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St. Pete Chamber gets grant to advance entrepreneurial growth

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s focus on entrepreneurs and small business startups received a boost Thursday with the news that the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg has approved a grant of $314,187 for the Chamber’s Greenhouse Community Business Development Initiative.

The initiative will award small business startup stipends, provide continuing technical training, and mentorship to provide the citizens of South St. Petersburg, particularly in the community redevelopment area, resources to start and grow businesses.

The Chamber will be partnering with the 2020 Plan Taskforce and using shared resources created at the Greenhouse — a program developed by the city and chamber.

“We began this year with a challenge to ourselves to ‘think big’ regarding the impact we can have on the entire St. Petersburg area — and today’s announcement illustrates the commitment this chamber has for moving every business forward,” Chamber board of governors chair Gregory Holden said.

He added: “This grant is validation by the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg that the Chamber’s focus on entrepreneurship and small business startups is an important element to improve population health, and will continue into the future and is changing lives.”

This new initiative is a result of the Grow Smarter Strategy, a comprehensive economic development strategy which the chamber, the city and more than two dozen other entities throughout the community recently created.

The plan identifies six themes for success — including target job creation, awareness building, district & corridor investments, coordinated education and training, culture and community diversity and entrepreneurial support.

“The goal of the Grow Smarter plan is inclusive prosperity — a concept where everyone in our community has the opportunity to participate in our economy,” said Chris Steinocher, Chamber president and CEO. “This grant and focus on the entrepreneurs in the community redevelopment area will go a long way to achieve real success for those wanting help today.”

Cory Adler, executive director of the 2020 Task Force, “We look forward to working with the chamber and the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg on this critical initiative. Jobs are critical to achieve our shared goal of reducing poverty in south St. Petersburg. 2020 is a catalyst and partner for programs like these and many others to ensure self-employment and job creation.”

Sean Kennedy, manager of the St. Petersburg Greenhouse and economic development for the chamber, said, “Our partnership with the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg presents the opportunity to positively affect the community of south St. Petersburg and enhance the work of the chamber and the Greenhouse in assisting the development of new businesses and the growth of existing businesses.”

The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, originally founded in 1899, now serves more than 1,200 member firms and organizations. Continually identifying ways to create and enhance opportunities to do business in St. Petersburg, the Chamber works to improve the local economic climate and to build a thriving business environment. The council represents perspectives of local business in St. Petersburg, providing and fostering leadership on critical business and community issues.

Information is available at stpete.com.

The Greenhouse is St. Petersburg’s front door to business growth, providing business owners and entrepreneurs with the education, resources and assistance necessary to thrive in today’s economy. Comprised of an expert team from the city of St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, along with a wide network of partners, we are committed to the growth and development of St. Petersburg’s economy.

The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg is a private Foundation formed from the sale of Bayfront Medical Center. The Foundation’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of our community through initiatives that create sustainable, effective improvements to the quality and quantity of life.

The Foundation’s north star is to improve population health.

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