The number of women and minority-owned businesses are up nationally.
More people are becoming entrepreneurs when they can't find the right job.
“I love Tampa, great city to live, beautiful. But there’s just not the industry that I was craving,” Maria Lauricella said.
A job combining creativity and helping others is something Lauricella had to come up with herself.
"At the end of the day I stuck with it, and I stuck with it, and I stuck with it," she said.
That's how Humanity Del Sol was born. It's a company that sells products made around the world and donates 80 percent of the proceeds to children's charities. One example: Notebooks designed in Tampa.
“I had to create it, and it’s here. It’s my full-time job, and I’m so blessed to be able to do it all the time," Lauricella said.
The notebooks are Lauricella’s idea, but if you have your own idea you can head to the Hillsborough County Entrepreneur Collaborative Center, meet with a consultant, and get the help you need.
“When you’re trying to start a business, you need to solve a problem," said Carol Johns, manager of entrepreneurial services for Hillsborough County.
Consultants at the ECC take you from business plan to completion, one-on-one or in classes.
“You get well-rounded help here. When I’m finished with my financial part, I can send you to the contracting person, or to the marketing person, or to the Internet specialist," Johns said.
It's help worth thousands of dollars, free for you.
"It happens over time and persistence and you’ve got to keep going, believe in yourself," Lauricella said.
To get help from the ECC, visit hillsboroughcounty.org/FSBDC.