Q: How can Clearwater Business SPARK help my business?
A: We offer customized solutions for businesses in every stage of development. Maybe you have an idea and need to explore its feasibility or have been operating your small business for a while and need to find new markets or customers? Perhaps you need to develop a business plan, build a prototype, collaborate with others or want the guidance of experienced, like minded mentors who can help you get to the next level? Whatever your businesses challenge we can help you find the people, develop the skills, and gain access to resources that can take your business to the next level. See our calendar of events for networking opportunities with like-minded businesses and community leaders.
Q: Who are the network partners?
A: The Clearwater Business SPARK team is comprised of public and private partners who have come together to support Clearwater’s vibrant entrepreneurial and small business community. Clearwater Business SPARK was established in May, 2015. Partners are Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, Florida Small Business Development Center at Pinellas County (FSBDC), Florida Business Incubator, Clearwater Library System, City of Clearwater Economic Development & Housing Department, Pinellas County SCORE, Prospera (formerly known as HBIF), and Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation (Tampa BBIC). The network will be expanding with additional partners soon.
Q: Which partners offer business coaching and mentorship?
A: We offer business coaching and mentorship through FSBDC, Pinellas County SCORE, Prospera, Tampa BBIC and through the network’s incubator Florida Business Incubator. Contact us to determine the right option for you.
Q: Are there costs to participate in Clearwater Business SPARK?
A: Many services and events are free to low cost. Check our calendar of events for free and low-cost networking opportunities and other events including meetings, roundtables, seminars, meetups, and classes.
Fees may be assessed for co-worker space, meeting space and other types of usage. Fees may also be assessed for one-on-one counseling and other types of services (generally available by appointment only). Contact the partner organization directly or info@ClearwaterBusinessSPARK.com for more details.
Q: What is an incubator?
A: An incubator is an organization designed to accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services that could include physical space, capital, coaching, common services, and networking connections. This support is typically provided throughout the startup phase.
Q: What is a makerspace?
A: Makerspaces are creative, community-operated DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn often in the areas of computers, machining, technology, science, digital or electronic art. Commonly used equipment includes 3D printers, lathes, software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies/tools, and video production equipment.
Q: I need to create a prototype. Where do I go?
A: The Studios at Main makerspace located at the Clearwater Main Library offers a variety of introductory hands on-tools for both children and adults such as arts and crafts design, coding and robotics, scanning and memory preservation, and 3D printing. In addition, they have studio-grade video equipment and a green screen.
Q: How do I find networking opportunities?
A: Visit our calendar of events for networking opportunities and educational programs. Meetups, mixers, roundtables, workshops, seminars and business training programs offer a variety of opportunities for you to network and learn in an environment that suits you.
Q: I need money to start or grow my business. Can you help me get a loan or find an investor?
A: Our network helps you explore the most appropriate financing options available and guides and prepares you for the process with classes, one-on-one counseling, and practice pitch sessions. We have access to partners that assist with traditional loans as well as non-traditional financing options such as angel investors and venture capital.
Q: I would like to do business in international markets. How do I get started?
A: Importing and exporting can be daunting endeavors and the rules may be different in different countries. Understanding how it works and finding the best markets for your business can make a huge difference to your bottom line. Florida Small Business Development Center and Prospera have the expertise to guide you through the process of doing business in international markets.
Q: I am looking for office space in Clearwater. Can you help me find a location?
A: Our team is prepared to help you identity an appropriate location within Clearwater to locate or expand your business. We can also provide assistance with business licensing, grant/incentive opportunities, permitting and government regulations.
Q: I need to hold a meeting/training. Do you have space?
A: Yes! Our partners have a wide variety of conference rooms, board rooms, white board stations, classroom training and meeting spaces throughout Clearwater. Contact us to learn more.
Q: I have a business idea, but don’t know if it’s viable. Where do I start?
A: The Clearwater Library System offers an extensive array of online resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Additionally, Florida Business Incubator offers a weekly Entrepreneurs' Roundtable that gives you an opportunity to brainstorm ideas, while FSBDC, Pinellas County SCORE, and Prospera provide confidential one-on-one counseling sessions that can help you define and focus your business concepts. Contact us if you’re still not sure which option is best for you.
Q: My business is growing and I need to hire employees. Help!
A: We have partners with resources in the community to solve recruitment and training issues. Give us a call so we can help you!
Didn’t find the answer to your question? Call us at (727) 443-0217 and we’ll get it answered!