September 2020
New Pinellas CARES programs expand help for local businesses
Pinellas CARES is now offering expanded grant funding for Pinellas-based businesses most affected by the pandemic: those that were required to shut down or whose customers were required to shut down or stop doing business.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to take their time to submit a full application, including all required documentation, for the quickest response. Grant awards will be made based on complete and eligible applications, not based on how early a partial application is submitted – submitting an incomplete application will delay the review process.

Businesses that make $3 million or less in gross annual revenue may qualify for up to $10,000 in grant assistance based on a sliding scale. A detailed list of all program qualifications and the online application can be found at:

Qualifying business owners can use a single online application to be considered for one of the following grants:

  • Sliding Scale Grants provide $2,500 to $10,000 grants for businesses making between $17,000 and $3 million in gross annual revenue. 

  • Health & Safety Matching Grants allow up to $10,000 to assist Target Industry businesses in implementing COVID-19-related upgrades and safety precautions. 

  • Business Diversity and Arts Microgrants help impacted business owners with barriers to participation in other grant programs strengthen their business through direct financial assistance and professional services. This help will include post-COVID business planning, record-keeping and preparing documents needed to apply for other types of grant funding.  

CARES Funds can only be used to reimburse losses caused by COVID-19 that are not paid by insurance or by another federal grant or program.

The Pinellas County Commission has also approved Pinellas CARES programs to support individuals, families and critical nonprofit services, and to bolster the local COVID-19 public health response. For a full program overview of these programs, please visit

Helpful links:
Rise to Shine - Visiting Pinellas Safely and Responsibly
Since reopening, Pinellas leads the state in occupancy levels according to the latest data from STR. Although we’re still a long way from our “normal” occupancy rates, we’re working together to help our community and economy recover.

Visit St. Pete Clearwater (VSPC) has launched the Rise to Shine campaign to help residents and visitors with questions about how to visit Pinellas County responsibly while COVID-19 is a concern.

The VSPC Rise to Shine travel update page provides the most up-to-date information on the status of local businesses, local health guidelines, and links to stories and videos about how to visit responsibly. You'll also find ways to support our local businesses with Take-Out & Delivery from Pinellas Restaurants and great Outdoor Dining Spots.

How can you and your business get involved and help share this message? Visit to learn more and complete a short interest form to become a part of this critical community initiative.
Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in Pinellas
Ever wonder how many of the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies are in Pinellas County? We've got that right here!

(Spoiler alert: 37, up from 35 last year. Click through to see who they are...)
Tampa Bay Tech Virtual Summit 2020, Sept. 17-18   
Join Tampa Bay Tech on September 17-18, for the Virtual Summit sponsored by Tech Data. This free, two day, interactive tech conference will highlight the most innovative and fastest growing companies in Tampa Bay.

Click here to learn more and register.
Free and Discounted Trade Assistance Programs until Sept. 30
The U.S. Commercial Service is temporarily reducing or eliminating the costs of several of their export and investment services, providing relief to U.S. businesses and economic development organizations affected by COVID-19.

A list of virtual services can be found at, and the discounted rates are available at

An agreement for services must be signed by Sept. 30 to receive the discounted rate, but services can be used through 12/31/21. To learn more about how exports can grow your Pinellas business abroad visit: or contact Brent Barkway at or (727) 464-7411.
B2B Accelerator Innovation Showcase, Sept. 30, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Join the Tampa Bay Innovation Center to celebrate the start-ups that completed TBIC's most recent Accelerator Program. The 12-week program helped the founders of seven emerging B2B tech companies refine their ideas into actionable product and go-to-market strategies. 

Click here to register for this virtual event.
Duke Energy Flexible Payment Arrangements for Businesses
As Duke Energy resumes standard billing and payment practices, business customers still facing financial challenges can request an extended payment arrangement by visiting:

Residential customers can request arrangements by visiting:

Customers with more complex issues may speak to a customer care representative Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at (877) 372-8477 for business customers, and (800) 700-8744 for residential customers. 
Cybersecurity Forum: September 16-17
The Foundation of Associated Industries of Florida (FAIF), the Florida Department of Economic OpportunityFloridaMakes, and the Workers' Compensation Institute (WCI) will co-host the second annual Cybersecurity Forum Sept. 16 - 17.

Learn more about this virtual event, including sponsorship opportunities, at
PCED Update: Congrats to Ben Friedman and Welcome Teresa Brydon
Congratulations to Ben Friedman, Pinellas County Economic Development’s Market Intelligence Specialist. Ben won the 2020 Florida Economic Development Council’s Dan Webster Young Innovator Scholarship Award. Ben will receive a $5,000 scholarship to be applied toward coursework to achieve the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation.

Teresa Brydon is joining Pinellas County Economic Development to focus on community redevelopment that facilitates job creation with connections to affordable housing and transportation. During her 12+ years with the City of Largo, Teresa was responsible for expanding employment opportunities and increasing the economic sustainability of the City's activity centers. She has over 18 years of experience in economic development and redevelopment and has earned the Florida Redevelopment Association's Redevelopment Professional (FRA-RP) designation. Welcome Teresa!
TPA: Business Traveler Survey 
Tampa International Airport (TPA) has designed a brief survey to gauge the future travel intentions of the local business community for air service to and from Tampa Bay. If you manage your company’s travel program, please complete this 3-minute Tampa Bay Business Travel Survey. The deadline to complete the survey is Sept. 14.

For the latest news about health and safety initiatives at TPA, visit
Pinellas Schools Referendum Renewal in November
Since 2004, voters have regularly approved a ½ mill property tax to enhance Pinellas school funding. The next renewal is on this November’s ballot. The ballot language requires this money be spent to recruit and retain quality teachers, preserve reading programs and music and art classes, and provide current textbooks and technology. Every penny benefits Pinellas students and spending is monitored by an independent citizen oversight committee. For more information, please visit or
Pinellas County Economic Development | (727) 464-7332 |
13805 58 St. N., Suite 1-200 | Clearwater, FL 33760