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Task force wants to hear from small businesses

By KYLE PARKS

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 12, 2001


When Alan Weimer's management students at the University of Tampa talk to area small business owners, they often hear the same refrain:

"We know there's help available out there for us, but we just don't know how to get it."

Now professor Weimer is chairing an effort to get some answers. A Hillsborough County small business task force has spent almost a year researching what's done in other cities, what small businesses need help with and what's available for them.

"What I've found through my classes is that small business owners are often equipped with the expertise to sell their service, but they may not have all the business skills they need," Weimer said.

The next step for the task force, which wants to finish its report by May, is to hear from the people it's trying to help. So the group is having two forums for the small business community.

"We don't want to be working in a vacuum," said Weimer, who worked in information technology jobs for companies such as Oracle and Sprint before becoming an academic.

The first forum is from 8:30 to 10 a.m. today at the Hillsborough County Small Business Information Center, 9215 Florida Ave., Suite 109. The task force's second session will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday in Conference Room B, 26th floor, County Center, 601 E Kennedy Blvd.

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