December 2018 Features

Greater Gainesville Abounds in Business Services


Written By: Todd Van Hoosear

What does your business need to grow? Whether it’s access to capital, real estate, talent, technology or strategic insight, Gainesville has you covered. But is your organization taking advantage of all the business services offered in the area? Here’s a quick rundown on where we stand with just two of these topics: talent and capital.

Talent

Businesses spend on average $4,129 and 42 days to find one new employee. Once they have brought that new hire on board, they will in turn spend even more money training them. According to Forbes 2014 Corporate Learning Factbook, U.S. spending in 2013 on corporate training exceeded $70 billion. Surely that number has gone nowhere but up. But there are ways to keep costs down.

CareerSource North Central Florida (CSNCFL) offers comprehensive employer services1 that include both recruiting and training resources at no cost to employers or career seekers. The menu of service options offered by CSNCFL is so impressive it can actually be intimidating to smaller and younger businesses.

In this case, the Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce (gainesvillechamber.com) can be of help. The Chamber has partnered with CSNCFL to offer concierge-level service to companies, helping them navigate the array of opportunities available. And the best news is that you don’t have to be a Chamber member to enjoy these benefits (though there are plenty of other Chamber membership benefits).

The Chamber is also helping support a program started by local tech companies to round out Gainesville’s workforce by attracting mid- and senior-level talent to the area. Filling these more-senior positions is crucial to creating even more opportunities for employment at all levels.

Capital

Capital needs can vary dramatically depending on the business size, but one general rule applies to all: any little bit helps. For example, since we just talked about the cost of talent acquisition, did you know that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity offers tax credits, federal bonding and even layoff alternatives to qualified companies? For example, by hiring a veteran or other qualified work applicants, companies can enjoy up to $9,600 in tax credits. Companies looking to expand by at least 10 employees can earn up to $6,000 in tax refunds per new job created. You can learn more about these and other tax incentives through CareerSource North Central Florida.2

Looking for more capital? The SBA’s Lender Match service3 is a free online referral tool that connects small businesses with participating SBA-approved lenders.

Need even more than that? Florida Trend just released its list of Florida-based venture capital firms.4 You won’t need to look far for the money your company needs to grow.

That said, securing early-stage funding for local high-growth businesses can be challenging. With few local investor “exits,” much of the local investment capital remains tied up and spread thin. And attracting investors from outside Florida can prove difficult with no direct flights from our regional airport to most of the major venture hubs. This leaves many fast-growing businesses at risk of poaching from other regions of Florida and beyond.

I think it’s safe to say, though, that Gainesville area entrepreneurs may soon have more local opportunities to secure the capital they need to accelerate their growth, be it from some new angel fund ideas being floated around, or even from a new venture capital fund the University is considering. More is needed, however.

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  1. www.careersourcencfl.com/employers/
  2. www.careersourcencfl.com/employers/recruit/financial-resources/
  3. www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/lender-match
  4. www.floridatrend.com/article/17615/floridas-venture-capital-firms–2015

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