Monday, September 17, 2018
Business

Small business owners within different industries cite problems finding good help

TAMPA — What's the biggest gripe of small businesses trying to grow during this feeble recovery?

Too much regulation and lack of financing are still cited as perennial obstacles to growth.

But if a small business forum here this week is any indication, a third concern hovers toward the top of the list: Despite unemployment pushing 9 percent, it's still too hard to find good help.

"We're in manufacturing … and that's probably the No 1 problem we have is finding qualified people," Andy Malcolm, president of Clearwater-based surge protector maker Advanced Protection Technologies, said during a panel discussion kicking off the two-day Small Business Leadership Forum.

"Let me be clear: We have a problem," said fellow panelist Deborah Duffey, president of Dermazone Solutions, a St. Petersburg company that uses nanotechnologies to make natural skin care products work faster and smarter.

In addition to seeking graduates of St. Petersburg College, Eckerd College and other universities with limited success, Duffey also tried "importing" people from other states, but the area's poor reputation in public education dissuaded recruits. She urged more government training funds, particularly oriented toward science-based jobs.

For Harold Boyett, who runs a same-day delivery service based in Jacksonville called Blue Streak Couriers, soliciting job applicants online isn't the problem. He's frustrated that so many of them fail to subsequently show up for their scheduled interviews.

"Some just checked off a box" to show they're trying to find a job as a prerequisite to receiving unemployment insurance, Boyett said to a large round of applause. His suggestion: cut off unemployment benefits sooner to motivate job seekers.

Florida already has one of the lowest unemployment benefits, with a maximum payout of $275 a week, and the state has cut the length of benefits to between 12 weeks and 23 weeks. Florida also is currently considered the toughest state to receive unemployment aid, with only 49 percent of applicants deemed eligible compared to 71 percent nationwide, according to a recent analysis.

The forum, co-organized by Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and the Jim Moran Institute within Florida State University's College of Business, drew nearly 200 small business entrepreneurs, economic development advisers and university reps to the Westin Harbor Island.

Among industries represented are manufacturing, construction, hospitality, leisure, financial services, professional services and life sciences.

Jeff Harrington can be reached at (727) 893-8242 or [email protected]

Comments
New Papa John’s ads emphasize ‘this isn’t a single person’s brand’

New Papa John’s ads emphasize ‘this isn’t a single person’s brand’

Associated PressNEW YORK — Papa John’s, which wants to distance itself from founder John Schnatter, is releasing new ads Tuesday that replace him with a diverse group of franchisees. The commercials show several franchisees looking into the camera a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Coca-Cannabis? Coke analyzing cannabis in wellness drinks

Coca-Cannabis? Coke analyzing cannabis in wellness drinks

The Coca-Cola Company said Monday it is "closely watching" the expanding use of a cannabis element in drinks, another sign cannabis and cannabis-infused products are getting more acceptance in mainstream culture and a harder look from long-...
Updated: 2 hours ago
St. Pete condo of Weight Watchers’ Mindy Grossman hits market at nearly $4-million

St. Pete condo of Weight Watchers’ Mindy Grossman hits market at nearly $4-million

ST. PETERSBURG — Mindy Grossman, the former HSN chief who now heads Weight Watchers International, has put her Beach Drive condo on the market at the hefty price of $3.95 million.The three-bedroom, three-and 1/2 bath unit on the 24th floor of Ovation...
Updated: 2 hours ago
St. Petersburg ranks best in Florida for immigrant inclusivity

St. Petersburg ranks best in Florida for immigrant inclusivity

ST. PETERSBURG — A new study singles out St. Petersburg as the top-ranked city in Florida for promoting the economic well-being of immigrants, but Mayor Rick Kriseman thinks more can be done.Kriseman on Monday celebrated the city’s No. 13 ranking nat...
Published: 09/17/18
Mayo and ketchup mixers, rejoice: Bottled ‘Mayochup’ is coming soon

Mayo and ketchup mixers, rejoice: Bottled ‘Mayochup’ is coming soon

Get your french fries ready: Heinz is set to roll out its newest condiment in the United States very soon.The latest addition to the company’s product lineup is Mayochup. It’s comprised of -- you guessed it -- mayonnaise and ketchup. Back in April, H...
Published: 09/17/18
Report: Florida’s family caregiver laws not so family-friendly

Report: Florida’s family caregiver laws not so family-friendly

Florida may be known for its family-friendly beaches and theme park attractions, but a recent report says not everything in the Sunshine State is as embracing of families. The National Partnership for Women & Families gave Florida a "C-minus" grade f...
Published: 09/17/18
Analysis: The billionaire behind the National Debt Clock has had it with Trump

Analysis: The billionaire behind the National Debt Clock has had it with Trump

When U.S. government debt topped a trillion dollars for the first time in the early 1980s, New York real estate magnate Seymour Durst sent every member of Congress a holiday card that said: "Happy New Year! Your share of the federal debt is $5,000."W...
Published: 09/17/18
Co-founder of Salesforce buys Time magazine for $190 million

Co-founder of Salesforce buys Time magazine for $190 million

WASHINGTON — Time Magazine is being sold by Meredith Corp. to Marc Benioff, a co-founder of Salesforce, and his wife, it was announced Sunday.Meredith announced that it was selling Time magazine for $190 million in cash to Benioff, one of four...
Published: 09/17/18
Kohl’s looks to hire hundreds in Tampa Bay ahead of holidays

Kohl’s looks to hire hundreds in Tampa Bay ahead of holidays

Kohl’s stores in the greater Tampa Bay area are hiring nearly 500 people for seasonal jobs ahead of the holiday shopping season.Several local stores will hold interview events on Sept. 15. Candidates can go to participating stores that day for an int...
Published: 09/14/18
Florida Taco Bell employee refuses to help client who doesn’t speak Spanish

Florida Taco Bell employee refuses to help client who doesn’t speak Spanish

MIAMI - A video of an argument with a Taco Bell employee in Hialeah, Fla., has unleashed a wave of indignation on social media.The incident happened on Wednesday night, when Alexandria Montgomery was trying to place an order - in English - at a Taco ...
Published: 09/14/18