- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By KIMBERLY MOORE
Wakulla Chamber President
Greeting Fellow Chamber Members,
Once again I open with a warm and heart-felt thank you for the well wishes and vote of confidence offered during the transition. It has been great getting to know you while at the same time gaining a better understanding of the issues that matter most to your business. If by chance I haven’t had an opportunity to speak with you personally, please know that I am just a call or email away.
Over the past month, the committee chairs have been working hard to ensure that we continue to add value for our members and business community alike. I would encourage you to serve on a committee if you haven’t already committed yourself to doing so. The committees are a great way to get involved.
Here's a list of the committees: Leadership Wakulla, Communications/Marketing, Internal Events, Fundraising, Membership, Wetlands, Grants, Courthouse Building Committee.
We are currently in the process of finalizing our calendar of events for the year. I hope that this will allow for even more members to participate in the events led by the Chamber.
As you are aware, preparation for the local elections is underway. Therefore, in an effort to be proactive, the Chamber has initiated contact with local civic groups to determine their interest in participating in a joint Candidates Forum. I’m positive that the community will appreciate our efforts to consolidate the forum activity.
As promised, throughout the current year there will be a strong push to ensure that we get the word out regarding the benefits offered by the Chamber to businesses. To aid in the outreach, both The Wakulla News and Wakulla.com will continue to provide upfront coverage regarding the benefits of joining the Chamber and the issues impacting our local business community. Our shared vision will afford us an opportunity to work together to create a positive business climate for both Chamber members and non-members. The coverage will be inclusive of spotlighting our members and creating awareness regarding business resources and tools.
Regarding the current newsletter issue, the format has been enhanced to recognize all members that have renewed their membership. As president, I fully understand that without your ongoing financial support, the chamber will not thrive.
If you haven’t renewed your membership, please contact the Chamber today to make the necessary arrangements. We need you more than ever.
To our new members, we appreciate the investment that you have made to protect the future of Wakulla businesses.
Moving forward and as we enter the month of March, there are many exciting events taking place. For starters, Capital City Bank will host a business mixer. Additionally, it will be the kickoff of the much anticipated Business Resource Training Center. The center is a new member benefit that will provide training and workshops for members at no cost and for non-members at a minimal cost. This service would not be possible without the following partners: FAMU Small Business Development Center, Florida State University’s Jim Moran Institute and Tallahassee Community College.
A few of the planned workshops include, "Risk Management – Is My Business Protected?" as well as Customer Service, Social Media – Another Way to Market Your Business, and Developing a Business Plan.
To learn more about this great opportunity, please contact Petra at the Chamber office today as seating is limited.
As a pledge, the Chamber leadership will continue to seek out ways to better support our business community during these tough economic times. If you have any ideas or suggestions, they are always welcome.
I appreciate the opportunity to serve the members and potential members of the Chamber.
Reasons to Join the Chamber
Your participation in the Wakulla Chamber means you are connected to the business community and have a strong desire to influence its prosperity.
Investing in the Wakulla Chamber means you have the opportunity to:
• Contribute to your bottom line
• Position your organization as proactive and engaged in the business community
• Connect with customers, peers and other professionals
• Be heard and represented in legislative issues that could affect your business
• Develop professionally through participation in seminars and workshops
• Gain visibility for your business.
If you are ready to optimize your opportunities then you are ready to join the Wakulla Chamber. You’re ready to actively grow your business, achieve personal and professional success and contribute to the creation of a thriving business environment.
Chamber membership means access to customers and decision-makers. It means benefits, representation, visibility, solutions and results. Put the Chamber to work for your business.
Membership is open to individuals/companies/organizations wanting to do business in Wakulla County.
If you would like to learn more about the Wakulla Chamber and the member benefits offered, call Petra Shuff, Chamber Office Manager, at 926-1848.
Benefits of membership
Joining the Chamber is a wise investment for any business. Here are some examples of the benefits of membership: business advocacy, representation before local and state government entities, a voice for business when communicating key issues, and a direct link with economic development initiatives.
The Chamber also offers proactive leadership, visibility, events designed for networking, informal networking at all events, listings in Chamber publications, event sponsorship opportunities, exclusive advertising opportunities, and business savvy.
