The Greenhouse Community Business Development Initiative

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Greenhouse Community Business Development Initiative?

The Greenhouse Community Business Development Initiative (CBDI) is a program of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce as part of its Greenhouse partnership with the City of St. Petersburg. The CBDI is designed to reduce poverty thought economic development and growth, by encouraging the start and growth of minority owned businesses in South St. Petersburg.

The program is being funded through a grant from the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, a private Foundation formed from the sale of Bayfront Medical Center. The Foundation’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of our community through initiatives that create sustainable, effective improvements to the quality and quantity of life. The Foundation’s north star is to improve population health.

The CBDI supported by: The Greenhouse, St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, City of St. Petersburg, Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, 2020 Plan, St. Petersburg College


How does the CBDI work?

A number of individuals that are thinking about starting their own business and a number of entrepreneurs with existing businesses will be selected to participate in a 12 month program designed to provide intensive resources and one-on-one mentorship in order to break down barriers to business success and give them the best chance of starting and running successful enterprises.

Initially, individuals will participate in one of two entrepreneurship courses. Those who are not yet in business will begin with the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program, while those who are already in business will begin with the BB&T Entrepreneurial Academy.

After completing this initial course (either Icehouse or the Entrepreneurial Academy), participants will then be assisted with creating a plan for their businesses, and be eligible for up to $3,000 in stipends for expenses related to the opening or expansion of their business. Participants will also work with mentors and counselors one-on-one and participate in peer groups with other entrepreneurs.



How will participants be selected for the CBDI?

 An application and interview process will be conducted to select participants.


When will the CBDI launch?

Applications for the program are currently closed. The first cohort of participants began in September 2016, and the second cohort will begin in 2017.

For those selected to participate in 2017, classes will follow the schedule below:

  • Ice House Entrepreneurship Program (new entrepreneurs):
    • Beginning January 2017
  • Spring 2017 Entrepreneurial Academy (existing business owners):
    • Spring 2017


Where can I learn more about the Ice House track (for new entrepreneurs)?

The Ice House Entrepreneurship Program is a training program designed to teach the entrepreneurial mindset. Drawing on eight fundamental concepts, the course exposes participants to the underlying thoughts and processes that enable entrepreneurs with limited resources to identify, evaluate, and transform new ideas into successful endeavors. The overall objective is to empower learners by exposing them to entrepreneurial thinking while immersing them in real-world entrepreneurial experiences.

Through participation in this course, individuals will learn to:

  • Develop critical thinking skills that will enable them to identify and evaluate opportunities, manage risks, and learn from the results.
  • Understand the process that enables entrepreneurs with limited resources to transform an idea into a sustainable success.
  • Understand and apply fundamental aspects of entrepreneurial thinking across disciplines and as a means of personal empowerment.
  • Establish goals, identify resources, and determine the steps required to accomplish their goals.
  • Identify and interact with local entrepreneurs within their own communities.

To apply to participate as part of the CBDI, please complete the CBDI Application when the application cycle is open.


Where can I learn more about the Entrepreneurial Academy (EA) track (for existing business owners)?

The BB&T Entrepreneurial Academy (EA) is a training program designed to teach what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.

This 10-week long program is taught by leaders from the local business community. The curriculum focuses on the technical skills necessary for running a successful business, including: writing a business plan, establishing a legal entity, small business accounting, marketing, finance options, and much more.

Participants in the program receive a complimentary 1-year, all-access membership to the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce upon completion (contingent upon attendance). Tuition for the program is normally $299; however CBDI participants will be admitted to the course free-of-charge.

For more information about EA, please visit www.stpete.com/EA or www.stpete.com/ea-faqs. To apply to participate as part of the CBDI, please complete the CBDI Application when the application cycle is open.


If you have additional questions about the CBDI, please contact Kelly Sims at ksims@stpete.com.

Click here to return to the CBDI homepage


Click here to visit the application portal for the CBDI