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Downtown Kissimmee Area Council’s Business Over Breakfast Highlights Free Business Services You Might Not Know About

The DKAC held their first Business Over Breakfast of 2020 on Thursday, March 5.  They will continue with this popular series of breakfasts at the Berlinsky Community House before capping off the year with a Downtown Update in the fall. This time, the program included four presentations on cost-free services for your business that you might not be aware of, and lunch was catered by downtown favorite Susan’s Courtside Café.  Please check out the bottom of this blog post for some useful links relating to the presentation. 

Up first was Candice Casey with the Osceola Library System.  She shared the library’s new A to Z Database.  The A to Z Database is a fantastic free service for searching out job listings; local businesses; potential customers, patrons, or clients; mailing lists; and sales leads.  It is available through the Osceola Library System’s website.  If you own or run a business, you do not need to upload your info to be included in the database; you only need to check the available information to make sure it’s accurate.   You can search the database by very specific demographics that align with your business.  Example shared at the event included searches by interests, new arrivals to the area, past charitable contributions, pet owners, etc.  Businesses can even perform light background checks on potential employees.  Intro videos and webinars are available on the database’s website to help you best match its use to your business’s needs.  The database includes mobile and Spanish versions as well. 

The only requirement to use the A to Z Database is an Osceola County Library System library card.  Library cards are available to anyone who lives, works, or attends school in Osceola County.

Next, attendees heard from Austin Blake, Assistant City Manager with the City of Kissimmee.  Austin’s duties include coordination of emergency management and citywide security initiatives and logistical and analytical support on special projects.  These duties include oversight of the Alert Kissimmee system, which sends non-emergency messages such as notification of road closures, as well as notification of emergency situations such as man-made disasters, hazardous materials incidents, missing persons, crime, or neighborhood/business evacuation notifications.  This services may be familiar to you as Wireless Emergency Alerting (WEA) or “Reverse 911.”  Wireless Emergency Alerting is tied to cell phone usage, and can face challenges as our phones are always on the move. 

To get around these restrictions and stay up to date on the Osceola locations that are important to you, users can sign up for alerts on their cell phones through a simple portal on the City’s website.  You can also try scanning the QR code in the photo below with your cell phone.  Signing up allows you to receive alerts on up to five different locations via email, text, or phone call.  You can also sign up for general text alerts from the City by texting “kissimmee” to 888777.

Next, Community Service Office Jack Flanary Jr. with the Kissimmee Police Department explained that a great way to keep up with KPD is through their social media channels.  They are on Facebook and Twitter.  KPD offers a variety of services to businesses.  If you would like to bring in a KPD officer to give your staff a presentation on CRASE (Civilian Response to an Active Shooter Event), inquire with the problem oriented policing unit.  KPD can also offer CEPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) assessments and Security Surveys for your business and offer solutions to anything determined a concern.  KPD also offers presentations on fraud, personal safety, and bullying.  Interestingly, the police department even offers professional installation of child safety seats.  Finally, KPD has had a Business Watch program in place for several years.  This program encourages businesses to observe and share amongst each other as a measure against local crime.

The last speaker of the morning was Lowell Knollinger, manager of Support Service with Kissimmee Utility Authority.  It may surprise you to find that KUA offers free services and other incentives to their commercial and residential customers.  One of these free services is free energy audits.  During an energy audit, KUA will send an auditor to your home or business to look at elements that use energy and let you know how efficient they are, or if they need to be replaced.  The goal is to aid you in making good decisions about your energy use.  KUA customers can register for an audit on KUA.com.

KUA also offers a series of rebates for making certain energy-efficient changes in your home or business.  These include their commercial lighting retrofit program, which offers up to $5000 in rebates.  Other rebates include heat pump or central A/C replacement, electric vehicle purchase, and smart thermostat installation. 

Helpful Links:

Osceola Library System’s Available Databases:  https://www.osceolalibrary.org/digital-library/

City of Kissimmee Emergency Notification System:  https://www.kissimmee.org/our-city/news-events/emergency-notification-system

Schedule a KUA Energy Audit:  https://kua.com/energy-conservation-and-renewables/home-energy-audit/

Learn more about available KUA rebates and find a list of participating contractors:  https://kua.com/energy-conservation-and-renewables/kua-rebates-and-participating-contractors/

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