Small Business, Big Threat: Florida SBDC Network Offers Education, Resources to Arm Small Businesses Against Cyber-Attacks


Sign the Defense and Cybersecurity Petition


Cybersecurity has become an increased threat for Florida’s small businesses. The rise in technology, faster internet, and enhanced connectivity yields greater cybersecurity threats, especially for small businesses, who often lack the resources and expertise to safeguard their employees, profits, business, and customers.

According to The Ponemon Institute’s 2017 State of Cybersecurity in Small & Medium-Sized Businesses report, 61 percent of businesses experienced a cyber attack last year, up from 55 percent in 2016. Further, according to UPS Capital, 60 percent of small businesses go out of business within six months of an attack, which can cost between $84,000 and $148,000. These statistics show that small businesses can no longer afford to sit back and hope that it won’t happen to them.

To answer the call to protect small businesses from cybersecurity threats, the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, the state’s principal provider of small business assistance, recently partnered with Ridge Global, a globally-recognized risk management and cybersecurity firm, to launch the Byte-Size Small Business Cybersecurity Program. The program, provided at no-cost to small businesses statewide, offers small businesses the education and resources to arm themselves against cyberattacks.

Through the Byte-Size program, the Florida SBDC Network offers workshops covering four topics: basic cybersecurity threats to small businesses, security, remediation, and cybersecurity resources. The foundation of these workshops is an in-depth resource guide and toolkit to help small businesses be more cybersecure.

In addition, Florida SBDC Network professionally certified business consultants are also available to help small businesses prepare comprehensive cybersecurity plans and with other individual needs at no cost.

In December 2017, the Florida SBDC Network partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Florida International University, and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce to hold the Florida Cybersecurity Conference in Miami. The event, which served as the ceremonial kick-off of the network’s Byte-Size program, brought together top experts both locally and nationally from government, law enforcement, and the private sector to help small businesses develop, evaluate, and strengthen their cybersecurity programs.

To learn more about the program, and to find a workshop near you, please visit


Sigh the Petition Today

Cyber threats are increasing in frequency, scale, and sophistication. If you believe Florida’s business community and government must work together to address expanding cyber security threats, sign the petition today.

Florida Chamber President Provides Hurricane Irma Economic Outlook During Testimony Before Senate Commerce Committee


Read Testimony   Fight AOB Fraud    Local Chamber Relief Fund


In a testimony before the Florida Senate Commerce Committee, Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson told lawmakers that Florida will rebound from Irma.

During his remarks to the committee, which is chaired by Senator Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee), Wilson encouraged lawmakers to focus on continuous improvement and to join forces with the private sector to help secure Florida’s future.  Click here to read Wilson’s testimony.

Irma yielded the largest evacuation in U.S. history, and as Wilson explained, there’s no question we’ll learn lessons from this storm. From an economic outlook perspective, Wilson testified that:

  • Tax revenue likely won’t keep up with storm expenses,
  • Job growth will continue to slow,
  • A gap in skilled labor – particularly for home repairs and rebuilding – will hurt in the short-term, and
  • Lawsuit chasers, as highlighted in the Wall Street Journal, “are trying to milk the public’s pain for their own gain.” Wilson encouraged lawmakers to side with consumers in frivolous class action claims.

Looking forward, he applauded state leaders for making smart public policy decisions to reduce exposure and spread risk in Citizens Property Insurance and Florida’s CAT Fund. However, he warned that the tsunami of assignment of benefit-related claims that have flooded the market – unrelated to Hurricane Irma – are causing property insurance rates to skyrocket. He encouraged lawmakers to make meaningful reforms this session.

Wilson was joined on the panel by partners in Florida’s business community, including:

  • Cissy Proctor, Executive Director, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
  • Ken Lawson, President & CEO, VISIT FLORIDA
  • Michelle Dennard, President and CEO, CareerSource Florida
  • Cheryl Kirby, Associate State Director, Florida SBDC
  • Lance Lozano, Chief Operating Officer, Florida United Business Association


Call on the Legislature to Fight AOB Fraud

Fight back against the growing storm of assignment of benefits fraud. Sign the petition and call on the Legislature to stop this “Category 5 hurricane.”


Support Local Chambers in Need

Support local chambers in need of relief following Hurricane Irma by contributing to the Florida Chamber Local Chamber Relief Fund.

BREAKING- Florida House Approves Anti-Economic Development Bill

A few moments ago the Florida House voted by a 87-28 margin to approve HB 7005, a controversial bill that eliminates economic development initiatives and sends the signal that Florida is closed for business.

Click here to find out if your lawmaker supported this legislation that makes Florida less competitive.

Despite overwhelming opposition and more than 40,000 messages from Florida Chamber members opposing the bill, the Florida House voted to eliminate:

  • Enterprise Florida,
  • Florida’s Small Business Development Center,
  • The Office of Film and Entertainment, and
  • Dozens of economic development programs designed to encourage new jobs and a strong economy.

HB 7005 now travels to the Florida Senate. The Florida Senate does not appear to share the Florida House’s appetite to kill Florida’s economic development programs. However, upcoming budget conversations will be very important to the future of economic development initiatives in Florida.

