APOLLO BEACH — With summer coming up, Jim Martin planned to hire at least one new employee for his air conditioning repair and replacement business.
Aided by a new county small-business incentive, he's now hiring three.
"It could possibly take our business to the next level," said Martin, owner of Apollo Beach Air.
Martin's is one of three east Hillsborough businesses that will receive a boost from the job-creation program passed by the County Commission in mid March.
The program reimburses a portion of wages for up to three new hires. It's available to county businesses with 10 employees or fewer.
The program will fund a total of $500,000. Lynn Schultz, a program coordinator for the county's small-business services, estimates the creation of about 200 full-time jobs.
"It's almost like one of those programs that seems too good to be true," she said.
About six to eight small businesses have applied for the incentives so far, Schultz said.
For Martin, his $10,400 reimbursement eases the financial burden of hiring and frees up money to put toward marketing.
"I really think it's going to help put money back into the economy," Martin said.
Another benefit, he says, comes from the program's requirement to attend business workshops or counseling sessions. That encourages better development and planning, Martin said.
Two businesses will receive $11,700 each in reimbursements: communications consultants Fry and Associates in Plant City and Absolute Auto Repair in Dover.
Stephanie Wang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 661-2443.