Understanding St. Pete’s COVID Economy

Nearly 10,000 small businesses throughout St. Petersburg are currently working to adapt to the new COVID economy. Since mid-March, Grow Smarter has been collecting data on how these businesses are doing through a combination of conversations with partners as well as the Organizational Status Survey, which we created in partnership with the St. Pete Chamber and the Greenhouse

As of April 8, this survey has collected 160 respondents, 73% of which are self-identified small businesses. When asked about the impacts of COVID on their business, only a single respondent claimed they were completely unaffected. Over half of the respondents claim that their financials are being significantly impacted, followed by nearly 33% claiming that this may put them out of business.  

While the numbers look less than stellar on the small business side, most of our Grow Smarter Targeted Industries (Data Analytics, Financial Services, Creative Arts and Design, Specialized Manufacturing, and Marine and Life Sciences) are pulling through with minimal damage likely due to factors like different revenue streams, size, structure, customer bases, and greater resources. 

Our Grow Smarter partner, the St. Petersburg Economic Development Corporation, is working to quickly collect insight from key leaders throughout these industries via detailed phone outreach. Their research has thus far found that almost 53% of these firms are reporting steady to normal revenue streams, followed by an additional 13.2% even reporting increases.

In fact, nearly 31% of these firms indicated that they are still hiring in some capacity—largely data analytics and financial firms. Therefore, it’s not surprising that 63% of these firms indicate confidence in surviving beyond the short term, whereas only 11% claim they cannot.  

While the resiliency of our targeted industries could prove to play a vital role in our economic recovery, collecting more data on the health of our business community increases in importance every day. Please help Grow Smarter and its partners better understand our economy by providing your knowledge and experience. 

Please complete our brief Organizational Status Survey.

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