Sarasota gains entrepreneurial buzz on Fast Company list of 'underrated hotbeds of innovation'
Even Sarasota seems to a bit surprised to end up on Fast Company magazine's list of the 10 underrated hotspots for innovation in America. The September issue (left) list, which includes Bentonville, Ark. (home to Wal-Mart), and Buffalo, N.Y., names only one city in the Sunshine State. Read the list of 10 here.
"Since April, we've been documenting pockets of innovation across America, under the premise that today's flux-driven economy can support entrepreneurs in any city, no matter how small and far-flung," Fast Company states. "In many ways, that underdog status is a boon, enabling outlandish ideas that wouldn't rate in more competitive markets, such as San Francisco and New York."
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune noticed the magazine's attention and was gracious enough in its remarks to say that the notion of innovation may be just as much a Southwest Florida theme as one specific to Sarasota. Read more from that article.
Fast Company, defending its pick of Sarasota, writes that media companies are sprouting up in Sarasota while other local startups hope to process plasma for medical research and to serve the film industry, "which is expected to grow with new tax credits from the state."
"The guardians of the city's burgeoning startup scene often clash with the older crowd," Fast Company adds -- a dynamic "parodied relentlessly in the Portlandia-inspired web series Saratopia."
Never heard of Saratopia? Fast Company profiled it in this May story (with the word Geezerville in the headline) about the strategy by the guys at the HuB, a social enterprise/startup incubator in Sarasota that fosters media and tech companies and produces many of its own quirky media projects. Those guys are "pretty sure that by poking a little light fun at the imperfections of their adopted hometown, they can in fact generate the best kind of publicity for it, the kind that both piques the curiosity of outsiders and gets the locals snickering. After all, it worked for Portlandia." Learn more about Saratopia and watch some of the episodes here.
Kudos, Sarasota. Keep that buzz going.
-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times