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small business

Slide on Hillsborough County's R3 grant to help small business owner
Hillsborough County

COVID-19 has been devasting for small businesses.

President Trump signed legislation Saturday extending the deadline for small businesses to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, enacted in the weeks following the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The original deadline to apply for the PPP was this past Tuesday night. But $130 billion still remained in the fund, out of $660 billion allocated. Both houses of Congress approved the extension unanimously earlier this week. With Trump's signature Saturday, businesses will now have until Aug. 8 to apply for the assistance.

Welcome mat with the text  "Fighting Chance Fund" overlaid
Courtesy of City of St. Petersburg

The City of St. Petersburg announced a $6.8 million grant program for local businesses designed to help small business owners and employees get through the economic impact of stay-at-home orders.

The Fighting Chance Fund will provide $5,000 grants for local businesses, while employees who have been laid-off or furloughed during the pandemic may receive up to $500 in aid.

Alsace Walentine, owner of Tombolo Books, stands outside of her store next to a sign that says "Curbside pickup here!"
Mary Shedden / WUSF Public Media

The coronavirus pandemic is not only taking its toll of the nation’s healthcare system, but also its businesses. This week, Florida Matters takes a look at small businesses, which are particularly hard hit.

Host Bradley George spoke with Alsace Walentine, co-owner of Tombolo Books in St. Petersburg and Eileen Rodriguez of the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of South Florida.

Updated at 7:39 p.m. ET

The future of a coronavirus aid package that's likely to top $1 trillion is in limbo following the failure of a necessary procedural vote in the Senate.

The measure, which required 60 votes to pass, garnered just 47 votes on Sunday evening, with Democrats refusing to back the Republican-led plan. Democrats are calling for changes to the legislation, including further expansion of unemployment insurance and more restrictions on federal assistance provided to large corporations.

These are anxious times for people like Melvin Rodrigue, who lived through Hurricane Katrina. It destroyed his home and shut down his famed Galatoire's restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

This is far worse, he says.

"I think Katrina is going to prove to be a cakewalk compared to this," Rodrigue says. Insurance paid for his losses then. This time, it won't.

Gov. DeSantis Announces Loan Program For Small Businesses Affected By Coronavirus

Mar 16, 2020
empty record store aisle with albums on one side
Delaney Brown / WUSF Public Media

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday that Florida will offer $50 million in loan programs for small businesses being adversely impacted by the novel coronavirus.

WUSF Public Media

Transitioning out of the military can be tough, but some veterans are finding a new role in civilian life as business owners.


The Trump administration is rolling out new options for small employers to use tax-free accounts for providing health coverage to workers, officials said Monday.

Florida Matters is hosting a special panel discussion about veteran entrepreneurs in front of a live audience in St. Petersburg and we want you to join us.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

Going into Tuesday's arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court, it looked as though the court was headed toward reversing a 50-year-old decision that barred states from collecting taxes on out-of-state purchases.

But after the arguments, it looked as though a court majority just might preserve the status quo, and that would be a huge victory for online sellers.

The case presents a multibillion-dollar dispute, and the outcome will directly affect consumers, cash-strapped states and companies large and small.

It’s been nearly five months since Hurricane Irma hit Florida. This week and next, an economic recovery workshop is traveling across the state, seeing what counties and small businesses need to help them bounce back and how to better handle the next disaster.


Two Florida lawmakers want to strengthen franchise protections for small business owners. 

Quincy J. Walters / WUSF News

It sounds like something bad is about to happen as I step into Dysfunctional Grace. As I walk into the store during it's grand opening, I'm surrounded by ominous music, skulls, artistically modified taxidermy, religious relics, vintage medical equipment, a coffin and a table of food.

Robert Wilkes, of Tampa, is a curious spectator. He's walking around with a piece of chicken on a stick. 

"Nothing's better than eating dead animals, surrounded by dead animals," he said. "It's good to be human." 

Brooke and Andrew Lee can't imagine being without health insurance.

So for the past seven years, that's meant digging deep into the earnings of their video production agency in St. Petersburg. It’s expensive, but Brooke Lee says the alternative is worse.

When Americans think of business in Cuba, they think of government-owned enterprise. And the vast majority of Cubans do work for the state.

But in recent years, private business owners known as cuentapropistas have flourished on the island.

Tampa's skyline.
NPR.org

We learn two things from a recent study by NerdWallet.com:

  1. Tampa is the sixth-best U.S. city for starting a business.
  2. There's a NerdWallet.com.

The price comparison website recently calculated the best cities to start a small business, taking into account loan availability, per capita income, small business-friendliness rating and other factors.

Our own Cigar City ranked at No. 6 on the survey of 42 metro areas. Here's the explanation:

A business survey of veterans who are transitioning back into civilian life reveals many would like to start or run their own business.

While the military provides rigorous training and discipline, it's not exactly the place to learn skills on how to succeed in business.

That’s the territory of an experienced businessman like Jack Grise who has created and sold two different businesses. He did a stint in the Navy when he was young and now wants to share business knowledge with veterans who want to start their own companies.