Start A Business

Starting Out

Visit's page with links to all the info on starting your business in Florida.

Check out the City of Lakeland’s Small Business Development Guide which includes everything you need to know when starting a business in Lakeland.

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce will host four sessions that will help businesses finalize their business plans and gain valuable information from city and county ombudsmen, bank officials, marketing professionals and local business mentors before opening their doors. All new businesses that complete the courses will receive a complimentary 6 month chamber membership, as well as a SCORE mentor to assist them in their business venture. The course will also help new applicants by feeding them in to the chamber programs that will most benefit their prospective business. *Current session full, please watch for the next one to be posted*

Class Testimonial_copy

Class Information:
Oct 25, 2018 from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Nov 1, 2018 from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Nov 8, 2018 from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Nov 15, 2018 from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Cost to Attend:
FREE, current session full.

Class Location:
Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce
35 Lake Morton Drive
Lakeland, FL 33801

For more information contact:
Darla Sechrest Pettaway
Chief Development Officer
(863)688-8551 ext. 228


Starting Up & Support

Catapult is a place where entrepreneurs can flourish in the heart of downtown Lakeland. They provide a one-of-a-kind space, educational programs, workshops, and mentoring opportunities to launch businesses and take start-ups to the next level.

Florida SBDC at USF
The Florida Small Business Development Center at University of South Florida assists existing and emerging businesses in Polk County, through professional business consulting, training and information.

The Florida SBDC at USF is part of a statewide partnership of higher education, economic development organizations, chambers and other sponsors dedicated to the economic prosperity of Florida. Whether starting, buying, growing or selling a business, the Florida SBDC at USF has what entrepreneurs need to grow and succeed. Services include no-cost, confidential business consulting from certified experts in a variety of business topics, including: marketing, business certification, capital access, market diversification, developing strategic business plans, export services, and web optimization.

The Florida SBDC at USF holds office hours at the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To schedule an appointment, please contact Carl Hadden, Assistant Director, Florida SBDC at USF, Polk County at (863) 688-8551 Ext. 237.

Lakeland Community Redevelopment Agency
Lakeland Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) is the economic development arm of the City of Lakeland. The staff provide information about incentives and assistance for development.

Lakeland Economic Development Council
Lakeland Economic Development Council is a private non-profit organization with more than 175 member companies. With staff dedicated to growing high-skill, high-wage jobs for the area, the LEDC’s primary role is to help create jobs and capital investment by attracting new companies as well as facilitating the expansion of existing companies.

Polk County Small Business Assistance Center
Polk County Small Business Assistance Center provides professional and confidential consultation to start up business owners as well as existing businesses that want to grow but need help focusing on financing and marketing strategies. In addition to one-on-one consultation, SBAC staff conducts workshops held throughout the county. The SBAC is funded from the County's Occupational License fees.

The SBAC holds office hours at the Chamber on the first and third Tuesday of the month. To schedule an appointment, call (863) 534-5915.

Central Florida SCORE has been serving Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties since 1965. Our Certified Mentor volunteers provide guidance and counseling to entrepreneurs in startup and existing businesses to help them succeed and thrive.

The Central Florida SCORE Mentors includes experience in: law, accounting and taxation, insurance / security agency, manufacturing and design engineering, sales and marketing, negotiation, business purchase and sale, and IT. Several are retired executives from various businesses and business owners. We also have access to the entire national roster of SCORE as needed for special situations.

Central Florida SCORE hosts a Roundtable on the 4th Thursday of each month, except November & December, from 7:30 to 8:30 AM at the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce. Call (863) 688-8551 ext. 231 or

Central Florida SCORE welcomes the opportunity to provide your business, civic club or organization with a workshop on the topic of choice. Please contact us at or call (863) 284-5607.

Data & Info

City of Lakeland Demographic Guide

City of Lakeland Economic Snapshot

City of Lakeland Recent Housing Market Analysis

Polk County Regional Wage Study

Polk County Regional Workforce Information

View our 2015 "Guide To Lakeland"

The Florida Scorecard - Polk County

Business Tax Receipts

Learn more about what is required to obtain a business tax receipt in Lakeland.

Learn more about what is required to obtain a business tax receipt in Polk County.

Commercial/Office Space

To find commercial real estate brokers and to visit the Lakeland Economic Development Council's website to find available space, visit our "Why Lakeland?" page.