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My Florida C F O
Weekly eNewsletter from Florida's Chief Financial Officer

Dear Fellow Floridian:

For the first time since 2009, Florida is in the top ten of states for venture capital investment. During the second quarter of this year, $94.8 million was invested in eleven different ventures, which is an increase of 168 percent from last quarter when Florida ranked 20th in the nation. Venture Capital Charts 2002-2012

What does all this mean for our state’s economy? Venture capital provides the funding needed by start-ups when times are the most uncertain. The amount of venture capital investment means the difference between success and bankruptcy, determining whether or not a start-up can generate innovative products and create jobs. The increase in venture capital activity in our state is a strong indication that investment in Florida is on a steady trend upward and that new, high-wage jobs will continue to grow and take root in our state.

But Florida still has a long road ahead. Our second quarter investment accounts for only 1.4 percent of the total venture capital investment made nationally. Florida is consistently out-paced by California, New York and Texas. We have to do better. One of the ways we are breaking out of our economic entrenchments is through higher education. We continue to see business incubators and entrepreneurship programs take hold at our universities that nurture Florida’s young entrepreneurs, connect start-ups with resources, and introduce new industries to the state—creating jobs for our fellow Floridians.

Through a stable tax system, a regulatory climate that does not discourage venture capital investment and reduction of burdensome government red tape, we can help to create the conditions that encourage start-ups to grow and thrive in Florida.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Forum: Strengthen Your Small Business

Diversifying our economy is necessary for long-term prosperity, but it is vital that small businesses grow and prosper in Florida. That it why CFO Atwater is partnering with The Jim Moran Institute to host the 2012 Small Business Leadership Forum in Tampa on Sept. 6-7, 2012. The forum will provide access to resources and information to positively impact your small business bottom line. Explore the Forum website to find featured speakers, panel topics and how to connect via social media before the event. 2012 Small Business Leadership Forum, Jim Moran Institute, Pat Pallentino The forum is an opportunity to hear directly from Florida’s small-business community to collect feedback so that Tallahassee can help improve our state’s business climate.

As an integral part of the College of Business at Florida State University, The Jim Moran Institute's mission is "to cultivate, train and inspire entrepreneurial leaders in the community through world-class education programs and curriculum, intensive consulting assistance and mentorship to entrepreneurs and business owners..." As a partner in the forum, JMI brings the exact experience needed for your entrepreneurial growth.

Representatives from universities across the state will share how they are leveraging their resources to promote a thriving economic environment, and what that means for your business in Florida.

Pat Pallentino, director of the Sales Institute at the FSU College of Business, will present best practices for small business owners selling their products or services, with an understanding of “Best in Breed” selling concepts, SPIN questioning techniques and strategic account management concepts.

Read about the forum, its agenda and registration at www.flsmallbusinessforum.com.

News of Interest

Gainesville Sun: UF program that helps start-ups gets federal grant

Wall Street Journal: The man who saved capitalism

Washington Post: Small businesses increasingly look to Square, other upstarts to save on credit card processing

Jacksonville Daily Record: State CFO Atwater: Florida's economy in 'modest' recovery

Sun-Sentinel: 8 charged in plot to underbid

ALERT: Beware of Misleading Offers of Assistance for Deepwater Horizon

As often happens following a disaster, opportunists seeking to take advantage of a situation begin to appear. This may be happening in the Panhandle of Florida as people offering help in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill – or related problems – have appeared. Oil Spill

A woman who appeared to be offering legal advice set up shop in Panacea last week claiming in a town hall-style forum that chemicals sprayed following the oil spill are making the residents sick and that it isn't safe for them to work on the water or sell their seafood. Claiming to represent a Texas law firm, she intimated that she was there to help people get paid and prevent further sickness. The woman’s actions and offers are being investigated.

Floridians are urged to thoroughly review and consider such offers of assistance in accessing remuneration. The official claims process is outlined on CFO Atwater's Deepwater Horizon website and any updates to the process will be posted as well.

Florida's Bottom LineFlorida's Bottom Line

This quarter, Florida’s Bottom Line focuses on Florida’s small business community and how to provide a stable economic environment so that we can continue to help businesses flourish and expand.

The companion website features business news updates and Florida By the Numbers, a collection of key statistics illustrating important changes in Florida’s economy over the past month. The latest data is shown on topics such as consumer confidence, unemployment rate, new foreclosure activity and Florida's leading, stock and retail index graphs. Updates are made as new stats become available.