Community Foundation of Sarasota County

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County works to empower organizations with the tools and resources to enhance their impact and plan for their future. This includes no cost consulting services in leadership, governance, fundraising, and communications, workshops to help nonprofit board and staff become more effective, and on-demand resources.
Phone: 941-955-3000


Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County

The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County is a public/private partnership focused on growing existing businesses and strategically diversifying the economy of Sarasota County. It assists new and existing businesses by providing confidential project management, rapid permitting, building/site review, market research, workforce assistance, incentives/financing, and export assistance.
Phone: 941.309.1200 x 105


FL Department of State | Division of Corporations FL Department of State | Division of Corporations

The Division of Corporations is the State of Florida's official business entity index and commercial activity website. Content to do business in Florida includes general information, available resources and frequently ask questions to start or manage/change an existing business, obtain forms and fees, or perform a records search
Phone: 850-245-6000


Florida SBDC at University of South Florida Florida SBDC at University of South Florida

The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at USF assists existing and emerging business through no-cost confidential business consulting, information, and low-cost training.
Phone:  941-309-1200, ext. 107


Gulf Coast Community Foundation Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Gulf Coast offers a range of resources for nonprofit organizations and for businesses that want to give back. The foundation’s Invest in Incredible initiative provides free online resources, training workshops, and professional consulting for nonprofits.
Phone: 941-486-4600


SCORE Manasota




SCORE, a national non-profit network of over 10,000 volunteer business experts, is a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration.  Locally, over 90 volunteers provide free and confidential mentoring, low cost education and online resources to existing and emerging businesses to support small business starts and job creation.
Phone: 941-955-1029


Manasota Chapter: 941.955.1029

Port Charlotte Chapter: 941.743.6179

Southwest Florida Chapter: 239.931.9807


Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources

Access our digital resources for your business goals from creating business plans, marketing materials, grant writing, conducting competitive analysis, networking and more. Business Resources include Business Economics, Business Plans Handbook Series, Demographics Now, Florida Small Business Development Center Network, Mergent First, Reference USA, Small Business Collection, Administration and Resource Center.
Phone: 941-861-5000


Sarasota County Office of Business and Economic Development

Sarasota County’s Office of Business and Economic Development is ready to assist with regulatory or permitting concerns. “Doing Business in Sarasota County” is a directory (available online and in print) of services and contact information. Use this resource as a starting point for answers to many questions.
Phone: 941-861-5247


U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), an independent agency of the federal government, helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, and online resources SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
Phone: 305-536-5521


United Way 2.1.1.

A free resource for Sarasota, Manatee and Desoto County residents. Information includes: Where to get basic needs; Consumer services; Criminal Justice and Legal services; Education and Health needs, Environmental and Public safety; Income support, Employment services, Mental health and Substance abuse services, Family life, Organizational and community services.

211 provides unmatched, critical services- Free and confidential assistance

211 provides expert help – No matter the situation, 211 Specialists listen, identify underlying problems, tackle root causes, and connect people to community resources and services.

211 meets real needs in real time – In 2018 alone, 211’s in the US answered more than 11 million calls and almost 1 million texts, chats and emails helping millions with life changing support.


Phone:  Call 2-1-1 or 941-308-4357
or visit



Venice MainStreet Venice MainStreet

Doing Business in Venice - To help you plan and get your business going, here are a few links.
Phone: 941-484-6722


Latest News & Additional Resources


Visit Sarasota County’s October. 2018  Visitor Statistics  click here –

Although Sarasota County is still experiencing sporadic impacts from red tide, the VSC recovery efforts are in full swing.  In November, we hosted 20 travel journalists in Sarasota County from the U.S., Canada, and Germany.  This also includes a group of journalists from Sweden brought to us by Norwegian Air to support their expanded air service into Florida.

VSC also hosted 19 travel agents with DER Touristik from Germany for 3 days in November.  These are agents who are high-performing in sales.   They got to experience everything from a Ghost Tour to an all-American hamburger cook-out on Siesta Beach.  This will help them in selling Sarasota County to the vital German market.

Now for the numbers for October.  Visitation to Sarasota was flat compared to October last year, growing 0.9%.  Frankly, I think this is good news given the red tide crisis.  However, because there are more hotel rooms, lodging occupancy dropped -2.1%  to 57.6% and room rates dropped -15.4% to $108.67.

Virginia J. Haley, CDME