SMARTstart CHALLENGE WINNER: Five Pasco County entrepreneurs took the stage recently in the final round of the second annual SMARTstart Challenge, and the winner was NetSynergy Virtual Solutions.
With their win, Chris Moranci and Dagma Quinones received $1,000 in startup capital, courtesy of Goin' Postal in Zephyrhills, and a six-month, off-site membership at the SMARTstart Dade City Incubator, courtesy of the Pasco Economic Development Council.
NetSynergy and the other finalists presented their respective business plans before a panel of judges and an audience at TECO Hall on the campus of Saint Leo University.
Moranci introduced NetSynergy's gift card app to the judges. The app, currently in beta testing, manages multiple gift cards in one location, providing real-time card balances and the ability to share card ownership with others. Approximately 150 vendors/merchants are anticipated to be integrated into the service upon launch.
Second- and third-place winners took home $600 and $400, respectively, courtesy of the Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce. Tracy Ingram of BioScanR received second place, and Jasmine Sweet, with Bethann Reynolds, and Kristy Niccolls, of the Collegiate Cafe, were awarded third place.
INDUSTRY OF THE YEAR NOMINATIONS WANTED: Each year, the Pasco Economic Development Council recognizes outstanding companies for their contributions to the local economy. Companies are recognized for job creation, increased capital investment and contributions to the community through civic involvement.
Industry awards are presented in four categories: manufacturing, service/distribution industry, technology industry, and entrepreneurship and/or exporting.
The Pasco EDC is seeking recommendations or nominations for potential award recipients. Call (813) 926-0827, ext. 227, no later than April 30.
GRANTS FOR WOMEN OFFERED: Women-n-Charge, whose mission, in part, is to support and assist professional women in managing their businesses more effectively, will offer two $1,000 grants this spring. The grant money can be used toward business-related equipment or services and continuing education.
For an application, visit women-n-charge.com. Applications are due by April 15. Winners will be honored at the group's May 6 meeting at Pebble Creek Country Club in Tampa. For information, contact Judy Nicolosi at (813) 600-9848 or email@example.com.
LOCAL BUSINESS EARNS ACCREDITED MEMBERSHIP: POV Home Watch of Hudson recently earned accredited member status in the National Home Watch Association.
The association was formed in 2009 to establish and maintain the highest industry standards for home watch and absentee homeowner services throughout the United States and Canada.
POV Home Watch is owned by Brenda and Michael Martyniak of Hudson. The business serves western Pasco County, southern Hernando County and northern Pinellas County. For information, call Brenda at (727) 858-9648 or Mike at (727) 415-0952, or visit POVHomeWatch.com.
TOP REALTORS: Coldwell Banker F.I. Grey & Son Residential, 6330 U.S. 19, New Port Richey, has announced its top Realtors for February.
Hellen Lima received the award for Top Listing Agent by Units. Sean Riordan was honored with the Top Listing Agent by Volume award. Randal Jenkins received the Top Selling Agent by Units award, and Jeanine Affetto the Top Selling Agent by Volume award. Tricia Shade received the award for Top Producting Agent by Units, and Tom Wibirt was named Top Producing Agent by Volume.
EXECUTIVE CHEF HIRED: Preparing to open its doors and welcome residents in April, Watermark at Trinity has hired Josh Marlowe as executive chef and director of dining services.
The community in Trinity will provide assisted living and memory care services.
Prior to joining Watermark at Trinity, Marlowe was a partner and executive chef at Mind Your Manors, a gastro pub in Fort Lauderdale.
NURSE RECEIVES DAISY AWARD: Registered nurse Kimberly Cicanese was recently presented with the latest Daisy Award for excellence in nursing by Florida Hospital Zephyrhills.
Cicanese joined the nonprofit, faith-based hospital in 2012 and works in surgical services. She was nominated for the award by a patient. Patients, their loved ones and visitors can nominate a nurse for the award. Hospital leadership votes on the nominations.
HOSPITAL EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH: Donald Scalzo, coordinator of environmental services, was recently honored as Employee of the Month for January at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.
As the honoree, Scalzo received an Employee of the Month pin, a selected blanket gift, a reception with refreshments for his colleagues, a $50 gift card, and a front-row parking spot for one month.
CHIEF NURSING OFFICER APPOINTED: Registered nurse Lori Spight was recently appointed chief nursing officer at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.
Spight comes to the hospital from an HCA sister facility, Overland Park Regional Medical Center in Kansas. She holds a master's degree in health administration and a bachelor's degree in nursing. She is also a graduate of the HCA Chief Nursing Officer Development program.
WINERY TO CELEBRATE 1-YEAR ANNIVERSARY: Land O'Lakes Winery, 3901 Land O'Lakes Blvd., Land O'Lakes, will celebrate its first anniversary as a unique concept winery and wine bar with a party beginning at 1 p.m. March 26.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will include live music by KOR, a food truck, winery tours and wine/gift giveaways, including the chance to win a wine-making experience.
The winery was opened by longtime friends and Land O'Lakes residents Sue Hardy and Corey Kempton. For information, visit landolakeswinery.com or call (813) 995-9463.
PUT YOUR EXPERIENCE TO WORK: The Pasco Hernando Chapter of SCORE will host a volunteer recruitment party from 5 to 7 p.m. March 31 at the Oasis Coffee Spot, 9213 Little Road, New Port Richey. Light refreshments will be served.
Volunteer SCORE mentors help small business owners succeed. Volunteers may be retired or currently employed, but should have a sincere commitment to help small businesses. For information, call (727) 842-4638.
NETWORKING FESTIVAL: The Pasco Economic Development Council will host its 14th annual NetFest from 5 to 8 p.m. April 7 at Starkey Ranch, 12959 State Road 54, Odessa.
The networking event, with a Western theme, is a chance to wear blue jeans, plaid shirts and cowboy hats for a casual night of food, drink, music and networking. Tickets are $35 for Pasco EDC investors and guests; $45 for others. Sponsorships levels include: Cowboy for $500, Trail Boss for $1,000 and Cattle Baron for $2,000. Sponsors can assemble a team to participate in the sponsors-only chili cook-off. For information, contact Suzanne at (813) 926-0829 or Suzanne@pascoedc.com.
SMALL BUSINESS SEMINARS: Pasco Hernando SCORE is presenting a series of free small business seminars.
• How to Apply for a Business Loan, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce, 15588 Aviation Loop Drive, south of Brooksville.
• How to Apply for a Business Loan, 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Spring Hill Branch/Harold G. Zopp Memorial Library, 9220 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill.
• Pricing for Profit, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, South Holiday Branch Library, 4649 Mile Stretch Drive, Holiday.
To register and for information, visit pascohernando.score.org and click on the Local Workshops tab or call the SCORE office at (727) 842-4638.
If you have business announcements you would like to share, mail the details to Jean Hamilton, Business Digest, Pasco Times, 11321 U.S. 19, Port Richey, FL 34668. You may also email items to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax them to (352) 754-6133. Submitted items may be edited for length and clarity. Photos are published as space permits; they will not be returned.