Governor Crist Participates In Roundtable Discussion With Small Business Owners

FT LAUDERDALE /Florida Newswire/ -– Governor Charlie Crist today, as part of his continued focus on strengthening Florida’s economy, welcomed small business owners and Florida Small Business Development Center stakeholders for a roundtable discussion on how to enhance Florida’s economy. During the roundtable, Governor Crist emphasized his commitment to keeping Florida as business-friendly as possible.

“Entrepreneurs in Florida’s small business community have the greatest potential for turning our economy around,” said Governor Crist. “They are such a large component of Florida’s economic strength and I remain committed to continuing to foster a business-friendly environment and keep this vital economic engine thriving and prospering.”

The Florida Small Business Development Center Network (FSBDCN) is a statewide partnership of economic development organizations, chambers, institutions of higher learning and other partners committed to the small business community in Florida. The program, funded in 1976 by the U.S. Small Business Administration and hosted by the University of West Florida, collaborates with state college and universities to aid and educate small business owners and entrepreneurs. The FSBDCN has expanded to a statewide network of 33 centers after starting with just two during its first year of operation.

The Governor applauded FSBDCN for their commitment to fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in Florida. The network provides workshops and counseling across the state for small businesses. For more information on FSBDCN please visit

The Governor was joined by:

· Michael J. Donnelly, Owner, Beacon Management Consultants and FSBDCN’s Statewide Advisory Board Chair

· Rafael Cruz, Regional Director, SBDC in Broward

· Rosana Santos, Big Chef

· Manuel Aguiar, Mach Construction Company, Inc.

· Berry Lamy, Just for Kids Tutoring Services, Inc.

· Mark Llano, Source One Distributors, Inc.

· Norman Taylor, Director – Broward County Economic Development

· Robert Swindell , VP – Broward Alliance

· Stella Tokar , President – Miramar – Pembroke Pines Chamber of Commerce

· Norman Seavers , VP, Broward College, Economic Development and Entrepreneur Institutes

Yesterday, the Governor participated in the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association’s annual meeting. During the meeting, Governor Crist applauded the economic benefits of the tourism industry to the state. Florida is home to more than 1.9 million small businesses, many of which are represented in the hospitality and construction industry. Statewide, the hospitality and construction industry contribute more than $84.3 billion to Florida’s gross state product, with nearly 128,000 businesses employing more than 1.47 million Floridians.

Governor Charlie Crist kicked off Florida Small Business Month by attending the opening of the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. The Governor will continue to highlight the impact Florida’s small businesses have on the economy and examine opportunities to help small businesses grow throughout October. This year, the American City Business Journal ranked three Florida cities among the top 20 best areas for small business vitality, including Orlando which ranked number seven. Last year, the Small Business Survival Index ranked Florida the fourth friendliest state for entrepreneurship.

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