UNIQUE PARTNERSHIP HELPS SMALL
PORT ST. LUCIE BUSINESSES COPE
BY ANTHONY WESTBURY
26 Port St. Lucie Magazine
Working in a unique partnership between the City of Port St. Lucie and the Small Business Development Center at Indian River State College are, from left:
Elijah Wooten, business navigator for the city, City Manager Russ Blackburn and Tom KIndred, regional director of the Florida SBDC at IRSC.
City council and development center at IRSC offer
advice, classes and tools to ease financial losses
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on America has
been immense — almost 400,000 deaths as of January and the
economic fallout from shuttered businesses has ranged from
layoffs to bankruptcies.
In May, the Census Small Business Pulse Survey revealed
the damage done by COVID-19 to this disproportionate
percentage of the economy. Businesses that employ fewer
than 500 people make up 44% of the total U.S. workforce. The
survey showed it will take more than six months for most
small businesses to return to normalcy — even if they survive
Of 100,000 businesses surveyed, 83.5% reported negative
effects from the pandemic. Of those, 41.4% temporarily
closed at least one location for at least one day and nearly
45% reported serious disruptions in their supply chain.
Fortune magazine reported in September that more than
100,000 small businesses had permanently shut down during
the first nine months of the pandemic. A variety of other
reports estimated that between 800 and 1,500 small businesses
a day were failing. Anecdotally at least, those trends are reflected
on the Treasure Coast.
Yet one state-funded entity and a local council in St. Lucie
County have acted in concert to stop the rot and try to build
back the small business sector through enhanced training and
business advice services to entrepreneurs.
IN EXISTENCE FOR 12 YEARS
The Florida Small Business Development Center at Indian
River State College has been active in assisting small businesses
prosper and grow for a number of years.
Specifically, according to director Tom Kindred, the
SBDC’s credentialed business consulting programs have
been available to small business owners for more than 12
years, offering a range of consultancy services: designing >>