Be on the lookout for future messages encouraging you to communicate with Representatives that voted to kill economic development efforts in the state of Florida.

We Need You in Tallahassee Monday


This is Your Last Chance to Take Action Before the Bills Head to the Full House for a Vote.

On Monday, March 6, 2017, at 3 p.m., the House Rules & Policy Committee will take up HB 7005, which eliminates economic development initiatives, such as Enterprise Florida and the Small Business Development Center, and cuts two dozen economic development programs. Additionally, a separate piece of legislation, HB 9, will be heard that makes sweeping policy changes to VISIT Florida. It is expected that VISIT Florida language will be removed from HB 7005 and will instead be addressed in HB 9.The Florida Chamber opposes these bills.

Here’s How You Can Help:

We need you to attend Monday’s House Rules & Policy Committee meeting to tell lawmakers why you support tourism marketing and economic development initiatives and the impact they have had on you, your business and your community.

Meet With Your Representative This Week to Support Economic Development and Tourism Marketing

On Monday, March 6, the House Rules & Policy Committee will take up HB 7005, which eliminates economic development initiatives, such as Enterprise Florida, and cuts two dozen economic development programs. Additionally, a separate piece of legislation, HB 9, has been filed to address policy changes to VISIT FLORIDA, and is also up Monday. It is expected that VISIT FLORIDAlanguage will be removed from HB 7005. Soon after, the full House of Representatives will have a chance to vote on these bills on the floor.

Your State Representative is home from Tallahassee this week and needs to hear from you. Please schedule a meeting with your lawmaker and tell them how both Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA are important to your company, your job and your local community. It is important that these programs remain in existence and are fully funded.

Click hear to find your State Representative, then call to schedule an appointment to share your support of economic development initiatives, tourism marketing, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and more. If you are unable to meet with your legislator, please leave them a message to express your support.

It’s Time to Ask Tough Questions and Show Your Support

Are you concerned about the future of economic development and funding for marketing tourism in Florida? Florida Governor Rick Scott visited South Florida on February 13 to discuss these issues. In case you missed it, last week, at least one lawmaker from South Florida voted to support legislation that would eliminate Enterprise Florida, VISIT FLORIDA, Florida’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and many other programs that help diversify our state’s economy and create jobs.

Email your lawmaker to share your concern with last week’s vote, or call them using the below information:

Take Action Now

Email your lawmaker and share your concern with them about last week’s vote against economic development efforts and funding for marketing tourism in Florida.

Manufacturing Creates Jobs in Florida

For every 10 jobs created in Florida’s export-oriented manufacturing, 12 more jobs are created in transportation, warehousing and retail? With an additional eight jobs created in business services, there are a total number of 30 jobs supported by Florida export manufacturing. In fact, manufacturing has the highest jobs “multiplier” of any sector because it leads to the creation of more indirect and induced jobs in other sectors in the economy.

Simply put, expanding manufacturing in Florida diversifies the economy and provides high-wage jobs. In 2013, the Florida Legislature passed a three-year exemption from sales and use taxes on industrial machinery and equipment used in manufacturing in Florida. This exemption is expected to increase capital investment in Florida by manufacturers, improve productivity, and help Florida’s manufacturers compete better in world markets.

Florida needs manufacturing. Consider the facts:

  • Florida is the 12th-highest state in number of people employed in manufacturing.
  • Florida has 330,544 manufacturing employees, with an average annual wage of more than $54,000.
  • Floridians receive $17.9 billion in manufacturing wages in Florida.
  • There are 19,206 manufacturers in Florida – an increase of 696 over the last year.
  • Manufactured Goods Exports in 2013 equal $56.4 billion.
  • Manufacturing’s Share of Florida’s Exports in 2013 was 93.3 percent.

Besides diversifying the economy, manufacturing firms perform around 70 percent of U.S. Industry Research and Development, even though manufacturing accounts for only about 11 percent of the U.S. economy.

“The impact Florida’s manufacturing industry has on our state’s small businesses is undeniable,” said Michael Myhre, Network State Director for Florida’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network. “Manufacturing helps diversify Florida’s economy and helps create high-wage jobs for Floridians. When Florida remains competitive, small businesses succeed.”

Beginning today, the Manufacturers Association of Florida is hosting their annual Manufacturing Days event in Tallahassee this week. Manufacturing Days will feature speakers on topics important to manufacturers including water policy, the sales tax exemption for manufacturing machinery and equipment, tax issues, and the Florida Chamber’s Legislative Priorities.

Share Your Manufacturing Story:

Is your community diversifying its economy by adding manufacturing companies and manufacturing jobs?  How are your local and regional educational institutions helping prepare your workforce for the manufacturing jobs of the future?  Tell us by contacting us at

About the Florida Scorecard Did You Know:

The Florida Scorecard, located at, presents metrics across Florida’s economy. Each month, the Florida Chamber Foundation produces a Scorecard Stat that takes an in-depth look at one aspect of Florida’s economy. If you would like additional information on the Weekly Scorecard Stat or on the Florida Scorecard, please contact Dr. Jerry Parrish with the Florida Chamber Foundation at 850.521.1283 or You can also follow the Florida Chamber Foundation on Twitter at @FLChamberFDN.