Calling all Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

00102Need assistance growing your business? Want to take advantage of available business resources at no cost? Need to take your business to the next level? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then contact the Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) for a confidential one-on-one meeting with one of our expert Certified Business Consultants.

As the only state designated provider of entrepreneurial and business development services, the Florida SBDC Network plays a vital role in Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by assisting entrepreneurs and small to medium sized businesses in every stage of the business cycle. The Florida SBDC Network’s experienced and knowledgeable Certified Business Consultants can help you successfully navigate the obstacles that come with every stage of the business lifecycle.

In partnership with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce the FSBDC has assigned a consultant to hold meetings at the Chamber with member businesses on the 4th Thursday of every month. To schedule a confidential meeting with a certified business consultant, please call 813-914-4028 or click You can register online and schedule a meeting on a date and time that best fits your schedule; best of all these services are provided at no additional cost to you! 

Invitation To Chile Trade Mission, December 1-5

I would personally like to invite you to join  us for the Tampa Bay Trade Mission to Chile scheduled for December 1 – 5, 2014.  This mission marks the first official activity of the Tampa Bay Export Alliance,  a partnership between the Tampa Hillsborough EDC and Pinellas County Economic Development, and it’s an opportunity to show strong regional support for Copa Airlines and its non-stop service to Panama City and points beyond. The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with Tampa International Airport and our regional partners, including the EDC, to win the Copa business and this  mission makes the strongest possible statement regarding community support. I will be going on the trip along with Ron Christaldi, the Chair-elect of the GTCC.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Hillsborough County Commissioner Lesley “Les” Miller, Jr. and Pinellas County Commissioner Karen Seel will set the bi-county tone of the initiative by leading the delegation to this vibrant Latin American country.

Our entire Hillsborough County economic development  “A” team will join us, including the EDC, Tampa International Airport, Port Tampa Bay and Visit Tampa Bay. Pinellas County Economic Development is working to bring its partners in Pinellas County, and the Tampa Bay Partnership will join the delegation as well.  The Tampa Bay Export Alliance is partnering with Copa as the official mission carrier.  During the visit, our regional visitor bureaus will be launching an in-country marketing campaign  to drive even more tourism, business and passengers to Tampa Bay.  These missions are a perfect example of how laser focused and closely aligned we are in developing our international opportunities.

In addition to our business and political ambassadors, the EDC will have approximately 15 companies taking part in an official United States Commercial Service Gold Key Matchmaker meeting with potential partners and buyers in Chile. These companies represent some of our region’s major  employers, manufactures and exporters. These are the companies that fill our planes, use our ports and directly support our efforts to grow both.

This mission will also feature a “Doing Business in Tampa Bay” event in partnership with Select USA.  This is the opportunity for us to sell our community to potential businesses that are looking at establishing a US presence. It is important that they get the opportunity to meet some of you, the business leaders, and learn about the Tampa Bay business community.

On a recent advance trip, Lorrie Belovich, the EDC’s Director of International Business Development and Deborah Wilkinson of the Tampa Bay Trade and Protocol Council  met with the Embassy team, Chile Copa representatives, AmCham Chile, Trade Chile and many other partners who are very eager to welcome us and learn more about Tampa Bay.  Both the U.S. Ambassador and the Mayor of Santiago are rolling out the red carpet for our delegation.

I hope you will consider joining us and help fly the international flag of our community, and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

CLICK HERE to view the mission brochure.

To register, please visit the link below:

With best regards,

Mr. Bob Rohrlack

President & CEO

Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

Coastal Cities Summit

Regional Issues & Opportunities discussed at the Coastal Cities Summit

Hosted by the University of South Florida, the Coastal Cities Summit will convey new research and innovative strategies on planning for coastal risks, smart growth, transportation, and tourism. Real estate, developers, architects, planners and land-use managers will be interested in the One Bay discussion and two special workshops on creating value in land use and smart growth on May 3 from 8:00 to 1:00 at the Bayfront Hilton, St. Petersburg. Tampa Chamber members can register with the Day Pass for $50 includes lunch.Very small business/student rate: $10 (no meals).

