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Roundup: Wells Fargo projects ‘sharp but short’ Florida recession, resources for startups, Raymond James donation, Wave emergency fund

Margie Manning



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Caution by the banking and real estate sector appears to have positioned Florida to weather a recession brought on by the havoc wreaked by Covid-19, according to a report from Wells Fargo Securities.

“Florida’s economy tends to bounce back from recessions fairly quickly, as long as real estate has not gotten grossly overbuilt in the state — which it has not,” senior economist Mark Vitner wrote in a March 27 report. “Banks generally have healthy balance sheets and the Fed and Congress have implemented well-targeted monetary and fiscal stimulus incredibly rapidly, which should help insulate households and businesses from what the slide in economic output would have been otherwise.”

Still, Florida’s economy has gone from full throttle to a sudden stop in less than a month, and shutdowns and stay-at-home orders mean job growth will fall hard over the next few months, Vitner wrote.

“We are looking for this recession to be incredibly sharp but fairly short, with a recovery taking hold by the end of the year,” the report said.

Startup resources

Shark Branding Solutions, a St. Petersburg marketing and advertising agency, is offering free resources for non-essential businesses that have been forced to operate virtually and drive sales online.

“Effective immediately we are opening the ‘virtual’ doors to our agency and helping every business with the knowledge and resources needed to help them adapt and sustain in a digital world,” the company wrote on its website.

Immediate initiatives include free, simple online training to help businesses quickly adapt to an online operations, a resource library and online community, technical help, and virtual training events and conference. More information here.

Local entrepreneur Rich Heruska is getting the word out about two other programs to help tech companies and small businesses.

On March 30, Embarc Collective will host a Founder Resiliency Open Q&A led by Mark Jacobstein. In the session, from 12 to 1 p.m. on Zoom, Jacobstein will share his experience with cash conservation, team layoffs and how to bridge fundraising. RSVP here.

Brooke Evans, founder and CEO of CFO Alliance, will lead a webinar on 13 Week Cash Forecasting at 2 p.m. March 31. It’s a pragmatic tool to help manage vendors, maintain bank relationships and to have peace of mind about cash during a downturn. RSVP here.

Helping hands

Raymond James Financial (NYSE: RJF) is committing $1.5 million to support charitable organizations delivering essential services in communities impacted by coronavirus.

Paul Reilly, chairman and CEO, Raymond James Financial

“Our primary focus in recent weeks has been on the safety and security of our associates, financial advisors and their clients, as well as ensuring business continuity and continuing to provide excellent service,” Paul Reilly, chairman and CEO of the St. Petersburg-based financial services firm, said in a news release. “With those support systems in place and functioning well, including the vast majority of associates working from home, it’s our responsibility to begin addressing needs in communities in which we live and work.”

Some of the funds will be delivered quickly to organizations working to provide access to food and healthcare, with the rest reserved for future relief. A national donation will be made to Feeding America, with local donations for the St. Petersburg Free Clinic and Metropolitan Ministries.

Tampa Bay Wave, a nonprofit that supports local entrepreneurs, has created the Tampa Bay Wave COVID19 Emergency Fund. “We are all in this together and continued support for small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups in the short term is critical for long term survival … If Tampa Bay is to grow as an innovation hub, how we handle this difficult time will influence our community’s ability to attract and retain talent in the future,” a news release from Wave said.

To donate text #26989, with keyword WAVE from your cell phone or tap the donate button on Wave’s website. Any amount will be accepted, Wave said.

Still open

Westfield shopping centers in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area remain closed, but grocers, urgent care facilities, restaurants and others that provide essential services are still open and conducting business.

StatMed Urgent Care has extended its hours and is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Whole Foods remains open for in-store shopping and grocery delivery, daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Guests 60 years old and older can shop as early as 7 a.m.

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, P.F. Chang’s and Red Robin are offering take-out and delivery.

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