Be “in the know” through attendance at education and political forums. Stay linked to issues that impact current and future business. Attend business education workshops and seminars.
Did you know?
On Feb. 17, 2009, the President signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which adds two new Work Opportunity Tax Credit target groups:
1) Unemployed Veterans – A veteran hired after 2008 and before 2011 who has been discharged or released from active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the five-year period ending on the hiring date, and who received unemployment compensation under state or federal law for a period or periods totaling at least four weeks during the one year period ending on the hiring date. To be considered a veteran, the applicant must have served on active duty (other than active duty for training) in the Armed Forces of the United States for a period of more than 180 days, or have been discharged or released from active duty in the Armed Forces for a service-connected disability, and
2) Disconnected Youth – an individual who is certified as having attained age 16 but not age 25 on the hiring date; not regularly attending any secondary, technical, or post-secondary school during the six-month period preceding the hiring date; not regularly employed during such six-month period; and not readily employable by reason of lacking a sufficient number of basic skills.
Individuals in these two new target groups must begin work for an employer during 2010.
Enterprise Zone 101
Tax incentives are offered to all types of businesses that are located within a designated Enterprise Zone who employ zone residents, rehabilitate real property or purchase business equipment to be used in the zone. Tax credits are available to businesses that pay either the Florida Corporate Income Tax or the Florida Sales and Use Tax. Sales Tax refunds and sales tax exemptions are available if eligible purchases are made.
The Enterprise Zone Stimulus Tax Credit allows businesses located in an enterprise zone who collect and pay Florida sales and use tax, and create a new full-time job, a credit against their tax-based on wages paid to new employees (in a full-time job) who have been employed by the business for at least three months and are residents of a Florida Enterprise Zone.
Enterprise Zone Stimulus Tax Credit (Corporate Income Tax) Allows businesses located in an enterprise zone who pay corporate income tax, and create a new full-time job, a corporate income tax credit for the wages paid to new employees (in a full-time job) who have been employed by the business for at least three months and are residents of a Florida Enterprise Zone.
There is also a sales tax refund for business machinery and equipment used in an Enterprise Zone A refund is available for sales taxes paid on the purchase of certain business property, (e.g. tangible personal property such as office equipment, warehouse equipment, and some industrial machinery and equipment), which is used exclusively in an Enterprise Zone for at least three years.
A sales tax refund for building materials used in an Enterprise Zone A refund is available for sales taxes paid on the purchase of building materials used to rehabilitate real property located in an Enterprise Zone. This incentive is limited to owners, lessors, lessees of the real property that is rehabilitated within an Enterprise Zone.
An Enterprise Zone Property Tax Credit (Corporate Income Tax) is available to new or expanded businesses located in an Enterprise Zone on Florida corporate income tax equal to 96 percent of ad valorem taxes paid on the new or improved property (the assessment rate varies by county).
A Community Contribution Tax Credit Program allows businesses anywhere in Florida a 50 percent credit on state corporate income tax, insurance premium tax, or sales tax refund for donations to local community development projects. Donations must be made to an eligible sponsor conducting an approved community development project. The annual amount of credit granted is limited to $200,000 per firm and $10 million for the state.
The Most Frequently Asked Questions by Small Businesses Nationwide
Q: What type of interest rate, terms and fees does the SBA require on its Guaranty Loan Program?
A: Your loan-repayment schedule depends on the use of the proceeds and the ability of your business to repay. The general terms are five to 10 years for working capital, and up to 25 years for fixed assets such as the purchase or major renovation of real estate or the purchase of equipment. Both fixed and variable interest rates are available. The interest rate is negotiated between the borrower and the bank. However, lenders generally may not charge over the maximum rate of 2.25 percent over the lowest prime rate for a loan with a maturity of less than seven years and 2.75 percent over prime for a maturity of seven years or longer.
For loans under $50,000, the lender's rate may be slightly higher.
Q: I’m interested in exporting. What is the process?
A: The SBA provides export information and development assistance to help small businesses take advantage of export markets, including trade counseling, training, legal assistance and publications. You can visit the web site at www.sba.gov/international.
Some Miscellaneous Resources
Online Training Opportunities offered by the Small Business Training Network are available nline at www.sba.gov/training.
Some topics include business planning, starting a business, business management, and finance and accounting.