Crist continues push to capitalize more businesses

Rush Hour Chicken & Waffles, Charlie Crist, community

BY GYPSY C. GALLARDO, Contributor

ST. PETERSBURG – This Saturday, Congressman Charlie Crist continues the push to help more community businesses leverage capital for growth. He will host and headline an “Access to Capital Fair” convening seven local lenders and open to entrepreneurs at every stage, starting at 10 a.m. at Pinellas Technical College, 901 34th St S, St. Petersburg.

The event comes at the end of another banner year for new business growth and capital access in south St. Petersburg. According to city tax certifications, business formations are up for a fourth consecutive year.

“Know that I will continue fighting in Washington and here at home for fair lending and expanded access to capital for everyone in our community,” Congressman Crist said.

Crist’s D.C. office emphasizes that businesses of all sizes are invited, from “entrepreneurs who don’t know where to start” to “existing businesses looking to expand.”

Lenders on-site this Saturday include Achieva Credit Union, Bank of America, Black Business Investment Fund, Florida Community Loan Fund, Regions Bank, Suncoast Credit Union, Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation and USF Credit Union.

Staff of the Florida Small Business Development Center, which hosts an annual capital fair for Pinellas County, will be available to advise and support business owners who attend.

Center Director Dr. Cynthia Johnson has personally advised several entrepreneurs who spawned high-profile successes this year, such as Kendrick Scott, owner of Heavy’s Soul Food and Tiffany Moore, CEO of Moore Eventful.

“This will further energize our work in South St. Petersburg,” said Albert Lee, CEO of the Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation, which graduated 10 African-American entrepreneurs from its 16-week CATCH Program this past Monday.

Lee is one of the key leaders of a three-year campaign to speed business growth in south St. Petersburg. Backed by the City Urban Affairs division, the 2020 Plan team, the Greenhouse and St. Petersburg Chamber, among others, community partners have intensively trained and supported 485 entrepreneurs since 2014. Dozens have accessed capital.

For more info: 727-318-6770 or www.crist.house.gov

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