Business Development


Thinking about starting a business in Bay County or in any of its cities and need to apply for a license? There are a few things to know and what resources are available.

Determine what type of company you want to form.

Do you want to:

  1. File a DBA (fictitious name) to create a sole proprietorship or partnership?
  2. Incorporate as a corporation or LLC (Limited Liability Company)?

Which ever you choose, you should register your company with the state (at and with the city your business will operate in, and obtain a bank account. You are required to do these steps even if you have an online business or an at home business.

Unincorporated Bay County does not require a business license; however, they do suggest that you register your business name with

If your business will operate within any of the city limits listed below, then you must contact the city for their licensing requirements.

  • Callaway – 850.871.6000
  • Lynn Haven – 850.265.2121
  • Mexico Beach – 850.648.5700
  • Panama City – 850.872.3033
  • Panama City Beach – 850.233.5100
  • Parker – 850.871.4104
  • Springfield – 850.872.7570

The Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulations has all the information you need regarding business licensing for the state of Florida

The Small Business Development Center offers free assistance with filing your business license, filling out your business plan and more. Contact them at 850-818-0570 or


The Bay County Chamber partners with many community organizations to provide resources for new and existing businesses. Find a list of our community partners below as well as links to government websites such as the Bay County Commission, Supervisor of Elections, Clerk of Court and more.

Small Business Development Center

A non-profit organization designed to deliver up-to-date counseling, training and technical assistance in all aspects of small business management. Services include, but not limited to, assisting small businesses with licensing, financial, marketing, production, organization, engineering and technical problems, feasibility studies and more. The SBDC also offers many workshops, online training and continuing education opportunities.

2196 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
(Panama City Mall)
Panama City, FL  32405

CareerSource Gulf Coast

CareerSource Gulf Coast is the vehicle of the Gulf Coast Board of Directors for providing employment and training services for job seekers, employers and youth. It is their primary goal to engineer solutions for local businesses by providing tools and resources needed to stay competitive ALL FOR FREE. Employer Services include: Recruitment, Applicant Screening, Employed Worker Training, Work Opportunity Tax Credit, Incumbent Worker Training, Quick Response Training and Human Resource Assistance.

625 Hwy. 231
Panama City, FL 32405

Governmental Links

Grow your business with LinkedIn

There are over 30 million small businesses in the United States, but only half of them will make it past five years. Ensure your small business is in the successful half and capitalize on how LinkedIn can evolve your business. Here are three ways to grow your business using LinkedIn:

  1. Create & Promote a LinkedIn Company Page

LinkedIn members are 50% more likely to buy once they’ve engaged with your business on LinkedIn. But they can’t connect with you if you don’t have a LinkedIn Company Page. Personal profiles don’t have the same marketing, advertising, and recruiting features as Company Pages, making them less effective at promoting your business. As you create your page, think about the kind of impression you want to create among potential customers and employees.

Here are some simple ways to get the word out:

  • Announce the launch of the Company Page on your personal LinkedIn profile
  • Link to your Company Page in the footer of your marketing emails or newsletters
  • Embed a Company Follow button onto your website so visitors can easily follow your LinkedIn Company Page
  1. Build an All-Star Team

LinkedIn has helped 75% of job switchers make informed decisions about their careers, making LinkedIn a top recruiting network for entrepreneurs.

Career Pages allow you to target audiences with a personalized look into your company, culture, and job postings. They give you dedicated Life and Job tabs on your Company Page that attract and engage relevant applicants.

In addition to creating Career Pages, have employees share job postings and “day in the life” content as well. This gives visitors a genuine idea of what it’s like to work for you and adds to your authenticity. If you have a few employees who lead the pack in sharing content, consider linking them to your Company Page’s Life Tab. Watch our video below on how to use the Life Tab to attract the right talent for your company:

  1. Hire Freelancers

You’ve probably had an employee who took on a task outside of their domain. You might have even done it yourself a few times. While the effort is commendable, learning on the fly can also be detrimental.

Finding the right talent for the task isn’t as tricky as it once was, even if you can’t afford the average salaries of full-time employees.

LinkedIn ProFinder lets you post projects, get free proposals, and hire trustworthy professionals all in one place. ProFinder pairs you with local professionals to ensure you have the best freelance experience. With 172 professional services available on ProFinder, it’s easy to find the perfect professional. LinkedIn vets all the professionals on the platform to ensure they are qualified and leverages your network to find freelancers your connections have used.