service includes refrigerated containers and can accommodate breakbulk and project cargoes. "We are delighted to welcome Linea Peninsular to Port Tampa Bay", stated Port CEO Paul Anderson. "Linea Peninsular enjoys a well-deserved reputation as the premiere ocean carrier between Mexico and the United States, having provided reliable and quality service in this trade for over 32 years.  Mexico is already one of Port Tampa Bay's top trading partners and we see significant potential to expand our containerized business with Mexico, including for such commodities as food and beverage products, consumer goods and construction and building materials", added Anderson.

25 Pinellas companies rank in Florida Trend's Top 350
Twenty five Pinellas businesses made it into Florida Trend's Top 350 ranking of Florida's biggest companies. Front runners in the top 125 publicly-held companies include Tech Data (#2), Jabil Circuit (#4), Raymond James Financial (#18) and HSN (#25), which are also among Pinellas County's largest employers. Learn more about the Top 350 at Find more of Pinellas County's largest target industry employers at

Join Raymond James and make a difference through Pinellas County Lunch Pals
Join the Pinellas County Schools/Raymond James partnership along with Nielsen, Power Design, Tech Data and many others, and offer your employees the opportunity to be Lunch Pals. Each company is matched with a school nearby. Lunch Pals are matched with students who can especially benefit from a relationship with a positive and caring adult. They meet each week for 30 minutes during the student's lunch time, on school grounds, when school is in session.  Pinellas County Schools provides orientation/training and materials to promote Lunch Pals to employees. Raymond James provides company support. Click here to learn more about the program and become a Lunch Pal.  Contact Ron Diner, Director of Strategic Community Partnerships at Raymond James at (727) 567-5043 or to discuss the advantages of Lunch Pals for your organization and the major impact it can have on the economic vitality of Pinellas.

Help create new strategies to attract foreign investment in Tampa Bay
The Tampa Bay region has been chosen by the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. to be part of a Global Cities Initiative that will focus on foreign direct investment in the area. The study will help regional partners and economic development organizations create new strategies to attract foreign investment that will grow and diversify the business climate in the Tampa Bay region. As part of this effort, researchers are seeking to interview senior managers in local foreign owned enterprises regarding the specifics of their location decisions. To learn more or participate in the Global Cities Initiative contact Brent Barkway at or (727) 464-7411.  Read more about the Global Cities Initiative in the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Does your business have a disaster plan?
It's not too late! The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs June 1 through Nov. 30 and we want all Pinellas businesses to be prepared. You can find a wealth of business-focused preparedness topics at The Florida Division of Emergency Management offers a step-by-step guide to build a business emergency plan at And the Florida Small Business Development Center at Pinellas County Economic Development is available for one-on-one consulting: schedule at an appointment at

Pinellas County seeks input on US 19 corridor
Pinellas County is conducting economic, demographic and market analyses on the US 19 corridor from Curlew Road to just north of East Klosterman Road. This study will help inform the need for future action plans to address transportation, land use, economic and community-identified issues and opportunities in this portion of unincorporated Pinellas County. Residents are encouraged to visit the study's website at for more information and to submit ideas, questions or concerns about the corridor study. As the study progresses, updates and information will be added to the website, and there will be additional opportunities for community involvement. 

Veterans Florida Business Training Grant
The Florida Veterans Employment and Training Services (FL VETS) Business Training Grant Program helps your business meet your workforce demands in a competitive environment by facilitating access to training and education in high-demand fields for veterans through matching training grants of up to $8,000 per veteran employee trained. Learn more at

CareerSource Pinellas Offers Free Training to Earn Manufacturing Skills Certifications
Funded with a $250,000 grant awarded by the State of Florida, this pre-vocational training program provides no-cost training to eligible individuals for employment in entry level, high demand occupations with the potential for high wage careers in manufacturing. New classes begin monthly.  Visit to learn more.

Free Pesticide Pick Up & Disposal for Pinellas companies, up to 750 lbs!
Operation Cleansweep provides farmers, nursery operators, golf course operators, and pest control services a one-time safe and economical way to dispose of their cancelled, suspended, and unusable pesticides.   Check out the flyer, click here to learn more and see if your company is eligible.  For more information contact Shannon Turner at the Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services at (877) 851-5285 or

Mechatronics Training Available to Local Manufacturers
A wide range of training opportunities is now available through the College Alliance for Advanced Manufacturing, a partnership between local manufacturers, St. Petersburg College, and Polk State College. Find a listing of upcoming classes and other offerings, as well as additional information about the program and grant funding opportunities, at

Need help financing employee training? 
Florida's Incumbent Worker Training and Quick Response Training programs offer opportunities to help businesses seeking to add to their employees' skills. The two programs collectively provide a variety of options to suit a company's unique needs. Contact us at (727) 464-7332 to learn more about the programs, or visit

AMSkills, the American Manufacturing Skills Initiative, seeks Manufacturing Partners

Pinellas County's AMSkills program is seeking local manufacturers to partner in training initiatives for the next generation of manufacturing professionals.  This innovative program, using the German dual education model, will train apprentices tailored to employer partners' needs, and design programs to develop highly skilled employees who are prepared for long-term careers. Visit to learn more, and click here to contact the team and become a manufacturing partner.

Attention Pinellas businesses: Upcoming SBIR/STTR Phase 1 Solicitations
Find a full list of the numerous upcoming Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Phase 1 opportunities at

Tampa Bay IT Apprenticeship Program
CareerSource Pinellas has partnered with Pinellas Technical Education Center  to provide tuition-free education, hands-on training, and IT industry-recognized certifications in four key occupations: Applications Developer (Software); Applications Developer (Web); Help Desk Technician; and Network Support Technician. Pinellas employers and workers can find more information on the program at

Target Sector Trade Grants to Help Grow Export Sales
Through an initiative from the State of Florida and Enterprise Florida Inc., event-specific grants are available on a reimbursable basis to eligible small and medium-sized manufacturers and services providers in one of Enterprise Florida's target sectors: Aviation & Aerospace, Clean Energy, Homeland Security & Defense, Information Technology, Life Sciences, Professional Services, Marine Industry, or any other manufacturing industry. These grants will cover 50% of turn-key booth space costs; up to a maximum of $6,000.00.  Grants can be used for trade shows that Enterprise Florida participates in or for other trade shows in one of our target sectors. Click though to find more details and contact information.

Florida Manufacturers Get a Tax Break
More information is available at

Expand your export knowledge - Webinars from offers a full spectrum of webinars designed to assist growing businesses with topics related to foreign trade.  Learn about export compliance, NAFTA, classifying your commodity, taxes/tariffs, and more.  Click here for a list of current and archived webinars.

Internship Portal for Pinellas Employers. An internship program was rated by employers as one of the most effective recruiting methods for hiring college students.  Find the perfect intern for your team from St. Petersburg College, University of South Florida St. Petersburg, Eckerd College, CareerSource Pinellas or the Pinellas County Job Corps Center at

Raymond James. HSN. Bright House. Nielsen. Jabil. These are just a few of the largest private Pinellas employers in targeted industries.  Click here to view the full list.  


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