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Web site helps entrepreneurs start, move or expand a business


Getting a business started or growing can be a daunting task even for the most determined entrepreneur.

There's hope, though, because if a business is in the 23-county Florida High-Tech Corridor, the search for resources, including local and state permits and product and service providers, can be a lot easier with a redesigned Web site, a press release said.

The Florida High Tech Corridor Council's (FHTCC) Virtual Entrepreneur Center provides the latest information on services available to owners of small businesses categorized locally, regionally and globally. It is receiving nearly 1,000 hits a month, the council said, and has been upgraded to include more user-friendly features such as advanced searches and message boards to help startup companies locate topics of interest.

The site is operational in 22 of the 23 corridor counties, including Manatee, Sarasota, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Hardee and De Soto.

"(The site) provides one comprehensive location where entrepreneurs can easily find all the information they need to start or grow their company," said Randy Berridge, president of FHTCC. "Now, through the work of our partner economic development organizations and chambers of commerce, entrepreneurs across the 23-county corridor can have free access to local and regional resources specific to their needs. (The site) also gives established companies that provide business to business products and services the opportunity to gain free exposure by listing their services among the site's catalog of regional business resources."

The Web site offers links to local government bodies and agencies that can help businesses considering relocating to an area, including municipalities, community redevelopment agencies, enterprise zones and the incentives they may be offering.

The Web portal evolved from a concept developed by the Volusia/Flagler Higher Education Consortium, whose membership includes representatives from the University of Central Florida, Daytona State College, Bethune Cookman University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Stetson University.

With the help of the economic development team from Daytona State College, the Disney Entrepreneur Center, the Tampa Bay Technology Forum and other regional EDO and academic partners, the flvec.com site provides links in the corridor counties for local businesses specializing in everything from law, accounting and IT to communications, printing and anything else needed to start or grow a company. It also catalogs all the latest business resources - such as local permitting codes and forms, statewide corporate registration information and federal trademark law, the press release said.


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