Volume 12 l March 2020
 Weekly eConnection
801 West Bay Drive, Suite 602 Largo, FL 33770
Tel: 727-584-2321 Fax: 727-586-3112

Advocacy & Economic Development Edition
Central Pinellas Chamber Upcoming Events
Check our home page for registrations, times and locations

In light of the ongoing pandemic, we are following CDC Guidelines and postponing events for the time being. Please stay tuned to our newsletter and social media outlets for event updates.
As the COVID-19 situation grinds on, your Chamber will continue to keep you in the loop on resources available. Below is important information about the new  SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans , as well as the  Emergency Bridge Loan Program sent out last week.  While our gatherings have been curtailed for the time being, your Chamber is open for business. We will be updating you regularly with assistance resources and information as it becomes available.  We’re all in this together!
Follow Facts,
Not Fear
       Your Chamber and our partners at the Florida Chamber of Commerce urge you to be cautious but not fearful when it comes to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Florida Chamber is the official state chapter of the National Safety Council, and we are all committed to helping keep Floridians safe. The safety of our collective employees is paramount, and they deserve the facts.
            A website is available with regularly updated information. It includes important links from Governor DeSantis’ office, the Emergency Operations Center, Centers for Disease Control, Florida Department of Health and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Please visit and add to your bookmarks:  https://www.flchamber.com/follow-facts-not-fear/

             $50 billion has been allocated to the SBA for COVID-19 related disaster relief. Their mandate is to directly provide loans of up to $2 million to affected businesses nationwide at an interest rate of 3.75%.
            Whether or not your business has been impacted so far,  you should consider applying for this loan. Applications will be processed in the order they are received and there’s going to be tremendous backlog - You want to be as close to the front as possible. Unlike a traditional SBA loan that’s issued by a bank, these loans will be issued by the SBA directly.
            Information Specific to your state:  https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Declarations/Index
            Loan Overview, Process and Required Docs:
            Loan Application:  https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela
            Loan Application Forms:  https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/PaperForms
Please note – The SBA loan is not going to provide immediate relief. Per the SBA website, their goal is to decide on each loan application within 2-3 weeks. Upon approval, an initial disbursement of $25,000 will be made within 5 days, but most likely longer due to extremely high demand.
Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans : https://floridadisasterloan.org/

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is currently available to small business owners located in all Florida counties statewide that experienced economic damage as a result of COVID-19. These short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance. The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is not designed to be the primary source of assistance to affected small businesses. 

Note: Loans made under this program are short-term debt loans made by the state of Florida using public funds – they are not “grants.” Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans require repayment by the approved applicant from longer term financial resources.
Make Pinellas Count! U.S. Census 2020
Jeff and Ellen Petracco of Wealth Builder and Value Properties know they count!  And you need to be counted, too. You should have already received your invitation by mail to participate in the 2020 Census. The census counts every person in the country, and those figures are used to determine a host of benefits, from a state's share of federal dollars to its representation in Congress. As the nation's third-largest state, Florida needs to receive its fair share. So be sure to stand up and be counted!
City of Largo Building Division Services Update
Due to the closure of Largo City Hall, the Building Division is currently accepting the following permits online: Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Roof, Window/Door, Mobile Home Roof Over, Solar, Fence
Pool Fence, Natural Gas, LP Gas and Tree Removal.
            There is also a permit drop off location located outside of the main City Hall doors. It has been advised that payment not to be left in the cart. Permit Technicians will contact all applicants for payments. All permits that need to be picked up will now be issued online, emailed or mailed to the customer.
            For questions on permits call 727-586-7488 or email  permits@largo.com . For questions regarding contractor registration for online permits email  contractor@largo.com For Business Tax questions email  businesstax@largo.com
            Building Division inspections are currently continuing as normal.
Your Chamber is still here and strong!
Amongst the COVID-19 Global pandemic, your Chamber is still here with you. We're in this together. We're following CDC Guidelines which means that our events are postponed until we get through this.

Our events will be back and better than ever! In the meantime, we're in this with you. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have. We will keep the information updated on our social platforms; if you don't already follow us, please be sure to do so.
Coffee An' Networking
Focus on 2020: An Economic Forecast
Holiday Luncheon
Women's Leadership Committee Co-Hosted with Working Women of Tampa Bay Power Lunch
And much more!
Our Business Leads Teams Have Gone Virtual...
... For the time being. Your Chamber will be hosting Zoom meetings during the normal time a leads team would meet. The Captain of each leads team will forward the meeting link to their respective teams. We have also created a leads team Facebook pages for all of our leads team members to join and continue to pass business referrals amongst each other. We appreciate your understanding in these challenging times and hope our leads team members will join us! Please email the Chamber with any questions you have.
We are working on putting together Virtual Networking Events
In a time in which we're isolated from others in the business community, many of us are struggling from the lack of social connection with others. These Virtual Networking Events will be for Members and Perspective Members alike. There will be no cost associated with these groups and they will be held at least once a week. They will simply be based on networking and please wear "Business Casual" attire during the call. Please be patient and respectful of others as many are not used to working from home and may have kids, pets and more in the mix.

This is the first week of our Virtual Networking Events and we will be holding one event this week on Thursday, March 26th from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Please stay tuned to your Chambers Facebook and LinkedIn pages for details to come.
Please note that this Zoom Meeting does not go live until 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 31st.
Virtual Coffee An' Networking!
In lieu of our upcoming March 31st Coffee An' Networking at Keiser University (which will be rescheduled), your Chamber will be hosting a Virtual Coffee An' Networking via a Zoom Meeting on the same day and time. The networking exercise will be "Tell us something fun you've been doing to pass the down time." We hope you'll join us and make the best of the current situation.
Please note that this meeting does not go live until Tuesday, March 31st at 8:00am to 9:00pm.We'll see you there. It's Great to Belong!
The Weekly E-Connection is made possible by the following generous sponsors:
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!
Reserve your space now!

Run your Ad or Logo in the Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce's eConnection Newsletter that publishes weekly. Be seen by over 2,000 members and friends. Take advantage of an open/read rate that exceeds 25%.
Contact Kelvin at the Chamber, 727.584.2321 or events@centralchamber.biz