Through its partnership with Clearwater Business SPARK – a network of service providers dedicated to small business development, entrepreneurship and innovation – the Economic Development team provides access to a wide variety of business programs, training, and services.
The network offers customized solutions to support its clients in every stage of development. If you have an idea and would like to explore the feasibility of starting a business, Clearwater Business SPARK has a partner who can provide expert guidance and support through one-on-one mentoring, coaching, seminars, workshops, market research tools, and other business development resources, many in both English and Spanish.
Have you been in business a few years and would like to enhance your marketing strategies to reach new customers? Do you need guidance and advice to do business in international markets? Or perhaps you need help determining appropriate financing options? The network is prepared to assist.
Clearwater Business SPARK also offers free access to hands-on tools and workshops through Studios@Main and Studios@Countryside, unique maker studios located within the Clearwater Library System. The maker studios can be used to design, prototype, and create works using library equipment, software and shared resources such as 3-D printers, design and production software, audio and video equipment, and green screens.
Network partners include Amplify Clearwater, city of Clearwater's Economic Development and Housing Department, Clearwater Public Library System, Florida Business Incubator, Florida Small Business Development Center at Pinellas County Economic Development, Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council, Prospera, Pinellas County SCORE, Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation, and St. Petersburg College.
To learn more about Clearwater Business SPARK contact 727-443-0217 or visit ClearwaterBusinessSPARK.com
Doing Business with Pinellas County
The Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program is a sheltered market created for qualified vendors that allows small businesses to place bids for County purchases from $5,000 up to $100,000. The program is non-specific to gender or race and benefits all small businesses principally located in the geographical boundaries identified in eligibility below. The business must have been operating for at least six months. To be eligible for certification, the SBE must meet the criteria established and set forth under the SBE definition described above, in addition to the following:
1) The business must be located in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, or Manatee counties. A current occupational license/tax receipt or Sunbiz Articles of Incorporation from at least one of Pinellas County’s 24 municipalities, Hillsborough, Pasco, or Manatee counties. (A post office box is not acceptable as a business address.) Companies located in unincorporated Pinellas are exempt from this requirement.
2) The business must serve a commercially useful function.
3) The number of employees averaged over the previous three (3) years must not exceed 50 full-time employees.
4) Annual Sales does not exceed the maximum 3-year average gross revenues of $3 million or exceeding $8 million dollars for construction service providers.
5) Participation in business development education and consultation to include workshops such as Doing Business with Pinellas County, Pinellas County SBE Registered, What Next?, Respond to Quotations, Pricing your Service, etc.
The Small Business Development Center hosts regularly scheduled training seminars on Doing Business with Pinellas County. In this seminar participants receive information on what it takes to participate in the competitive process for County contracts and learn about the Pinellas County purchasing system. They also receive personal assistance from Pinellas County Purchasing staff to get registered to do business with County Government.
To learn more visit https://www.pced.org/page/GovContracting