MIAMI – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s South Florida District formalized its relationship with the City of St. Petersburg and Manatee County’s Central Economic Development Center, Inc. (CEDC) during two separate Strategic Alliance Memorandum signing ceremonies today.
During a morning ceremony held at the Greenhouse , formerly St. Petersburg’s Business Assistance Center, SBA South Florida District Director Francisco “Pancho” Marrero and St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster signed a two-year agreement strengthening efforts to energize and sustain small business entrepreneurship in St. Petersburg. The Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM) enhances the current city-SBA relationship by outlining resource-sharing, education and outreach responsibilities of each agency.
“I am proud that the SBA and city of St. Petersburg entered into this partnership to promote small businesses,” said U.S. Small Business South Florida District Director Marrero. “This partnership will foster entrepreneurship to create new small business and expand existing businesses that translates to job creation.”
Under the agreement, current and future small business owners will be able to obtain information on SBA programs and services; receive counseling from SBA partners, such as the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and SCORE; and have access to SBA-sponsored events, training and a speaker’s bureau. All of the programs will be included under the umbrella of St. Petersburg’s one-stop economic development shop, the Greenhouse.
“This is a strengthening of our efforts toward the success of small businesses in our city,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster. “With this agreement, those wishing for their part of the American dream will have a stronger ally and, through the Greenhouse St. Petersburg and its partners, including the SBA, better access to financial and training resources to support their efforts.”
A second SAM was signed several hours later formalizing the relationship between SBA and Manatee County’s Central Economic Development Center, Inc. (CEDC).
The CEDC is an independent corporation that primarily serves a large socially and economically disadvantaged audience in Manatee County. Its stated mission includes assisting the development and growth of small businesses, providing business related training and workshops, developing an environment conducive for businesses locating within Manatee County.
Signing the SAM with Marrero was CEDC Chairman Rodney K. Jones.
“SBA loan guarantees in Manatee County have almost doubled in volume as compared to this time last year,” said Marrero. “Through partnerships like this with the CEDC, we can increase the awareness and access of our programs to a larger group of entrepreneurs and small business owners who may not be familiar to the resources available to them.”