Good Morning Valued Chamber Member,
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced the impending launch of the Community Navigator Pilot Program, a $100 million grant program enacted through the American Rescue Plan Act, which will provide small business counseling, networking and assistance during this time of economic recovery. The program will target small businesses owned by women and veterans. The SBA will engage with states, local governments, SBA resource partners, Community Financial Institutions (CFIs), and other organizations in directed outreach efforts. These partners and people in the community are key to this pilot program as they will serve as a two-way information stream, enabling enterprising business owners to receive the help needed from the SBA.
Another recovery program announced by the SBA is the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, which was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act. This program includes over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues and will be administered by the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.
Governor DeSantis recently announced a series of tax breaks for consumers. The first is the state’s annual “10-day Disaster Preparedness Tax Holiday”, which will take place from May 28th through June 6. During these dates - items such as flashlights (under $40), tarps (under $100), batteries (under $50), coolers (under $60), and generators up to $1,000 will be exempt from the sales tax. The second tax holiday is the first-ever “Freedom Week” from July 4th through the 10th, during which time the following items will be exempt from sales tax:
- Admission to events scheduled between July 1 and December 31, including live music events, sporting events, movies, ballets, plays, music theaters, fairs, and festivals
- Use or access to membership clubs providing physical fitness facilities
- Entry to state parks and museums, including annual passes
- Season tickets for cultural events
- Retail sales of specified boating and water activity supplies, camping supplies, fishing supplies, general outdoor supplies, and sports equipment
Additionally, the annual 10-day "Back to School Tax Holiday" will take place from July 31 through August 9. Certain clothing, school supplies, and the first $1,000 of personal computers and related accessories are eligible for a tax break.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) recently announced that Florida has experienced twelve consecutive months of job growth, gaining 18,800 private-sector jobs in the month of April. From April 2020 to April 2021, Florida has gained a total of 795,800 private-sector jobs. Florida’s unemployment rate for April 2021 slightly increased to 4.8 percent, remaining below the national average of 6.1 percent. Florida’s unemployment rate has remained below the national rate for nine consecutive months and decreased by 9.2 percentage points over the year. Additionally, Florida has seen a surge in its labor force since April 2021, which increased by 73,000 over the month, reaching its highest point since the beginning of the pandemic. Florida’s labor force and unemployment rate showed gains this month, which is a sign Floridians are entering the job market.
The DEO also announced they will stop paying jobless residents the $300-a-week federal boost to unemployment benefits effective June 26. This move is intended to help the business community with the current labor shortage. With nearly half a million job openings across the state, this provides Floridians with the opportunity to rejoin the workforce. However, this does not affect two other federal unemployment programs that provide benefits to freelancers, self-employed, and independent contractors. Those benefits are scheduled to end in early September.
The median cost of a single-family home in Palm Beach County reached an all-time high of $466,000 in April, surpassing the median price of a home in Broward County by $2,000. Condominiums and townhomes in Palm Beach County have also seen a significant rise in value, with the median sale price in April reaching $240,250. Comparatively, the median condo price in Broward County was $220,000. The Palm Beach County median home price in April represents a 27.7% increase over the same time last year. Sellers received an average of 98.5% of asking prices in April, up from 97.6% in March and 95.8% a year ago. Inventory remains low, down almost 53% from the same time last year.
The Palm Beach County School Board has made changes regarding the use of facial coverings on District property. Facial coverings remain mandatory for students and staff who are inside campus buildings or riding on school buses. Facial coverings are now optional for students and staff while outside including, but not limited to, playgrounds, athletics, physical education classes and campus transitions during class changes that involve outdoor hallways or courtyards. Teachers are encouraged to include outdoor face mask breaks for students when possible. These updated guidelines will remain in effect for the remainder of this school year.
Looking for a quick way to find an event, register for an event, and receive pop-up notifications of important Chamber, County, City of Boca Raton, and City of Boynton Beach information? Download the Boca Chamber App – found on the App Store and Google Play Store. Keep your Chamber at the tip of your fingers! You can also stay up to date on all Chamber activity by visiting us at bocachamber.com.
