Make us your home page
Instagram

2013 arrives with new energy, strategies to help regional entrepreneurs

Fresh signs are emerging that Tampa Bay's effort to support regional entrepreneurs and business startups is off to a strong start in 2013.

USF St. Petersburg's business school was just named the "outstanding emerging entrepreneurship program" in the United States.

In downtown Tampa, the much anticipated Tampa Bay WaVE Venture Center is opening its accelerator in the "Beer Can" (Rivergate Tower) building, with the first applications due by Feb. 1 and a boot camp for startups slated for Feb. 14.

And a group known as the Founder Institute, which calls itself the "world's largest startup accelerator," is testing this region's level of entrepreneurial fire to see if it is time to set up a local chapter here. The group held an initial gathering Tuesday evening in Tampa.

Combined, these three events lend new energy to ongoing efforts to offer education, business mentoring, access to investors and other tools to strengthen Tampa Bay's still-young entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Some of the key players aiding the business startup scene here, in addition to those mentioned above, include business incubators and accelerators at USF Tampa, the University of Tampa, the Tampa Bay Innovation Center in Largo, as well as the career and entrepreneurship center at St. Petersburg College — among many others.

This is no slam dunk.

A major missing piece here for business startups is the significant lack of venture capital focused on modern-day entrepreneurs. Younger people involved in startups tend to cultivate Internet-based business ideas that often lie out of the comfort zone of older Florida investors accustomed to investing in real estate or retail franchises.

That is a significant hurdle this area must overcome.

USF St. Petersburg collected its big "emerging program" award on Saturday at the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship's annual conference in San Francisco. In only its third year, the USF program beat out two other finalists, at the University of Maryland and the University of Rochester in New York.

"This provides needed validation for us and the community that we have accomplished a lot here in a short period of time," said USF professor and program director Bill Jackson.

The award goes to the USF College of Business Sustainable Entrepreneurship & Innovation Alliance, an umbrella group that includes programs taught by Jackson, and related startup programs taught by Daniel James Scott, Nathan Schwagler, John Morrow, pitch coach Elizabeth Markie and Wayne Brass, a consultant with USFSP's Small Business Development Center.

At Tampa Bay WaVE, founder Linda Olson has already helped launch several technology startups. "But to finally be positioned to formally launch the FirstWaVE Accelerator and welcome our first class of entrepreneurs is extremely rewarding," she stated.

And the Founder Institute? Let's hope it likes what it sees here enough to stick around. It says its goal is to "globalize Silicon Valley."

All in all, not a bad 2013 start for startups.

Robert Trigaux can be reached at trigaux@tampabay.com.

2013 arrives with new energy, strategies to help regional entrepreneurs 01/15/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 8:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa is 15th-most popular city to move to with U-Haul

    Markets

    TAMPA —Tampa is undoubtedly a destination point, at least according to U-Haul.

    Tampa is the No. 15 destination for people moving with U-Haul trucks. | Times file photo
  2. Florida's economy growing faster than other big states and far better than U.S. overall

    Business

    When it comes to economic growth, Florida's running alongside the leading states and well ahead of the United States as a whole.

  3. Westshore Marina District project takes shape with another acquisition

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — One of Tampa Bay's prime waterfront areas took another major step toward redevelopment Friday as WCI Communities bought 2.35 acres in Westshore Marina District.

    WCI Communities, Lennar's high-end subsidiary,has paid $2.5 million for 2.35 acres in the Westshore Marina District for 35 townhomes. WCI is under contract  to buy an additional 9.5 acres.
[BTI Partners]
  4. Posh Guy Harvey RV park to open in Tampa Bay with $250,000 cottages

    Business

    HOLIDAY — Love those Guy Harvey T-shirts with the soaring marlins? In the not too distant future, you might be able to kick back in your own Guy Harvey cottage in the first-ever Guy Harvey RV park.

    Renderings of the clubhouse and an RV cottage site of the planned Guy Harvey Outpost Club & Resort Tarpon Springs.
[Guy Harvey Outpost Collection]
  5. Port Tampa Bay secures $9 million grant to deepen Big Bend Channel

    Business

    Port Tampa Bay has secured a $9 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the widening and deepening of the Big Bend Channel in southern Hillsborough County.