Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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

Gov. Rick Scott shakes hands with Sofia Ferrin, 75, during his visit to a business workshop Thursday called Florida Get Your Business Online, which helps small businesses create and maintain websites, at the Tampa Museum of Art.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

Gov. Rick Scott shakes hands with Sofia Ferrin, 75, during his visit to a business workshop Thursday called Florida Get Your Business Online, which helps small businesses create and maintain websites, at the Tampa Museum of Art.

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]

On the web

To learn more about the state's initiative for helping business owners get on the Web, start at www.gybo.com/florida.

Gov. Scott brings Google, Intuit to Tampa to get business on the Web 04/05/12 [Last modified: Thursday, April 5, 2012 11:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  2. Mother's testimony about toddler's death brings judge to tears

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Nayashia Williams woke up early on May 7, 2014, to the sound of her daughter calling for her. It was the last time the young mother's mornings would begin with a summons from Myla Presley, who couldn't yet climb over the mesh fencing around the playpen she used as a bed.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing the 19 month-old daughter of his girlfriend in 2014. He said the child fell while he was giving her a bath. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Speakers: Getting tough can't be only response to teen car thefts

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.

    Wengay Newton, Florida House of Representatives (in front, in center), talks as a panelist to a packed room during a community forum on "Reclaiming our Youth: Is Juvenile Justice a Reality?" at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum in St. Petersburg Wednesday evening (10/17/17). The event was presented by the Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association. Community leaders discussed the ongoing auto theft epidemic among Pinellas youth.
  4. Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility and spousal abuse

    Politics

    White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Donald Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter told the …

  5. Black entrepreneur says city stiffing him on project after he endorsed Rick Baker

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — A prominent African-American resident says his endorsement of mayoral candidate Rick Baker has led city officials to freeze him out of a major construction project along the historic "Deuces" stretch of 22nd Street S.