Volume 46 l November 2019

Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112
Advocacy & Economic Development Edition
The Weekly E-Connection is made possible by the following generous sponsors:
Central Pinellas Chamber Upcoming Events
Check our home page for registrations, times and locations

11/20 - Chamber B2B Happy Hour - 5:30p - 7:30p    
12/13 - Chamber Annual Holiday Luncheon - 11:45a - 1:15p   
Limited sponsorships now available
A Chamber signature event!
Florida’s recreational marijuana initiatives are low on signatures and time
Two citizens initiatives that would legalize recreational marijuana in Florida are still far away from gathering enough signatures to get on the 2020 ballot – and time is running out. Regulate Florida has only about 92,000 signatures of the required 766,200 needed by Feb. 1 to qualify. The other group, Make It Legal Florida, has about 57,000 signatures. By comparison, John Morgan’s $15 minimum wage initiative has hit the signature mark and is now on its way to state Supreme Court review.
Florida mangroves can reduce flooding and insurance costs, new study shows
Scientists have known for years mangroves can help prevent flood damage along Florida coastal areas, but the researchers behind a new study hope insurance companies will include mangroves when assessing risks and in turn save counties money. The study, conducted by the Nature Conservancy Florida chapter, analyzed mangroves and if they can be used to measure benefits for insurance companies that assess coastal properties and coastal infrastructure. More at  Florida Trend
Members making news…
Chamber Trustee Valley Bank earns “Preferred Lender” designation by U.S. SBA
Valley Bank has achieved the U.S. Small Business Administration’s “Preferred Lender” designation, giving the bank the ability to process SBA loans faster than ever before. Valley can now approve, underwrite and service SBA-guaranteed loans without prior review from the SBA under the Preferred Lenders Program. To receive Preferred Lender status, banks must establish a strong lending record with the SBA and demonstrate proficiency in approving, processing and servicing SBA guaranteed loans. 
Got something to say about Tampa Bay transit? Take this e-survey
Envision 2030 is Tampa Bay's first Regional Transit Development Plan. It’s both a vision and a strategy to improve the quality of life in Tampa Bay through world-class regional transit service connecting Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco and Pinellas counties. More information about Envision 2030 can be found on TBARTA’s website:
                How can you provide input? Help plan Tampa Bay's transit future by taking the MetroQuest survey:   https://envision2030.metroquest.com/
                It’s open now through December 31, and results will be incorporated into TBARTA’s Envision 2030 plan. As a bonus, those who take the online survey can also enter for a chance to win a pair of Tampa Bay Lightning tickets to a game in early 2020.
Sister City Program 50 Year Anniversary
We celebrated the resigning of the Sister City partnership between Largo and Kami Japan this past Saturday, the 9th of November. It was first penned 50 years ago in 1969! We had a great dinner and party at Central Park Performing Arts Center. 22 Kami guests visited us through Wednesday. Tuesday, November 12th was Chamber day with the group; you'll see more about this in next weeks eConnection. Kudos to Kim and George Feaster!
We’re about Value!

A new Chamber program year is upon us! And we’ll be continuing to tout our five “value” principles and how each relates to being part of the organization.
            Value of Investment - The Chamber brings members valuable cost-savings resources that directly impact their bottom line. From member-to-member discounts to affinity partnerships - all are designed to lower the cost of doing business.
            Value of Information – The Chamber brings members unique resources. Roundtable discussions, workshops, advocacy on local and state issues, contacts, reference to other businesses, expertise, etc. Information that is timely and relevant to the success of all business operations.
            Value of Influence – The Chamber represents the interests of its members and communities. Whether at the local, state or federal level, it is the advocate on all issues of importance to business.
            Value of Interaction – The Chamber provides its members opportunity. People want to do business with people they know, like and trust. Networking events, B2B programs, and partnerships foster relationships that encourage leads, referrals and more business for our members.
            Value of Impact – The Chamber is one of the few, if not the only, organization that can impact the three main pillars in its service area – government, citizens, and businesses. We deliver results that directly benefit our members.
If you would like to assist in volunteering on a committee to help influence these values, just give us a call. It’s another sure way to build business connections. It really is great to belong!
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Contact Kelvin at the Chamber, 727.584.2321 or events@centralchamber.biz