Make us your home page

Hernando County to help fund Small Business Development Center

BROOKSVILLE — For the past few years, the Small Business Development Center has offered expert advice to Hernando County's small-business operators.

This week, it was the Hernando County Commission that stepped up to provide help for the center, which is in the offices of the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.

For the past two years, the center was funded with grant money provided to the chamber by the Pasco-Hernando Workforce Board, but that money has dried up, forcing the chamber to reduce the contract with the center from $25,000 to $17,000, leaving the office open just two days a week.

Further negotiations have reduced the contract to $14,000, according to Morris Porton of the chamber's governmental affairs committee.

The commission on Tuesday approved a partnership with the center, the chamber and Hernando Progress, a group of business leaders, to keep the center operating.

The chamber will absorb the $18,600 cost of housing the center. The county and Hernando Progress will each pay $7,000.

"We're basically investing in jobs and job creation,'' said County Commission Chairman Dave Russell.

Especially during tough economic times, small-business people don't have the time to track down experts to help them with everything from accounting to inventory control, Porton said.

Others come to the area ready to invest their life savings in a business they've always dreamed of opening, but without help from experts, they could find themselves biting off too much and failing, he said.

That's where the Small Business Development Center comes in.

"We think that it's a very important project,'' Porton said. "There have been so many success stories. It helps people run their business. It helps people survive.''

The center, which is affiliated with the University of South Florida, opened at the chamber office in 2010. Staff from the center offers free one-on-one confidential counseling, ranging from marketing and business plan development to succession and strategic planning.

The center also provides training and data that can be useful to businesspeople.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando County to help fund Small Business Development Center 04/26/13 [Last modified: Friday, April 26, 2013 7:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Senate GOP leaders face tough job in selling health-care bill to their members


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders on Thursday moved swiftly to begin selling their health-care measure to substantially rewrite the Affordable Care Act to their wary members as they seek to garner enough support to pass the bill in an expected vote next week.

    U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The bill's chief author, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has said "Obamacare is collapsing around us, and the American people are desperately searching for relief." [AP]
  2. Rick Scott eyes Patronis as CFO, but it may not help him in Panhandle

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott's expected pick of Jimmy Patronis as the state's next Chief Financial Officer would be a solid addition to the Republican Party ticket but may not do much to smooth some rough waters developing in the Panhandle over schools, area Republicans said this week.

    Former state Rep. Jimmy Patronis, left, is being considered by Gov. Rick Scott for the state's chief financial officer. Patronis, seen with Scott in 2011, is considered one of the governor's chief loyalists. 

  3. In your 20s and living with mom and dad? In Florida, you're not alone.

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — After graduating from the University of Florida in 2015, Gabrielle Piloto jumped on the highway and headed south to Tampa.

    Gabrielle Piloto, 22, moved home to live with her grandparents in West Tampa after graduating from the University of Florida in 2015. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]

  4. Southwest Airlines to offer flights from Tampa to San Diego


    TAMPA — Southwest Airlines will offer new nonstop service from Tampa International Airport to San Diego International Airport beginning Jan. 8, 2018.

    Southwest Airlines is planning to launch service from Tampa to San Diego.
[Times file photo]
  5. Tampa Bay homes values continue to rise along with sales prices

    Real Estate

    For the second month in a row, Tampa Bay had one of the highest year -over-year increases in home values in May, Zillow reported today.

    For the second month in a row, Tampa Bay had one of the highest year -over-year increases in home values in May, Zillow reported Thursday.
[Times file photo]