Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Business

In downtown St. Petersburg, a business incubator will open in St. Petersburg College facility

A business incubator will open in downtown St. Petersburg later this year in space leased in St. Petersburg College's downtown facility.

Dr. Kevin Gordon, who runs SPC's downtown campus, confirmed that a planned incubator will occupy more than 6,000 square feet on the ground floor of the SPC building at 244 Second Ave. N in space once used by the former Florida International Museum.

The incubator will be called TEC Garage St. Petersburg — TEC being short for Technology Entrepreneurship Center — and operate on at least a three-year lease. It will be run by the staff of Largo's well-established incubator known as the Tampa Bay Innovation Center. TEC Garage will be funded by $400,000 set aside by state legislators last year and used to build out the now-empty space at St. Petersburg College.

Innovation Center CEO Tonya Elmore, who has spearheaded the incubator push into downtown St. Petersburg, said TEC Garage is a smaller and near-term incubator that she hopes will eventually complement a larger and permanent downtown facility. She estimates TEC Garage could open by September and accommodate 15 to 30 startups depending on their size.

A search for a downtown building site for the larger, 40,000-square-foot incubator that would include "wet labs" to accommodate biotech businesses is ongoing. Elmore said fundraising efforts for that project are already under way.

Robert Trigaux can be reached at [email protected]

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