Alliance to help small businesses in a big way

Kathy and David Dow of Dow Decorating
Kathy and David Dow of Dow Decorating have found the Business Accelerator Program classes, part of the partnership between Port St. Lucie and the Florida Small Business Development Center at Indian River State College, very useful as they promote their business during the pandemic. ROB DOWNEY

Anyone familiar with Port St. Lucie commerce knows that the small business community is its heart and soul.

Now the seventh largest city in the state, Port St. Lucie boasts a population of 201,846, according to 2019 census estimates. The city has nearly 16,000 business firms, according to 2012 figures, the latest available. While that number has undoubtedly increased and many of these businesses are home-based, it nonetheless reveals a business to population ratio of about 1 to 13. Figures for 2016-17 showed that Port St. Lucie had more new businesses formed than anywhere else in the United States.

Small businesses in Port St. Lucie have been hard hit during the coronavirus pandemic, with many temporarily closing or closing altogether. And for the ones that survive, a Census Small Business Pulse Survey recently revealed it will take more than six months for them to return to normalcy.

As Anthony Westbury reports for us in “Unique partnership helps Port St. Lucie businesses cope” [Page 26] the city council and the Florida Small Business Development Center at Indian River State College have teamed up to stanch the flow of small business failures in the city.

“Simply stated, we want to help our citizens bring their dreams of starting their own businesses to life, and we want to help their businesses grow to their full potential in our safe, beautiful and prosperous city for all people,” Mayor Gregory Oravec said.

Under the partnership, Michael Bernard will act as a full-time consultant to city businesses. Previously, he had just been a part-time consultant.

Besides providing assistance to small businesses, the new partnership plans to develop a detailed plan concentrating on retail and hospitality, manufacturing, biotech and home-based businesses.

With all the awards the city wins for being a great place to live, it’s comforting to know that the city cares about small businesses and wants to see them thrive.

See the original article in the print publication

Gregory Enns Signature

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