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Florida SBDC at USF Expands Business Training, Education With U.S. SBA CARES Act Grant


TAMPA (July 13, 2020) -- The Florida SBDC at University of South Florida is expanding its training and education services for small businesses through the use of a $1.3M U.S. Small Business Administration CARES Act grant.

The center provides no-cost consulting, low-cost training and market research to small businesses in DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota counties.

“The small business community has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Florida SBDC at USF is ramping up to better assist firms by providing tools and resources that will allow them to not only survive, but to continue to grow,” said Eileen Rodriguez, regional director of the Florida SBDC at USF.

Seventy-five percent of the funding will be used to add additional business experts to the staff. This will allow the center to provide more robust no-cost consulting services in areas such as: accounting, contracts, finance, insurance, organizational development, and taxes. The center has already hired an additional 12 staff members in these expertise areas, and will add more staff, based on small business needs in the 10-county region.

To schedule a no-cost appointment, business owners must submit a request for consulting online at

A portion of the U.S. SBA funding has been allocated to an upgrade of equipment throughout the Center, allowing for virtual consultations and online training opportunities. This enables the Center to keep its clients and staff safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with no face-to-face contact.

Finally, this grant allows the Florida SBDC at USF to continue to provide educational opportunities to small business owners, by moving its in-person seminars online and creating on-demand webinars for entrepreneurs to access at any time via In addition, all seminars will be offered at no-cost for the remainder of 2020. To find a schedule of live virtual seminars, please visit

To learn more about the center and coronavirus-specific services currently being offering, please visit