Friday, May 25, 2018
Business

How broadly does 'Tampa Bay' brand reach?

How far can the name "Tampa Bay" extend geographically beyond the core Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area? That's a key question as economic developers and surrounding counties weigh the pros and cons of identifying themselves with the Tampa Bay name.

Few people are closer to this issue than Stuart Rogel, chief executive officer of the Tampa Bay Partnership, the regional marketing group that has slowly pushed its member counties to eight. They include the expected counties of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando, all comfortable with the Tampa Bay name as a regional identifier. But the partnership also represents outlier counties Citrus, Polk, Manatee and Sarasota.

Now it gets more interesting. Citrus is happy to be affiliated with the Tampa Bay name, Rogel says. Manatee County, home to the city of Bradenton, and Sarasota County are still figuring out if "Tampa Bay" covers their economic needs or if they can act more freely.

And Polk County? It was just handed its own Florida Polytechnic university, thanks to state Sen. J.D. Alexander and Gov. Rick Scott. Their deal will sever the school from Tampa Bay's University of South Florida umbrella. Is that the latest sign of Polk's do-it-yourself trend?

• • •

We can talk all we want about the "entrepreneurial ecosystem" that should be taking root in the Tampa Bay market. The reality is that the economy remains tough, and Tampa Bay's infamous lack of early venture capital to help support start-up businesses is taking its toll.

Gazelle Lab, the business accelerator at USF St. Petersburg, mentored six handpicked companies in last year's inaugural 90-day program. Gazelle Lab chief Daniel James Scott, who also teaches at the campus, says there probably won't be a Round 2 for the lab until the program can raise more funds. So far, the coffer is lean.

The good news is the Gazelle Lab extended its reach to Orlando, which apparently does have the initiative and funding to do its own business accelerator program. Details will be out soon.

Meanwhile, the Gazelle Lab is losing one of its six startups and two student stars — Kngroo headed by Jeff Baird as well as Jessica Barnett (both USF Gus Stavros fellowship winners) to New York City. The good news is the remaining five of Gazelle's original startups — AutoIQ (now called Carvoyant), Red Hawk Interactive, Dropost.it, Teburu and Leads Direct are still local. So far, that's a pretty good success rate.

• • •

When is a power company a banking company? An unusual ad from Duke Energy appeared in the Tampa Bay Times this week inviting consumers to consider investing in Duke's "PremierNotes" which sound a lot like a money market account (but isn't). The ad pitches an enticing 1.61 percent annual yield on a minimum $1,000 investment. But the notes' yield will vary. And the notes are not FDIC-insured nor rated by any rating agency.

Duke Energy is based in North Carolina and does not even provide electricity to Floridians. But Duke is trying to buy Progress Energy. Is that why we're seeing it solicit funds in the Sunshine State?

Contact Robert Trigaux at [email protected]

Comments
Is the Lightning’s Jeff Vinik the best owner in professional sports?

Is the Lightning’s Jeff Vinik the best owner in professional sports?

Hope of another Stanley Cup has dissolved, and soon the ice will follow. Yet even if sorrow is the price of devotion, the true hockey fans will still buy in when the next season comes around.That concept may not be unique to Tampa Bay, but it does se...
Published: 05/26/18
Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Last year three members of the 69ers Motorcycle Club gang were implicated in the execution of a rival gang leader in the middle of rush hour traffic in Pasco County.Now those three and two other 69ers members have been indicted on federal charges tha...
Published: 05/25/18
With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

TAMPA — Behind the construction walls near the carousel at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, hammers, saws and power drills made a racket in the blazing Friday heat. A raft full of 100-pound water jugs took test trips on the new Roaring Springs ride set ...
Published: 05/25/18
U.S. news outlets block European readers over new privacy rules

U.S. news outlets block European readers over new privacy rules

LONDON — U.S. news outlets including The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Orlando Sentinel and The Arizona Daily Star abruptly blocked access to their websites from Europe on Friday, choosing to black out readers rather than comply with a ...
Published: 05/25/18
Tampa Electric appeals OSHA findings for October accident

Tampa Electric appeals OSHA findings for October accident

TAMPA — Tampa Electric Co. is appealing a recent citation by federal regulators. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration hit the utility with a $76,050 fine and a "serious" violation in April following its investigation into an accident in ...
Published: 05/25/18
Fiat Chrysler recalls 4.8 million cars, warning owners: Don’t use the cruise control

Fiat Chrysler recalls 4.8 million cars, warning owners: Don’t use the cruise control

Associated PressDETROIT — Fiat Chrysler is recalling 4.8 million vehicles in the U.S. because in rare but terrifying circumstances, drivers may not be able to turn off the cruise control. The company is warning owners not to use cruise control until...
Published: 05/25/18
Federal Reserve chairman warns his agency must be free from political pressure

Federal Reserve chairman warns his agency must be free from political pressure

Associated PressFederal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned Friday that the Fed’s independence from political pressure must be respected if it is to succeed in controlling inflation, maximizing employment and regulating the financial system. His re...
Published: 05/25/18
Restaurants like Ford’s Garage use the experience to get you in the door

Restaurants like Ford’s Garage use the experience to get you in the door

Tim Butler’s first car was a Ford Model A pick-up truck — a pearl fawn and cherry red pick-up he got his senior year in high school from his dad, who renovates antique cars. That’s why as Butler waited for a table at the Ford’...
Published: 05/25/18
St. Petersburg man fined $507,513 in penny stock scheme

St. Petersburg man fined $507,513 in penny stock scheme

TAMPA — A St. Petersburg man was fined $507,513 and permanently barred from participating in the offering of a penny stock in a case involving a scheme to manipulate the price of Aureus, a penny stock company incorporated in Nevada, officials said Fr...
Published: 05/25/18
Broadcom’s CEO tops highest-paid list with a $103 million payout

Broadcom’s CEO tops highest-paid list with a $103 million payout

Times staff and wiresNEW YORK — Chief executives at the biggest public companies got an 8.5 percent raise last year, bringing the median pay package for CEOs to $11.7 million. Across the S&P 500, compensation for CEOs is often hundreds of times highe...
Published: 05/25/18