Clearwater’s Business Climate is Bright and Beautiful. With  redevelopment plans for the waterfront along  Coachman Park and the Seminole Boat Ramp, US 19 Zoning Enhancements, and a surge of entrepreneurialism, the city is positions to flourish.

To compliment all of the wonderful community amenities, the city is a partner of Clearwater Business SPARK, a resource network to support businesses and entrepreneurs in every stage of development.

The eight network partners operate out of their own facilities, but collaborate to assist entrepreneurs and small business owners in achieving their goals. Their work is pretty extraordinary!

Below are a few examples of the services the partners offer: (Many resources are offered at no cost- just reach out to learn more if you have any questions):

  • Business Coaching
  • Training
  • Educational Programs
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Location Selection Assistance
  • Co-Working Spaces
  • Makerspaces
  • Online Research Databases
  • Access To Financing
  • Collaborative Labs/Strategic Planning Sessions

Here is a little more information about each of the 8 partners:

CITY OF CLEARWATER ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & HOUSING DEPARTMENT

Economic Development and Housing provides the network access to incentive and grant opportunities, office/retail and industrial site selection assistance, business licensing and permitting and regulatory assistance.

Website-
http://www.myclearwater.com/economicdevelopment

CLEARWATER REGIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Aside from promoting entrepreneurship, the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce is working with educators to support curriculum for job training and elevating the profile of Clearwater- regionally and beyond.

This amazing Chamber also offers mentorship opportunities, educational programs and seminars, business advocacy, and an abundance of collaborative opportunities.

Website:
www.clearwaterflorida.org

FLORIDA SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER AT PINELLAS COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The  experienced, certified consultants at the Florida Small Business Development Center, guide business owners through the landscape of starting and operating a business.  Whether you need to develop a business plan or marketing strategy, or seek the professional expertise, tools, and information necessary to make sound business decisions, they have the tools to help you grow.

Through professional workshops and business counseling sessions you are going to get some very definitive marching orders on what the next steps in your business growth should look like.

Website:
www.pced.org/entrepreneurs


CLEARWATER PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM – MAIN LIBRARY

Oh boy! The library is one of the MOST AWESOME resources we have access to.

All Library Resources are FREE!

  • Multimedia Studio – Produce, edit, and publish video, audio and photographic works at the Multimedia Studio
  • The Discovery Studio – Multiple stations focusing on science, technology and engineering, art, and math.
  • Innovation Studio – Print 3D objects, film and produce original videos, learn about circuitry and robotics, and much more at the Innovation Studio of Technology and Business.
  • Creative Studio – Using a variety of craft supplies provided by the Studio, you can make anything from a bracelet to a painting to a handbag. Check out their site and explore all the classes and resources you have been missing out on.

Website:
http://www.myclearwaterlibrary.com

PROSPERA

For over 25 years, Prospera has been providing bilingual assistance (at NO COST) to Hispanic entrepreneurs through seminars, individual consulting sessions, and provide access to business grants.. They have a plethora of local success stories-check out their site and let a friend know.

Website:
www.Prosperausa.org​

PINELLAS COUNTY SCORE

SCORE is a 501(c)(3), nationwide, nonprofit association that offers FREE personal and confidential mentoring, educational workshops and business tools. Their mentoring services are provided by both active and retired business executives and entrepreneurs who donate their time and expertise as mentors.

Their array of FREE workshops cover a variety of topics including writing a business plan, advertising and marketing strategies, negotiating leases, applying for patents and registering trademarks, and navigating local government licensing and regulatory issues.

Website:
www.pinellascounty.score.org

St. Petersburg College

SPC’s Workforce Institute offers a ton of training, continuing education, industry certifications, licensures and career pathways that allow individuals and business to enhance their skills and reach their goals. Some programs are offered through scholarship programs and others are fee based. Check out their site for all offerings.

SPC’s Collaborative Labs has assisted THOUSANDS of companies around the  country with their incredible strategic-planning sessions. This is a group who facilitates organizational problem solving using a unique approach that will leave a company with a direct action plan that produces tangible results.

Website:
spcollege.edu/workforceinstitute     https://www.collaborativelabs.com/

THE TAMPA BAY BLACK BUSINESS INVESTMENT CORPORATION (Tampa Bay BBIC)

Tampa Bay BBIC is a local investment organization dedicated to providing business and funding opportunities to entrepreneurs from all ethnic backgrounds.

They provide services to small businesses such as underwriting, analysis of business and personal financial statements, site visits, technical assistance – services that may not be cost effective for banks.

Tampa Bay BBIC provides direct loans to businesses in need of funding for continued operations and growth. Without a third party involved, Tampa Bay BBIC has greater discretion and often has lower rates and fees than loans obtained by businesses through traditional means. This loan product can also be used to fund working capital needs, equipment purchases, inventory and real estate.

Check out their site for more info and details.

Website:
www.tampabaybbic.com

Now that is A LOT of info to digest. In a nutshell, if you are looking to start or grow your business in Clearwater please reach out to Clearwater Business SPARK Program Coordinator Audra Aja at (727) 443-0217, and she will be able to chat with you and point you in the direction of the best resources for your needs.

Have an awesome day!