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FIBA companies innovate to deal with Covid-19, Catalina tracks what’s selling and other info you need to know

Margie Manning



The Florida-Israel Business Accelerator is located in the Bryan Glazer Family JCC in Tampa. File photo.

Three companies that have taken part in the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator have put their innovation to use during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

• GlobeKeeper Tech Ltd. is working with Israel’s Ministry of Health on a voluntary surveillance app for monitoring coronavirus cases.

• Uniper-Care Technologies, a telehealth and social engagement company, launched a cross-platform service that allows older adults and at-risk individuals in isolation to connect and engage with healthcare professionals, access live and interactive health and wellness programs, and communicate with family and friends.

• MedFlyt held a webinar to demonstrate how its emergency solution can help home care agencies with daily Covid-19 health screenings.

Catalina, a St. Petersburg tech firm that collects and analyzes shopping data, is tracking how the pandemic is impacting retailers and consumer packaged goods brands. During the week ended March 22, shoppers made fewer trips to grocery, drug and convenience stores nationwide but they spent more per visit compared to the prior week and to the same period in 2019.

“These numbers coincide with more states and metropolitan areas issuing ‘shelter in place’ or ‘stay at home’ directives that currently impact more than 100 million people across the country,” said Marta Cyhan, chief marketing officer.

Even though “sheltering in place” guidelines typically allow people to continue to shop at grocery and drug stores, the top 10 categories that have seen the greatest increase in sales show that people continue to stock their pantries with food and cleaning supplies. And, for the first time, yeast products are best-sellers, likely due to people having the time and finding comfort in baking, Catalina said.


During this time of social distancing, the Girls Scouts of West Central Florida introduced Girl Scouts at Home – a virtual programming option available to all families through the Girl Scouts website. It’s a collection of online programs, activities and challenges designed to keep girls engaged in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. There are also free resources for parents/guardians and troop leaders.

University of South Florida has created a fund to help provide financial relief to students who are facing unexpected challenges. The USF United Support Fund will help students, many of whom are far from home, with urgent needs such as food, toiletries, rent money and other basic essentials that are beyond their reach, USF said. As of mid-day Friday, the fund had raised $88,000 from 447 donors.

USF St. Petersburg Chancellor Martin Tadlock made an additional appeal on Twitter for support for the student food pantry, Support-A-Bull Market.

The Tampa Bay Lighting and Tampa-based The Mosaic Co. (NYSE: MOS) have partnered to donate $200,000 to local food banks through the Goals for Food program.

The Laxer Family Foundation is donating $20,000 to Feeding Tampa Bay. The foundation was is founded by the owners of Bern’s Steak House and Haven, David and Christina Laxer. 

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