The 2020 goal is for South St. Petersburg’s business sector to become a stronger force in creating jobs and growing income. 2020 objectives are to raise $10 million for capital & capacity services to intensively support 500 entrepreneurs to launch and grow their firms.
Partners’ Impact since 2014
$2.4 million raised for business services
14 new programs for business growth
393 entrepreneurs trained and supported Capacity Growth From 2014 through 2016, partners worked together to achieve 8-fold growth in entrepreneurs coached and trained annually to launch or grow enterprises.
Capital Access Expanded: A 2014 City report cited “Lack of capital” as “the biggest challenge to growing and sustaining small businesses” in South St. Petersburg. Since then, collaborative efforts have closed the gap in capital access (for now, as more firms work to become “capital ready”). The BBIC continues to lead the way with new and increased investments from Pinellas County, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, U.S. Small Business Administration and most recently, the Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital Program. The BBIC opened a new Incubator on 22nd Street S. in June 2016, offering space to five firms.
New Online Directory: 2020 is an anchor partner of a new online business directory -blackbrowncommunity.com - to inspire more buying from community-based firms. Built by young entrepreneurs, it went live during the 2016 holiday season and has so far attracted 51 business listings. The goal is 100 firms by this year’s season. Project partners include the Power Broker, Weekly Challenger, Community Development & Training Center, BlackintheBay.com, and others.
Targeting New Opportunities, Revenue: Helping businesses to grow revenue and jobs is vital to 2020 goals. Since 2014, partners such as the BBIC, 2020, Chamber, and City have supported this priority (including contracting $450,000 in new revenue to community entrepreneurs and organizations). The 2020 Plan is behind schedule toward its target for contract connections ($25 million), but may still reach the mark as the Impact St. Pete project gains steam and new efforts by the Opportunity Taskforce and Collective Empowerment Group bear fruit. New community resources include the CATCH Program by the Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corp. (BBIC) and the Community Business Development Initiative by the St. Petersburg Greenhouse and Chamber, both offering expert consulting, training and stipends for start-up or growth expenses (funded by the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg).