Ribbon Cutting Kumo Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Lounge

Kumo Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi LoungeKumo Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Lounge celebrated their Grand Opening on December 10th with food, fun and local celebrities.  Serving Lunch and Dinner including Hibachi Grill, Sushi, Udon and Maki.  Stop by for a House Cocktail, Beer or Wine.   Located at 5231 University Parkway in Bradenton.  Phone 941-355-5866.

EDC has many ways to impact the economy

We had a big month and year that was capped off with the EDC’s annual “Excellence in Industry” awards lunch at the Polo Grill in Lakewood Ranch.

As each company received their awards they said something to the audience.  It was very interesting to hear what they had to say.

The winner of this year’s Innovation Award, Sleek Audio, gave credit to the EDC for getting their technology mentioned in a press release because this led to a new piece of business coming into the company which led to even more from the same industry (three hockey teams and the Tampa Bay Rays are now using their custom headphones.)

That’s the kind of thing that we have to continue to do at the EDC.  It’s never just enough to get a high impact company to locate, we must continue to look for ways to assist them and promotion is one of those ways.

New Year’s Resolutions for 2010

Some years I make New Year’s Resolutions… other years I don’t.  Either way, they don’t last.  But surely one year they will?

Besides making personal resolutions, it never hurts to use the coming of a new year as an impetus to looking over your business.  Where do you see it going in 2010 and how can you ensure your goals are met?

If one of your goals is to get more involved in the Manatee Chamber, we would love to help you out. Just give the office a call to set up an appointment OR make plans to attend a “new member reception” (aka orientation meeting) for a refresher on what we have to offer.

Perhaps a goal is to increase your Buy Local efforts in the hopes that your fellow members will do the same. Buying locally supports our tax base and employs your friends / neighbors.  If we all move more shopping locally, your business will increase and our community benefits in many ways.

One of my favorite goals is to get more organized.  That one usually lasts into February.  I think it’s what I’ll choose again this year!

So what’s your resolution and what will be improving your bottom line this year?

URL Shorteners… and Malware!

I saw an article online the other day, although I can’t remember where, and it started my wheels turning.  Then, today I saw back-to-back posts on Mashable (an online social media guide) that Google and Facebook have come out with their own URL Shorteners or are about to do so.

First, you may be asking me what a URL Shortener is.  Basically, it’s a web tool that really caught on due to social media.  It takes a long website link – say http://www.manateechamber.com/rfp-tool.aspx – that would take up 35 of your 140 Twitter characters – and makes it teeny tiny.  For instance, that web link might become http://bit.ly/8FMNZ4.

But it poses an interesting issue.  It makes it much easier for you to click through to a site you normally would not visit.  You don’t know for sure where that bit.ly link is taking you.  And since Malware developers are among the trickiest individuals around, you can bet they’re taking advantage of this opportunity.

So please be careful clicking on links… especially shortened links like the above.  Keep your computers and your personal information safe!

Going For the Green!

We’re starting the New Year off right by doing our part in encouraging the hosts of the Chamber’s networking events to “Go  Green”.  You’ll notice some really neat bottle-shaped recycle containers at the sites thanks to our good friends at Waste Pro and Signs Now.

The Chamber’s Green Business Initiative Committee is looking at numerous ways to partner with our members to help with this important effort that benefits everyone.

Stay tuned….lots more to come.

EDC Collaborates with SCF Students

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with two State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota  film students in the creation of a short video for the upcoming 2009 EDC Excellence in Industry Awards luncheon.  Their charge was to film 5 high impact, Manatee County companies in the following targeted sectors: Clean Energy, Agriculture Technologies, Maritime & Distribution, Sports Performance and Life Science–a very diversified group of businesses and cultures. To say that I was impressed with these kids is an understatement!  The students, Eric Gillen and Allison Shives exemplified professionalism from the onset to the completion of this important project.  It was an added pleasure to interact with Del Jacobs, SCF, Professor of Film & Media Studies and Don Guy, SCF Film Department instructor and Executive Producer at Blue Sky Creates Inc.  We are very pleased with the final product as it communicates the message that Manatee County does have a diversified base of high impact companies, and the EDC intends to capitalize on that great asset.

We are very excited to announce the winners of the Manatee EDC 2009 Excellence in Industry Awards.  The event is almost sold out, so if you haven’t made your reservation, please do so soon by contacting Debbie Scott at DebbieS@ManateeEDC.com or 941-748-4842 ext 126.

CDC Issues H1N1 Phishing Alert and Warning to Potential Victims

I don’t know what’s to blame… the economic conditions, growth of the Internet, or just timing. But the number of scams and phishing alerts crossing my desk these days seem to be multiplying.  Below is a new phishing alert regarding the H1N1 vaccine.  Please be particularly careful over the next few months about clicking on any unsolicited emails.  Stay as safe online as we hope you do in person!

CDC has received reports of fraudulent emails (phishing) referencing a CDC sponsored State Vaccination Program.

The messages request that users must create a personal H1N1 (swine flu) Vaccination Profile on the cdc.gov website. The message then states that anyone that has reached the age of 18 has to have his/her personal Vaccination Profile on the cdc.gov site.

The CDC has NOT implemented a state vaccination program requiring registration on www.cdc.gov.

Users that click on the email are at risk of having malicious code installed on their system.

CDC reminds users to take the following steps to reduce the risk of being a victim of a phishing attack:

  • Do not follow unsolicited links and do not open or respond to unsolicited email messages.
  • Use caution when visiting un-trusted websites.
  • Use caution when entering personal information online.

An example of the Phishing email follows:

Experience China in 2010… and Take in the World Expo

The Manatee Chamber of Commerce is offering an amazing trip to China September 1st through the 9th, 2010! The trip is priced at a low $2,000 for Chamber Members and $2,300 for non-Members to enjoy nine days of basking in Chinese culture.  With fantastic meals, 4- and 5-star hotels, incredible shopping and more. All tours are with an English speaking guide.

Join the Chamber, business leaders, members, and friends for a once in a lifetime all-inclusive trip that will leave you breathless. I went myself in October of this year and had the opportunity to meet with several American companies doing business in China as well as American / China Chamber of Commerce officials.  It’s an experience I’ll never forget.

Come see all the beauty and culture that China has to offer as you experience ancient and modern Chinese wonders. This will be a timely, unforgettable experience for you and any guests. The trip will satisfy all different types of vacationers… from sightseers to adventurers and even those wanting to learn about Chinese business opportunities.

The trip will take you to Beijing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, and Shanghai.  You’ll also spend one half day at the 2010 World Expo!

Mark your calendars for an orientation meeting on April 6th, 2010 at 5:30pm in the Manatee Chamber’s Lakewood Ranch Office at the McClure Center.  More details to follow regarding the trip and this meeting.

For additional information or to make your reservation, contact Bob Bartz at 941-748-4842 ext. 112 or email BobB@ManateeChamber.com.

A Warning for Businesses from the BBC!

Some business owners have reported receiving emails from the an organization known as the U.S. Commerce Association, telling them they have won an outstanding business award.  Let’s face it, who doesn’t like to be recognized, and naturally you want to show off this honor to your customers! The so-called award you’ve won is just a scheme to get your company to purchase plaques and awards. Care must be taken in such a flattering circumstance to be sure that the recognition is not an attempt to obtain access to a company’s information or elicit funds.

To avoid losing money in a “vanity award” program ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • What is the cost?  Most legitimate awards do not come with a cost for the recipient.
  • Why did you win the award?  Did you enter a contest?
  • Who is making the award?  Can you verify the existence and location of the business?

The U.S. Commerce Association also goes by the name of U. S. Local Business Association.  They have no verifiable address or telephone number, nor does their website contain any contact information.  The Washington D.C. Better Business Bureau gave the U.S. Commerce Association an “F” grade due to the number of complaints received, and how they were handled.

As a business we know you are always trying to attract new customers, especially during these tough economic times. So it’s no surprise that scam artists are aware of this and trying to take advantage of businesses trying to get a competitive edge.

Testimonial Opportunity

The Manatee Chamber staff loves to hear from you… and particularly loves to hear about how the Chamber has helped your business.  It’s a “feel-good moment” that gives us fresh inspiration and a drive to make the Manatee Chamber the best it can be.

Now we’re giving you a chance to tell the world how belonging to the Chamber has affected you.  We’re prepping the launch of our new website and would like to add some fresh testimonials.  If you would like to participate, email Carey Miller (I won’t post my email address here since it’s a license to spam me, but you can reply to the Chamber Insider or the Weekly Referral Email) a one to two paragraph testimonial.  If you have a headshot, please include that.  Otherwise, I’ll make arrangements to have one taken for you.

Want to see a sample?  Visit our current website and click through some of the pages.  There are eight of them on the site to review.

Thanks for participating!