Pinellas County Business News
January, 2016
Doing Business in Costa Rica:
Jan. 13 workshop
Costa Rica is Florida's 6th largest trading partner. Leading sectors for exports and investments to Costa Rica include: Pharmaceuticals & medical devices, building/construction, food processing & packaging, renewable energy, franchising, and restaurant equipment.

Explore the possibilities at a free "Doing Business in Costa Rica" workshop on January 13th in Pinellas County or January 14th in Hillsborough County.

The Tampa Bay Export Alliance will lead an Export Sales Mission to Costa Rica from April 12 - 15, 2016For more information, or to reserve a one-on-one meeting with a trade specialist after the January 13th workshop, please contact Brent Barkway at or (727) 464-7411. 
Indian Rocks Beach .83 acres for sale
January 19 deadline

Pinellas County is offering a rare opportunity to purchase vacant land in Indian Rocks Beach.  Three parcels located on the east side of Gulf Boulevard between 23rd and 24th Avenues North are being offered for sale. The 0.83 acre site is rectangular in shape and has 300 feet of road frontage along the east side of Gulf Boulevard.  This is a very attractive prospect for a mixed-use development that could incorporate commercial and residential uses. The deadline for responses is January 19, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. Learn more at
Florida Venture Capital Conference,
January 27-29 at the Vinoy, St. Petersburg

The Florida Venture Capital Conference showcases 20-25 later stage, high growth private companies before an audience of venture capitalists, private equity investors and other investor sources. The Forum seeks out Florida based entrepreneurial companies that have talented management teams, proprietary technology, revenue, and high growth potential. To date, previous presenting companies have raised over $3 Billion Dollars. Learn more, apply to present and register to attend.

FSBDC at PCED... on the road with new location! 
In addition to classes and one-on-one counseling held at the Pinellas County Economic Development offices, Pinellas Small Business Development Center staff members travel around the county, providing business assistance and resources at other partner locations. New to the line-up is TAFFIE: the Technical Arts Facility for Innovation & Entrepreneurship., located in Clearwater. Karen Krymski joins the FSBDC at the TAFFIE location, bringing with her more than 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur and a broad spectrum of industry knowledge. Visit to book an appointment with Karen, or to review additional FSBDC at PCED partner locations.

Pinellas FSBDC Client: 3T Innovations
After serving in the Army for 10 years, Francisco Valencia knew he wanted to continue working with and for the government. In 2010 he opened 3T Innovations, an IT solutions provider that works with the federal government - primarily the Department of Defense - and also does federal civilian work. Recognizing the challenges of growing a small business, in 2012 Valencia contacted the Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) Network for assistance. Since then, Valencia and 3T Innovations have benefited from the FSBDC's business workshops, one-on-one consulting, and special events.

Click here to read more.
Feb. 24: USF St. Petersburg Job and Internship Fair
Local employers: recruit USFSP and other USF system students and alumni for internships and full-time and part-time employment opportunities. Any recruiter representing their direct hiring organization (to include staffing agencies) may participate in the Internship & Job Fair. To qualify as a participating organization you must have jobs and internships that require an in-progress or an attained bachelor's degree.

Full details and registration can be found at

Ford Next Generation Learning
Winter Conference comes to Pinellas
Ford NGL has a national network of communities that work together, compare notes, and share best practices on the successful operation of career academies within public schools. This year, these best practices will be explored at the Innovation Center Study Visit in Pinellas County. The conference will serve as a gathering place for communities who are committed to use a creative mindset in cutting new paths to success in our schools. Career academies have a proven track record of improving attendance, GPAs and graduation rates for students - while meeting the needs of industry for future skilled workforce. The conference will take place Feb. 17-19, at the Tradewinds Resort in St. Pete Beach.  We're looking for businesses that are interested in advising our career academies on workforce needs in their industry, providing internship or apprenticeship opportunities for students, or in sponsoring public school teachers or principals to attend the conference.  For more details, registration or sponsorship opportunities click here or contact Lisa Votaw at

Prepare Your Company to Survive with the Great Tornado Drill, January 6th at 10:00 a.m.  #PCTornadoDrill

With the weather pattern sparked by El Niņo traditionally lending itself to an increase in severe weather and relatively strong tornadoes, communities throughout Florida will participate in the "Great Tornado Drill" on January 6th, at 10:00 a.m. If your company would like to participate, identify a safe room and have your employees gather on January 6th at 10:00 a.m. at this spot.  Take a photo of your team in the safe spot and post it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #PCTornadoDrill.  Find more information at

Pinellas FSBDC Client: Doctors Express Urgent Care
Doctors Express Urgent Care of Pinellas County
Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) Network client Paul Peiffer opened his first Doctors Express Urgent Care franchise location in 2012 after consulting with FSBDC experts. Since then, Peiffer has purchased four more locations in the Doctors Express franchise and has seen a 40 percent return rate from his patients. He attributes his success in part to the assistance received from FSBDC consultants like Kurt Forster of the FSBDC at Pinellas County Economic Development, who helped Peiffer develop a sound marketing approach for his growing business. Says Peiffer, "I'm very pleased with the organization and the help that they provided me in getting where we are today."
Click here to watch a short video Success Story about Peiffer's experiences with the Florida Small Business Development Center Network, and visit to learn how to grow your small business in Pinellas.

Save the date: March 18
2016 Business of Biotech
The Business of Biotech Conference brings together biomedical companies, startups, entrepreneurs,  investors for networking, partnership discussions and service providers. Click here for details and registration information.

Tampa Bay IT Workforce Analysis finds 81% of respondents anticipated hiring for technology positions within the next 2-3 years.

A survey of 54 information technology employers by regional economic, workforce development and technology organizations has found that high job growth and low unemployment rates are contributing to the short and long term gaps between available positions and the skills employers require for key IT occupations in Tampa Bay.  Employers identified Java Developer as the top in-demand skill and the most challenging to fill.  Opportunities in IT occupations are expected to continue to grow through 2022, potentially yielding 33,000 new jobs.  Explore the 10 Key Findings for 2015 and learn more at

Pinellas News


Lincare buys Nashville home care company
(Tampa Bay Business Journal)

In This Issue
Quick Links
Business Workshops
The Florida Small Business Development Center at Pinellas County Economic Development hosts a number of business workshops each month. Find a full schedule of upcoming workshops at

Pinellas County Economic Development | 727-464-7332 | |
13805 58th Street N.
Suite 1-200
Clearwater, FL 33760