Community Partners

Small Business resources are available to business owners in Polk County for little to no cost. These organizations assist business owners with business planning, hiring, training, understanding finance options and technical assistance.

CareerSource Polk - show / hide

Located throughout Polk County, CareerSource Polk assists with recruiting job candidates to local businesses, providing labor market information, training grants for new and current employees and business roundtables with relevant human resource topics. This free resource is located at 600 N. Broadway Ave., Bartow, FL 33830, (863) 508-1600, or online at https://www.careersourcepolk.com/employers/.

Catapult - show / hide

As a co-working space in downtown Lakeland, Catapult is home to the city’s entrepreneurs. Catapult is located at 331 S. Florida Ave., Basement, Lakeland, FL 33801, (863) 940-9660, or online at http://catapultlakeland.com/.

Enterprise Florida - show / hide

Enterprise Florida’s Minority & Small Business Entrepreneurship and Capital division partners with outside organizations to provide small, minority and entrepreneurial companies with training, development and financing options. For more information, call (407) 956-5695, or go to their website at https://www.enterpriseflorida.com/small-business/.

SBDC - show / hide

The Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of South Florida, located at the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce and City of Lake Wales Administration Building, assists existing and emerging businesses in Polk, through no-cost confidential business consulting, information and low-cost training. Are you seeking advice on growing an established business? Our professionally credentialed consultants have the real-world experience and expertise to help you make the right business decisions. The SBDC can be reached at (813) 905-5800, or http://sbdctampabay.com/.

SCORE - show / hide

Central Florida SCORE is a non-profit organization, sponsored by the Small Business Administration, which offers face-to-face and online workshops for mentoring and education. The services are provided are confidential and free. SCORE is dedicated to helping small business startups and existing business to succeed and thrive. Central Florida SCORE volunteers are all experienced business professionals who have owned their own business, or executives from major companies. SCORE is located at 100 S. Kentucky Ave., No. 230, Lakeland, FL 33801, (863) 284-5607, or online at https://centralflorida.score.org/.

Networking Opportunities

Emerge Lakeland - show / hide

EMERGE Lakeland is a meaningful networking organization of young professionals ranging in age from 21-42 in Lakeland. This organization is a partnership of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Central Florida. For more information, call (863) 688-8551 ext. 228, or info@emergelakeland.com.

Endeavor - show / hide

Endeavor, the young professionals group of Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce is open to those ages 21 to 40 in the greater Winter Haven area. Endeavor is about becoming a part of the Winter Haven business community. You will meet other like-minded individuals on similar paths, building connections and emerging as the leaders of Winter Haven’s future. Endeavor Winter Haven is located at 401 Avenue B, NW Winter Haven, FL, 33881, (863) 293-2138 and can be reached online at http://www.winterhavenchamber.com/endeavor-winter-haven.

Engage - show / hide

Engage is a program of the Bartow Area Chamber Foundation designed to offer business education, professional development, social networking and volunteer opportunities to ambitious young professionals, ages 21 to 42. Engage will help you improve your career, develop your leadership abilities, build your network and give back to the greater Bartow community. Members make valuable connections with peers from various industries and have access to prominent and influential leaders. Membership is free if you're employed by a Bartow Chamber member business or $50 otherwise. Engage is located 510 N. Broadway Ave., Bartow, FL 33830, (863) 533-7125 and can be reached online at http://www.bartowchamber.com/index.php/greater-bartow-chamber/bartow-chamber-chamber-programs/bartow-chamber-engage.

Leadership Bartow - show / hide

Leadership Bartow selects the best and brightest in the Bartow area are selected to participate in the two-year program oriented to developing leadership skills, fostering understanding of the major issues facing the Bartow area, improving the communications network among leaders of disparate backgrounds and interests and, motivating them to contribute through civic activities. Leadership Bartow is located at 510 N. Broadway Ave., Bartow, Florida 33830, (863) 534-7160 and can be reached online at http://www.bartowchamber.com/index.php/greater-bartow-chamber/bartow-chamber-chamber-programs/bartow-chamber-leadership.

Leadership Haines City - show / hide

The Leadership Haines City Area County program brings together current and emerging leaders from Haines City and Northeast Polk, with the charge of developing a network of informed, proactive, talented and resourceful leaders to constantly improve our community’s quality of life. The 9-month program immerses participants in activities and discussions to increase their awareness and ability to assess current and future issues that impact or will impact Haines City, Polk County, and the State of Florida. Leadership Haines City is located at the Haines City Area Chamber of Commerce, 35610 Hwy 27, Haines City, FL 33845, 863-422-3751 and can be reached online at http://www.hainescitychamber.com/leadership.html. http://www.hainescitychamber.com/leadership.html. .

Leadership Lakeland - show / hide

Leadership Lakeland enhances the development of long-term leadership in the community by identifying existing and emerging leaders from various geographic, occupational and economic segments of the community who have a sincere commitment to remain in the Lakeland area. Leadership Lakeland is located at the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, 35 Lake Morton Drive Lakeland, FL 33801, (863) 688-8551, ext. 230 and can be reached online at http://www.lakelandchamber.com/pages/leadership-lakeland.

Leadership Winter Haven - show / hide

Leadership Winter Haven is dedicated to developing a well-informed and diverse pool of leadership talent ready to help the community and area reach its full potential. In the course of the program, participants’ leadership skills are nurtured while they are exposed to the spectrum of business, industry, governmental and social issues that confront Winter Haven’s current leaders and will challenge the leaders of tomorrow.Leadership Winter Haven is located at 401 Avenue B, NW Winter Haven, FL, 33881, (863) 293-2138 and can be reached online at http://www.winterhavenchamber.com/leadership-winter-haven.html.

National Association of Women Business Owners Lakeland Metro Chapter - show / hide

NAWBO offers women-owned businesses a national and local platform to tap into an already established community of women entrepreneurs.For more information, call (863) 940-0070, or find them online at http://flvec.com/national-association-of-women-business-owners-lakeland-metro-chapter

Polk Vision - show / hide

Polk Vision is a broad, community-led partnership of organizations, businesses, government and individuals acting collectively to ensure implementation of Polk County’s community vision. Polk Vision is located at 1035 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland, FL, 33803. For more information, go to http://portal.polkvision.com/, or call them at (863) 940-2888.

Public Leadership Institute of Polk County (PLI) - show / hide

The Public Leadership Institute of Polk County (PLI) is a nonpartisan “pre-campaign” candidate and public leadership school with the mission of identifying and educating local business-minded leaders who are interested in exploring the possibility of seeking public office. The Public Leadership Institute of Polk County is located at the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce, 35 Lake Morton Drive, Lakeland, FL 33801. For more information, call (863) 688-8551, or find them online at http://www.lakelandchamber.com/pages/PLI.

Chambers of Commerce

A Chamber of Commerce is a local organization that serves the business community. Polk has many Chambers of Commerce that support the local community. Typically Chambers of Commerce charge a fee to join and in return provide business owners with networking and advertising opportunities. Chamber of Commerce locations are listed under each city in the Small Business Guide.

Polk County Economic Development Agencies

  • Central Florida Development Council - CFDC
  • Bartow Economic Development Council
  • Haines City Economic Development Council
  • Lakeland Economic Development Council
  • Lake Wales Economic Development Council
  • Winter Haven Economic Development Council

Please visit the Small Business Guide for more business resources.

Polk County Seal

The Polk County Board of County Commissioners is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.

Polk County Board of County Commissioners