Sunday, December 17, 2017
Politics

Gov. Scott brings Google, Intuit to Tampa to get business on the Web

TAMPA — Eillim Cintron and her husband sank their savings into a semitrailer rig three years ago after he lost his trucker job.

Self-employment meant a learning curve. Her spouse, Tulio Figueroa, knew the roads but had no cargo. Permits? All new territory.

Cintron, 36, remembers tears of worry. But the work came, and now they do business in 27 states.

Thursday, with him on the road, she tackled the latest challenge: how to build a website for the trucking company they call Paraiso Fenix, Spanish for Phoenix Paradise.

"We want to expand," she said.

This time, no tears. She even had Florida Gov. Rick Scott wishing her luck.

At Scott's invitation, representatives from Google and Intuit have been staging workshops throughout Florida to help businesses get on the Web.

Cintron, who lives in Mulberry, was among 150 people who attended Thursday sessions at the Tampa Museum of Art.

Tony Phillips, 39, was there, too. He wanted to get T&T Pressure Cleaning online, after 17 years in the business.

Sofia Ferrin, 75, of Wesley Chapel, showed up to promote the Perky Panty, a body shaper with adjustable elastic straps. "No one wants a saggy butt," she said.

She squeezed Gov. Scott's hand when he stopped in for a few minutes to wish the budding webmasters success. He drew a laugh when he encouraged them to create 700,000 new jobs.

"As Floridians, we don't brag enough about the great things in our state," he said afterward. "We haven't been aggressive about promoting ourselves, and the easiest place to do it is online, where the world sees you and can see all your products."

The Florida Get Your Business Online initiative allows anyone to create a company website and have it hosted by Intuit free for one year. After that, Intuit's renewal rate is $4.99 to $6.99 per month, depending on whether you've already staked out a domain name.

"Google does not have a financial stake in revenue from renewals," said Scott Levitan, director of marketing for Google. "Our interest is to get businesses online and to get them succeeding online."

It isn't necessary to attend a workshop to participate. Online instructions are available at www.gybo.com/florida.

More than two-thirds of Florida businesses don't have websites, Levitan said. People have misconceptions about the cost and difficulty, he said, noting that a website may be set up in less time than it takes to do laundry.

Those at Thursday's sessions seemed, in ways, a snapshot of the community — men, women, black, white, Hispanic and Asian. Interpreters signed for a man who is hearing impaired and translated for a woman whose native language is Spanish. A few used a wheelchair or cane.

Fred Moore, a former board member for the nonprofit Tampa Organization of Black Affairs, said he was surprised how many people signed up.

"We put the word out and before we knew it, the slots were taken up," he said.

Like many, the truck driver's wife hopes to use their new website to draw business. "We want to create an image of a responsible enterprise," she said.

She wants to offer dispatch services for other independent truckers. Some have limited English skills and lose work over it, she said. Some are in the spot her husband was once in: They have trucks and trailers but need help finding loads.

The site will be bilingual, she says. Originally from Puerto Rico, she's fluent in English and Spanish. She worked at a bank for five years and studied psychology in college.

She was happy with what she learned Thursday.

"I definitely will be using it this afternoon to finish the website and get it up and running," she said.

Patty Ryan can be reached at (813) 226-3382 or [email protected]

Comments
Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is saying he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump returned to the White House from Camp David on Sunday and was asked if he was considering dismissing the man investigating whether there ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

WASHINGTON — Closing in on the first major legislative achievement of his term, President Donald Trump on Saturday defended the Republican tax cut as a good deal for the middle class while boldly suggesting it could lead to explosive economic growth....
Published: 12/16/17
Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Sometime soon, members of the Florida House will be asked to consider a solution for bullying in public schools. It’s a dubious idea based on the premise that students should flee their tormenters, and use voucher funds to attend a private school of ...
Published: 12/16/17
CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

Trump administration officials are forbidding officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases - including "fetus" and "transgender" - in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.Polic...
Published: 12/16/17
Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

A Democratic candidate hoping to flip a hotly contested congressional seat in Kansas has dropped out of the race after allegations that she sexually harassed a male subordinate resurfaced amid her campaign.Andrea Ramsey, 57, who was running to unseat...
Published: 12/16/17
Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have blended separate tax bills passed by the House and Senate into compromise legislation that seeks to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code. GOP leaders are looking toward passage of the final pa...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17
With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers on Friday secured enough votes to pass the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades, putting them on the cusp of their first significant legislative victory this year as party leaders geared up to pass a $1.5 trillion t...
Published: 12/15/17
Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

TAMPA — Nearly 600,000 more people will live in Hillsborough County by 2040, and if elected officials and county planners don’t take bold steps now, the population boom will turn the county into the soulless sprawl of Anywhere, U.S.A.That’s the messa...
Published: 12/15/17
Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

WASHINGTON — America’s top diplomat stepped back Friday from his offer of unconditional talks with North Korea, telling world powers that the nuclear-armed nation must earn the right to negotiate with the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillers...
Published: 12/15/17
Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

A federal judge Friday said a bail package has been put together that would release former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort from home confinement in his condominium in Virginia and allow him to reside at his house in Palm Beach Gardens, but unde...
Published: 12/15/17