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SRQ DAILY May 23, 2015

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"I have no higher priority than ensuring that our veterans receive the recognition and benefits they have earned."

- U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota
 

[Chamber]  Small Business Provides Big Returns
Kevin Cooper, Kcooper@sarasotachamber.com

Small business is a big deal in Sarasota County.  In fact, small business is such a big deal in Sarasota County that many of its residents would likely be puzzled to find the United States Small Business Administration oftentimes defines a small business as one with less than 500 employees.  Indeed, by classification standards, Sarasotans are far more likely to be familiar with microbusinesses (those with 1-9 employees) or nonemployers (those with no paid employees) than they would be with other technically defined small businesses.

In fact, according to the United States Census Bureau, Sarasota County in 2013 was home to only eight businesses that had 500 or more employees. In total, however, the area boasted over 50,000 businesses across numerous sectors. That means that only one-tenth of one-tenth of one-percent of businesses in Sarasota County would not qualify as a small business. While mid-to-large size businesses in Sarasota County provide a significant lift to employment, and the area would be served well with a larger number of them, it is the industries more prone to smaller shops that house occupations with the largest populations in our area.  

For example, the real estate, rental and leasing industry provides the area with the greatest number of nonemployer businesses. The number of small businesses in the area is heavily anchored in the professional services, retail trade, construction and health care/social assistance industries. Those four industries contribute over 50 percent of the employer businesses in Sarasota County. Eighty-two percent of those businesses have less than 10 employees. 

Just because those industries are perhaps more prone to being microbusinesses in the area doesn’t mean their impact isn’t significant. The four industries above provided over 50 percent of the paid employment opportunities in 2013. An honorable mention in this area, to no surprise, also comes out of the accommodation and food services industry. Retail and construction also showed strong representation amongst the nonemployer businesses where they represented over 16 percent of the establishments.

Aside from the community’s reliance on them, there is great cause to support and celebrate small businesses. The entrepreneurial spirit alive and well in the small business community is inspiring and enviable. If for nothing else, every large business came from small beginnings.

For these and many other reasons, it is appropriate that the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce honors extraordinary entrepreneurs—and salutes all small businesses—through its annual Small Business Awards.  On May 29, this year’s program will again honor exemplary small businesses from the area that have shown their outstanding commitment to the small business and greater Sarasota communities. These job creators provide the local community not only with an economic engine that provides for a sustainable future, but they also give our area a flavor that is distinctively Sarasota. Of course, these small businesses aren’t just numbers on a jobs report or a sales tax receipt to the government, these small businesses are your neighbors, your friends, and your families.  Small business is a big deal in Sarasota County; join the Chamber in giving them a big hand.    

SRQ Daily Columnist Kevin Cooper is the vice president for Public Policy and Sarasota Tomorrow Initiatives for The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

[Politics]  Protecting Veterans on Memorial Day
U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan

Earlier this month, I visited the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France as part of a national security mission to Europe and the Middle East. The memorial honors the American soldiers who gave their lives in the European theatre during World War II.

It was only fitting that my visit to the memorial came on the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day when the Allies accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. 

It is my honor and privilege to represent the people of Sarasota and Manatee counties, more than 70,000 of whom have served our country in uniform. I have no higher priority than ensuring that our veterans receive the recognition and benefits they have earned.

That’s why so much of my time and focus in Congress is spent working on issues important to veterans. I’m proud to have sponsored and passed meaningful bills that improve the health care and job prospects of veterans throughout the nation.  I also fought successfully for $27 million in funding for the new national veterans cemetery in Sarasota, allowing more than 150,000 area veterans to be buried close to home with the honor and dignity they deserve.

And most recently, I sponsored a bill that just passed the U.S. House last week giving all veterans in America access to a national identification card.

Over the years, I have heard from countless veterans who have expressed frustration over their inability to document their service to our country without carrying around their official military records. Currently, millions of veterans are forced to carry a paper DD-214 document to prove their military status. This form contains sensitive personal information including social security numbers and service details that put them at needless risk for identity theft. According to the Federal Trade Commission, veterans have twice the rate of identity theft than the general public nationwide.

My legislation—the Veterans ID Card Act—will minimize the threat of identity theft for our nation’s heroes. This bill (H.R. 91) would enable all of our veterans to receive their own simple, standardized identification card at no cost to the taxpayers. It would also provide employers looking to hire veterans with an easier way to verify an employee's military service as well as give veterans the ability to take advantage of service-related discounts.

I am pleased to report that the U.S. House passed the Veterans ID Card Act by a vote of 402-0 earlier this week. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to follow the House’s lead and pass the bipartisan Veterans ID Card Act so that it may be signed into law by President Obama.

As we approach Memorial Day, I offer my deepest gratitude to all of those who have served our country in the armed forces and their families. May God bless all of the servicemen and women who have given their lives in defense of America. 

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, is serving his fifth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He served six years in the Michigan Air National Guard and four years on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.