  • Creating Value with Public Spaces — Dennis Jerke, co-author of Urban Design and the Bottom Line will discuss how to generate greater value and calculate the economic, social/cultural, environmental and sensory value of green spaces, urban waterways, transporation centers etc. Jerke provides real numbers and lessons learned from his research and experience on 300+ significant land development and public projects. Dennis shows how to comprehensively define the benefits and impacts of good, pre-investment design upon the community, businesses, city officials and the developer.
  • One Bay: Creating a Regional Vision: Legos to Legacy with Avera Wynne, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, Elisa Degregorio, Tampa Bay Partnership and James A. Moore, HDR, Inc. – Chair, ULI Tampa Bay
  • Smart Growth: Using Local Policy and Incentives to Stimulate Economic Health, Steve Tindale, Tindale Oliver & Associates and Nick Casalanguida, Deputy Administrator for Collier County discuss how land use, mobility, economic policies and incentives can be used to enhance community health and the environment, reduce public infrastructure costs, and stimulate the tax base for local governments.

Still Time to Register for Rethinking Tourism Program on May 1

International tourism/development organizations, business leaders and scientists will discuss tourism and public-private approaches that support local businesses, communities, and preserve or restore nature assets at the Coastal Cities Summit on May 1 at the Bayfront Hilton, St. Petersburg, hosted by the University of South Florida. Local speakers include Stuart Rogel, CEO, Tampa Bay Partnership and a special panel of tourism and hospitality experts Maryann Ferenc, owner Mise en Place, and appointee to the US. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board; Keith Overton, CEO/President, TradeWinds Hotel; Lew Hastings, Boca Grande Chamber of Commerce; John Waldron, Florida Outdoor Recreational Coalition; and others discuss trends, regional competitive issues and innovations. Other presentations include: Reinventing Tourism Destinations: Creating an Underwater Art Museum and case studies from the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Tampa Chamber members can register with the Day Pass for $50 includes lunch and networking reception. Very small business/student rate: $10 (no meals). 

Norwegian Cruise Line makes splash celebrating Tampa as its newest homeport

The Tampa Port Authority officially welcomed Norwegian Star to Tampa during a plaque exchange ceremony commemorating Tampa as Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest homeport. In addition to attendance by port officials and local tourism leaders, more than 100 travel agents, together with media representatives, enjoyed a guided tour of the Freestyle Cruising® vessel. The 2,348-passenger ship is sailing a series of seven-day Western Caribbean cruises through April 8, 2012 with stops in Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; along with two relaxing days at sea.

“The addition of Norwegian Cruise Line is very exciting for us and a testament that Tampa exemplifies a strong and growing cruise market. We look forward to a long and rewarding relationship with our new cruise partner,” said Richard Wainio, port director and Tampa Port Authority chief executive.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s presence will result in the addition of an estimated 130,000 guests to the Port’s growing passenger numbers, projected to reach a total of 950,000 passengers arriving and departing via Tampa this coming year. Over the course of the season, it is estimated that passenger and crew spending resulting from Norwegian Star will have an impact of over $8 million on the local economy.

Norwegian Cruise Line will continue to make Tampa its home again next year when Norwegian Dawn will replace Norwegian Star in November 2012.

Tampa Port Authority ( ) administers Florida’s largest and one of the nation’s most diversified ports, handling a wide mix of bulk, break bulk, RoRo and containerized cargoes, and is also one of the nation’s premier cruise home ports, as well as a major center for shipbuilding and repair. The Port of Tampa is the largest economic engine in west and central Florida, generating nearly 100,000 jobs and some $8 billion in economic impact.

Tampa International Airport Announces Nonstop Service to Zurich, Switzerland

Edelweiss Air will connect Tampa to Zurich starting May 25, 2012

Today, Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano announced the Airport and its strategic economic partners were successful at attracting Edelweiss Air to Tampa with new twice-weekly nonstop service to Zurich, Switzerland. “As the Gateway to the West Coast of Florida and a primary economic engine for the Tampa Bay region, we have a tremendous responsibility and a great opportunity to grow our region,” stated Joe Lopano. “Our success in recruiting Edelweiss is the direct result of our new strategy of bold cooperation with key community partners who are helping us build and deliver compelling business cases to airlines around the world.”

The annual economic impact of Edelweiss’ new service for the Tampa Bay Region is $31.6 million, and it will create 265 new jobs. Edelweiss Air will use an Airbus A330 with 332 seats on board. It is configured with 36 business class seats and 296 economy seats. “I can’t tell you how pleased I am to represent the Chamber’s 1,400 member companies that employ over 500,000 workers, as I say congratulations to the airport and all the economic partners, on a job well-done,” stated Bob Rohrlack, President & CEO, The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.