JoTo PR Part of Sunny Outcome: Why Florida's Startups Are Soaring High

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Clearwater-based public relations firm, JoTo PR, becomes a reputable women-owned business in Florida with its contemporary business practices.

Women have ability to see long-term effects – this affects their decisions in everything…and in business it helps to see down the road

Florida was recently named the No. 1 "Innovation State" by Fast Company magazine. In a story titled, "A Sunny Outcome: Why Florida's Startups are Soaring High," Fast Company cited the state as the nation's second-highest rate of new business production, No. 2 ranking for annual revenue per startup, and a high venture capital ranking (1). With its lack of state income tax and array of opportunity, Florida has become a haven for small businesses. They have boomed in the wake of the Great Recession –JoTo PR, a Clearwater-based public relations (PR) firm notable for its unique business practices and strong female representation, is a prime example of Florida’s small business growth.

From Humble Beginnings to Soaring High

Founded in 2009 by PR veterans, Karla Jo Helms and Diane D. Stein, JoTo PR started small and has steadily grown to become a contributing member of Florida’s cache of small businesses. The duo says they started company as the business landscape at that time was sheer panic– PR would be effective in helping companies remain known and, more importantly, credible at the height of the Great Recession.

“We started [JoTo] in my kitchen – and have grown steadily ever since,” said Helms, JoTo CEO. “[Diane] and I both come from a business management background – we decided to compile our skills and really set out to make a difference for not only our community and potential clients, but also for businesses re-shaping in the New Economy.”

Helms credits the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce, of which she is a member of the Board of Directors, for helping the growth of JoTo from the very beginning. The Chamber aided JoTo in its early days by establishing connections for the firm throughout Tampa Bay – in turn, the Chamber benefitted from JoTo’s expertise in shaping a public image and maintain credibility amidst the recession.

“They helped us find our bearing in the beginning – that support is a big part of what makes Tampa Bay such a great place to do business,” said Helms.

With its automated technology and paperless organization and communication, JoTo PR embodies Florida’s innovation reputation. The company implemented statistical managing, or tracking data to determine if goals are being reached and what actions to take if they are not. JoTo PR also falls into the category of women-owned businesses, which are the nation’s biggest hiring source, second only to publicly traded firms in the post-recession era (2).

When asked why women have emerged as a key contenders in business following the recession, Stein responds, “Women have ability to see long-term effects – this affects their decisions in everything…and in business it helps to see down the road.”

Paying the Good Fortune Forward

Through its corporate social responsibility practices, JoTo PR has seen its efforts to help their community pay off - increased leads, higher revenues and consequently the ability to hire more employees (which, in turn, are now able to also take on pro bono projects).

From its inception, the Florida PR firm has helped some of Tampa Bay’s leading non-profit organizations, including:

•American Cancer Society – Relay For Life
•Sunscreen Film Festival
•Humane Society of Pinellas County
•Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast
•Martin Luther King Community Center

The two JoTo entrepreneurs encourage their clients to “give back” as part of their PR campaigns and make it a priority to forge a difference in their communities. JoTo PR has turned the knowledge of its own pro bono work into additional solutions for its clientele. By using their connections to make introductions to government officials, politicians and others in the public sector, JoTo has been able to help other companies make a positive difference in their industries. As a result, these businesses have also seen increased business and national news attention.

JoTo PR represents businesses, seeking higher credibility and consequently larger market shares generated from result-driven, PR campaigns. The PR firm primarily represents clients the healthcare, IT, and finance industries, but has extended its clientele at times to include certain authors and productions companies.

For more information about JoTo PR, including the various services and free PR resources available from the PR agency, visit

About JoTo PR:
Based in Tampa Bay, Florida, JoTo PR is an established Florida public relations firm founded by public relations veterans and innovators Karla Jo Helms and Diane D. Stein. The duo launched their PR firm to meet a growing demand for new media expertise. JoTo is a hybrid PR agency, blending proven traditional approaches with the latest technology to deliver the best advantages of both worlds to the healthcare, financial and technology industries. JoTo’s holistic approach to Business PR begins with communications strategic plans and leads into fully-integrated PR campaigns designed to optimize company communication, improve marketing and sales return on investment (ROI), and expand business opportunities. For more information, visit JoTo PR online at

1."A Sunny Outcome: Why Florida's Startups Are Soaring High | Fast Company | Business Innovation." Fast Company, 15 Apr. 2013. Web. 14 June 2013.

2."Women-Owned Businesses Second to Publicly Traded Firms Since Great Recession." Bulldog Reporter, 10 Apr. 2013. Web. 14 June 2013.

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