Pinellas County Small Business Enterprise Program
Wins State Florida SBDC Network Game Changer Award
Eileen Rodriguez, firstname.lastname@example.org, 813.240.2746
For Immediate Release
TAMPA (November 2, 2020) – Dr. Cynthia Johnson and her team at the Pinellas County Economic Development won the Florida SBDC Network Game Changer of the Year award at the Florida SBDC Network’s Virtual Awards Celebration, held October 29. The accolade comes as a result of the success of its Pinellas County Small Business Enterprise Program.
Under Dr. Johnson’s leadership, Pinellas County made improvements to and expanded the Pinellas County Small Business Enterprise Program in 2019. Using her proven strategic approach, she made sure that the Florida SBDC at Pinellas County Economic Development (PCED) would play a key role in the county’s efforts to expand access to opportunities for Pinellas County’s small business community. The Center’s services are tightly linked to the Program, requiring each certified business owner to take a minimum of one business assistance class and 1.5 hours of consulting services as a term and condition of their certification.
“Dr. Johnson has always had a passion for small businesses,” Florida SBDC at USF regional director, Eileen Rodriguez, said. “She has led the Florida SBDC at Pinellas County to further their reach into the small business community by providing technical assistance where and when it’s needed. This is what sets her apart from her peers.”
Dr. Johnson’s efforts to improve the Pinellas County Small Business Enterprise Program have resulted in additional staff, additional clients and an increase in economic impact. The redesigned Small Business Enterprise Program increased the county’s award dollars for its registered vendors, so far amplifying the market from $70,000 to $17.8 million in just two years.
The Florida SBDC at PCED team consists of Dr. Cynthia Johnson, EDFP, Kurt Forster, CBC, Yolanda Cowart, CPP, CSCMP, Jenee Skipper, SHRM-CP, Aubri Shauger-Haley, MBA, CCA, Debra Schweikowsky and Carolyn Murray.
For more information on the services available at the Florida SBDC at Pinellas County, visit PCED.org/sbdc.
About the Florida SBDC Network:
For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy. Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 624,331 hours of professional business consulting to 58,975 client businesses, resulting in 281,831 jobs impacted; $36.7 billion in sales generated; $2.7 billion in government contracts acquired; $1.6 billion in capital accessed; and 4,520 new businesses started. A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.