Florida SBDC at USF: Counties of Sarasota and Manatee

The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at USF College of Business, assists existing and emerging businesses in Sarasota and Manatee counties, through no-cost confidential business consulting, information, and low-cost training. Whether starting, buying, growing or selling a business, the Florida SBDC at USF has what entrepreneurs need to grow and succeed. Consultants can assist entrepreneurs in a variety of business areas, including: marketing, business certification, capital access, market diversification, developing strategic business plans, export services, and web optimization.

Florida SBDC at USF


CareerSource Suncoast Center
1112 Manatee Ave. East, Suite 245 and 246
CareerSource Suncoast Center
Bradenton, FL 34208
Field Office (941) 714-7449 ext. 2219 (Manatee County)
(941) 714-7449 ext. 2121 (Sarasota County)
Regional Office (813) 905-5800
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm

CareerSource SuncoastCareerSource Suncoast
897 E. Venice Ave.
Venice, FL 34285
(941) 486-2682 ext. 4121

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Meet the Consultants

  • Linda Benedict

    Linda BenedictSBDCFlorida SBDC at USF

    Specialty: Growth Acceleration

    A New York licensed attorney, Linda Benedict graduated with a certificate in community development and taught business law and employment law at the college level. She has a master’s in business administration with more than 15 years of business experience and worked with more than 300 businesses. As director of the Business and Community Development Division of a community action agency, she taught pre-venture and start-up entrepreneurs how to start their businesses and showed established small businesses how to successfully grow their bottom line and market their products and services. Raising community and political support, she created a business development center that served a three-county area. After realizing that small businesses in the service area were not being offered business loans, she successfully created and directed a lending Institution. Benedict was a founding member of MicroBizNY, New York State’s first statewide association supporting microbusinesses. She has been a presenter on the needs of small businesses to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) and the New York Department of Labor. In addition, she owned a business consulting company specializing in teaching businesses how to successfully market their services.

  • Pat Gordon

    Pat GordonSBDC

    Florida SBDC at USF

    Specialty: Growth Acceleration

    As a growth acceleration specialist with the FSBDC at USF, Pat Gordon is focused on assisting existing businesses to find new opportunities, uncover hidden profits and create sustainable growth. For more than 20 years, she led an IT consulting and staffing firm which grew from $750k in annual revenues to more than $40 million in yearly sales during her tenure. The company branched out from the Miami area and ultimately earned the status of primary and preferred supplier to several major clients in the oil and gas industry in Houston and across the border in Canada. Gordon has her bachelor’s in communications from the University of Buffalo and her master’s in business administration. from Canisius College. As an entrepreneur, she owns a seasonal fishing lodge near the Adirondack Mountains of New York and has a small used car dealership in Florida. She is also a part-time adjunct instructor of economics, business and operations management.

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