We continue to provide you with valuable virtual and in-person experiences. Most virtual programs are recorded and available for you to access on the Boca Chamber’s YouTube Channel. Hit the subscribe button to find out when new content is posted on our channel.
Below is a list of our upcoming virtual and in-person experiences:
5/25 – 12:00 p.m. Virtual Smart Talk for Women
Topic: Finding the Right Online Presence in 2021-2022
Speaker: Nancy Proffitt, Founder, Proffitt Management Solutions
Beginning in June Smart Talk for Women Events will be held in-person
5/25 – 5:00 p.m. Virtual Live After Five
Meet, Connect and Have Fun!
Beginning in June Live After Five Events will be held in-person
5/27 – 8:30 a.m. Virtual Boynton Beach Government Affairs Committee Meeting
Topic: 2021 Florida State Legislative Session Recap
Speaker: Representative Joe Casello, Florida House of Representatives – District 90
5/27 – 12:00 p.m. Virtual Town Hall
Topic: Boynton Beach Bethesda Hospital Town Hall
Speaker: Nelson Lazo, President & CEO, Bethesda Hospital East & Bethesda Hospital West
5/28 – 5:00 p.m. Virtual Boynton Beach Women’s Business Council
Topic: Raising Up Women Entrepreneurs
Speaker: Rhea Jain, CEO and Founder, Renoosh. YEA Graduate and Boca Chamber of Commerce Pearl Award Recipient
6/1 – 12:00 p.m. Virtual International Business Alliance Roundtable
Topic: Considerations to Successfully Break Into a New Market
Speaker: Arminda Figueroa, Founder & CEO, Latin2Latin Marketing & Communications
6/4 – 7:00 a.m. 51st Annual Golf Classic
Boca Raton Resort & Club
501 E. Camino Real, Boca Raton, FL
6/8 – 8:30 a.m. Virtual Free Workshop
Topic: From How? To Wow!
Speaker: Greta Schulz, President & CEO, Schulz Business Sellutions
6/9 – 12:00 p.m. In-Person Boynton Beach Lunch & Learn
Sponsor: iThink Financial
Topic: Chick-fil-A Your Business! Learn How to Use the Famous Chick-fil-A Customer Service Model in Your Business
Speaker: Justin Mize, Franchise Owner, Chick-fil-A, Boynton Beach Boulevard East and Boynton Beach Boulevard West
Intracoastal Park Clubhouse
2240 North Federal Highway
Boynton Beach, FL 33435
The Boca Raton Museum of Art will mark the first stop on the nationwide tour of the blockbuster exhibition “Machu Picchu and the Golden Empires of Peru.” When it opens on October 16, the exhibition will feature 192 priceless Peruvian artifacts never presented on tour, including what is being marketed as the most impressive Andean gold collection ever to travel the world. World Heritage Exhibitions (WHE), who is producing and designing the exhibition, promises visitors a multi-sensory experience. With state-of-the-art technology, museum guests will see, hear and smell the ancient region, from virtual-reality vantage points among the clouds atop the Andes Mountains to the Terra Firma of the Amazon rainforest. Presale tickets for this amazing exhibition are available at bocamuseum.org/golden.
Over the past several weeks, I have seen and felt the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic lifted. As I continue to attend more in-person events, I am happy to see us return to the close-knit community we love and enjoy. As the convener of the business community, the Chamber continues to convert our programming to in-person experiences. With that in mind, I am happy to announce that today will be the last virtual Smart Talk for Women and tonight will be the last virtual after-hours network, Live After Five. Moving forward, both events will be held in person. The June 22 Live After Five will be an experience to remember! Be on the lookout for details.
Together, we continue to Move Business Forward in Boca Raton, Boynton Beach and South Palm Beach County, making our region the best place to Live, Work, Learn and Play.
Moving Business Forward,