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St. Pete posts applications for business incentives

The city of St. Petersburg has released applications for incentives under the newly approved Storefront Conservation Corridor Plan. Eligible businesses along Beach Drive and Central Avenue can apply for up to $20,000 in grant funding for a variety of uses and property owners can access a $10,000 incentive for leasing to a local, independent business. For eligibility information, guidelines and to apply, visit

Vinik esports company raises capital

aXiomatic LLC, a Los Angeles-based esports firm, raised $21.5 million in an offering earlier this month. The company issued debt, options and warrants, a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said. Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is co-executive chairman of aXiomatic.

Bank regulators rate PNC Bank Florida

PNC Bank said it is one of a small percentage of banks to receive an “outstanding” overall rating as part of the Community Reinvestment Act, a federal law to encourage banks to meet the needs of borrowers in all segments of their communities. The Pittsburgh-based bank’s Florida operations also were rated outstanding overall, with an outstanding rating for lending and high satisfactory ratings for investment and services.

Largo company benefits from export mission

Infinium Medical, a medical equipment manufacturer based in Largo, was among nine Tampa Bay area companies that took part in an export sales mission to Panama in March. The nine companies have projected future sales and economic activity of $7.35 million as a result of the trip, a partnership between the U.S. Commercial Service and Enterprise Florida, a news release said.

Where Pinellas small cities rank for startups

It’s tough to start a business in Pinellas County. No small city in the county made the top 20 in WalletHub’s 2019’s Best & Worst Small Cities to start a business. Pinellas Park ranked No. 75, Largo was No. 93, Dunedin was No. 196 and Palm Harbor was No. 361. See the full ranking here.

Tiedemann College recognized

The University of South Florida Kate Tiedemann College of Business ranks No. 10 among the best online business analytics MBA degree programs, according to a new report from MBA Central. The program is convenient for working professionals and offered at an affordable tuition rate, the b-school ranking and resource site said.

City Council adopts sustainability plan

The St. Petersburg City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to approve an Integrated Sustainability ActionPlan. The plan outlines steps the city can take to mitigate the effects of climate change and environmental challenges. It suggests building code changes and other proposals that, if adopted, would impact private businesses.

Kobie CEO finalist in EY Entrepreneur awards

Bram Hechtkopf, CEO of Kobie Marketing in St. Petersburg, is a finalist for the Entrepreneur of the Year Florida award from EY. Other area finalists are Richard Gonzmart of Columbia Restaurant Group, Mallory Tai Taylor of assessURhealth, Joe Marinucci of Digital Media Solutions, Crystal Morris of Gator Cases, Scott Fink of Hyundai of New Port Richey and Punit Shah of Liberty Group. Winners will be announced June 13.

Checkers’ sales, earnings raise concerns

Moody's Investors Service downgraded the debt ratings of Checkers Holdings, a Tampa-based fast food chain. The ratings outlook is negative. The actions reflect weaker than expected operating earnings, Moody's said. Checkers’ private equity owner, Oak Hill Capital Partners, contributed capital so that Checkers wouldn’t be in violation of its bank agreements, Moody’s said.

SavvyCard unveils new service

SavvyCard has released SavvySigns, a service that makes it easier for consumers to get accurate, factual information on homes for sale through a universal text back number. It’s currently in use in part of North Carolina. The service works for any home for sale in a participating market and uses Geo Location to deliver relevant information to the consumer, a news release from the St. Petersburg technology company said.

40th Avenue bridge reopens

The bridge on 40th Ave. between 12 St. NE and 13th Way NE in St. Petersburg reopened ahead of schedule. City officials cited coordinated efforts from several city departments, the engineer and the contractor, as well as materials being delivered earlier than expected. There’s a new traffic pattern on the bridge that includes a pedestrian path.

Partially redacted Mueller report released

After a press conference by Attorney General Bill Barr, the Justice Department released a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Read the full report here. 

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