[SCOOP]  Goodwill & Old Glory

Goodwill Manasota now serves as a drop-off location for U.S. flags that have become too worn or damaged to display. Bins will be available at all retail stores and attended donation centers in Sarasota and Manatee counties for drop-off. In 2013, the Military Officers Association of Sarasota (MOAS) and the Sarasota County School District launched the “American Flag Protocol Initiative,” which aims to educate community members about the origin, history and meaning of the American Flag, the importance of patriotism and respect for the flag, and the proper protocols for the flag’s display and retirement. One component of the Initiative is to conduct an annual flag collection and retirement ceremony for old and/or damaged flags. Goodwill is one of 32 veteran organizations collecting flags at locations throughout the community. “Our country’s flag isn't just a decorative item – particularly for the veterans we serve, it is truly symbolic of the sacrifices they have made for our freedom and the pride they feel in serving our country,” said Goodwill Manasota president and CEO Bob Rosinsky. 

Goodwill Manasota

[SOON]  A Night in the Shark Tank

Don't miss the Gulf Coast CEO Forum's event A Night in the Shark Tank with the original Shark on ABC's hit show Shark Tank, Kevin Harrington. Kevin will be telling his "Entrepreneur Story and then moderating a panel of investors as they discuss what they look for when they invest in a company. The event is Sponsored by Gulf Coast Community Foundation and BIG- Bright Ideas on the Gulf Coast. Tickets  are $80  and include light bites and cocktails. Register at the link below or contact Tonia at tonia @gulfcoastceoforum.com 

Gulf Coast CEO Forum

[SOON]  Lbar Beard and Mustache Bash

The Seidensticker family, owners of the TableSeide Restaurant Group known for Libby’s Bar and Cafe, Louies Modern, and The Francis have done it yet again and added a new establishment to their list: Lbar. With its vintage layout and its location within Libby’s, Lbar serves as a sort of Sarasota speakeasy with an incredible selection of craft bourbons and brews, custom cocktails, and a delectable selection of menu items. Join the folks at Lbar their Beard and Mustache Bash for a fun time, tasty beverages and food, and the chance to see some elaborate facial hair. For those who enjoy growing their facial hair in unique ways, there will be a contest with $500 cash prizes for the individuals deemed to have the best beard and mustache. Come take part in the festivities on June 5th from 9pm through the night! 

Lbar

[SCOOP]  Super Strings

Calling all young violinists in Sarasota and Manatee counties between the ages of 8-18. Don't miss the opportunity to apply to be a part of Super Strings. Members of the Super Strings Program will come together to play a select musical composition with the PMP Spring Orchestra under the direction of internationally acclaimed violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman. Students must submit their applications and provide a letter of recommendation by August 31st in order to be offered the chance to perform an audition from memory for the program. All students from Manatee and Sarasota County selected to be part of Super Strings will participate free of charge thanks to the generosity of The Eugene F. and Elizabeth Hull Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.  

Perlman Music Program Suncoast Super Strings

[SOON]  Fuzion Dance offers Summer Programs

Summer is here, and the instructors over at Fuzion Dance Artists are offering five day summer dance classes for all ages. Fuzion is proud to offer opportunities for dancers as from 6 years and up to encourage everyone to get active and moving this summer. Weekly classes start the week of July 13th and continue through until August 1st. Individuals will have the opportunity to learn from some spectacular choreographers and discover new dance styles, and the children can show off what they learned to their friends and family on the final day of class. Older students will have the chance to participate in a revolutionary program called Countertechnique with special certified instructor Kim Blazen, which will enable them to move better and simultaneously improve their strength and flexibility.  

Fuzion Dance Artists

[SOON]  Savor Sarasota: Michael's on East

Since 2005, Sarasota Residents anticipate the Savor Sarasota Restaurant Week, where this year, 45 local participating restaurants showcase special-priced lunch and dinner menus. One of the original restaurants that took part in the celebration, Michael’s on East will participate for the 10th consecutive year with a special “Best of the Best” Menu, which will highlight many of the restaurant’s best selling dishes and drinks from the past like the Breast of Duck Selby and the Drum Circle Kiwi Mojito. Take the “Epicurean Adventure” with Michael’s on East any day between June 1st and June 14th. 

Michael's on East

[SCOOP]  Let's B Safe comes to Sarasota

With her innovative talents, Brenda Zofrea, creator of the LET’S B SAFE Program has managed to incorporate two important skills for children to learn within the program: learning how to be safe from sexual predators, and understanding the importance of reading every day. This revolutionary program is being offered to elementary students in Sarasota, thanks to the efforts of Judy Alexander, the founder of the Sarasota-based non-profit, Every Child Inc. Through this program, children can learn how to recognize some of the lines and tactics employed by child sexual predators, how to react safely, and also how crucial it is to read every day. They then will receive their own copies of the LET’S BE SAFE book as well as a stuffed BE SAFE BEE to serve as reminders of the lessons that they learn so that they will carry through all summer long. 

Let's B Safe

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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