Economic uncertainty and an inability to get financing are overwhelmingly the top two obstacles keeping small businesses from growing and hiring more, according to a Florida Chamber of Commerce survey released Tuesday.
Nearly three-fourths of business owners polled said they were not able to arrange the financing they need, and more than half predicted it will be even harder to obtain over the next six months. Among other top concerns: Florida's growth management process, government regulations and taxes.
Despite the lack of economic certainty, 31 percent of those polled said their business is better off today than six months ago, and 31 percent plan to hire employees during the next six months -- down slightly from March 2012. Only 4 percent planned layoffs, but that's up from a mere 1 percent three months ago.
More than 800 business owners participated in the survey, which was conducted between June 4 and June 22. The results dovetail with a June survey from the National Federation of Independent Business that found small-business owners are becoming less optimistic because of a cloudy economic and political climate.
Tampa Port Authority obtains $815,000 grant for security
The Tampa Port Authority recently received an $815,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to upgrade the technology that helps keep Florida's largest port secure. The grant is part of the 2012 Port Security Grant Program, a federal initiative that funds detection, recovery and training efforts to help ports defend against attack from conventional and nonconventional weapons. The money will go to fund a "series of technology upgrades" that will boost security, according to port officials. "A safe and secure port is our top priority, and this grant will help to keep us among the safest and most proactive ports in the country," said port director Richard Wainio in a prepared statement.
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