Friday, December 15, 2017
Business

New Port Richey entrepreneur moves into new SMARTstart incubator

NEW PORT RICHEY — Longtime New Port Richey resident Greg Smith cannot believe the business opportunity that landed just steps from his back yard.

Smith has lived in the city for 25 years and built a career in the health care business, but now he wants to focus full time on his latest entrepreneurial endeavor. For years, he has been developing an app providing digital inventory tracking services to clients.

As he grew the idea, a partnership between the city and the Pasco Economic Development Council emerged to open a business incubator that provides office space, Wi-Fi connections, mentorships and training to start-ups.

Smith's Savealator LLC computer apps business is one of the first to be accepted to move into the PEDC's emerging New Port Richey SMARTstart. It's modeled after an incubator in Dade City that has proven successful in creating nearly 30 new jobs and is already in need of more space, according to Krista Covey, the PEDC's director of both programs.

Smith said he is thrilled to be moving into the incubator that officially opens with a ribbon-cutting on June 26 in downtown New Port Richey. A bonus for Smith is the 9,000-square-foot incubator, at 6347 Grand Blvd, is within walking distance of his house.

"It's really great to see this excitement in New Port Richey," Smith said. "I'm really looking forward to co-mingling with the other businesses in the building and bouncing ideas off of people. I really believe it's going to open up so many opportunities."

The incubator is a win for the city as well. The property served as a post office until the 1970s and was later owned by First Baptist Church. New Port Richey bought the property in 2005 as part of a push to redevelop the city's downtown. But it has remained empty through the recent economic downturn and the City Council's wrangling over what to do with the property.

As the city's financial outlook has brightened in the last couple of years, the city hired the PEDC to help with spurring economic growth. Opening an incubator in the heart of the city caught on with the council.

In recent months, the city has put more than $40,000 into sprucing up the building with new paint, carpeting and doors. The PEDC has been instrumental in getting the program ready to launch this month, hopeful that many of the businesses the incubator cultivates will eventually relocate to sites in the city, said New Port Richey economic development director Mario Iezzoni.

"The PEDC has really done so much to help us get this launched. I really think it's going to be great for the city," he said.

In addition to Smith, SMARTstart's advisory board, which is made up of members of Pasco's business and educational community, has accepted another business to move into the New Port Richey incubator and several others have applied to present ideas, Covey said.

Costs are low to take part in the program once a business-owner is accepted. There is an upfront $85 membership fee and office space is free for the first six months. After that, members pay $200-a-month, then $300-a-month after the first year, then $400-a-month after 18 months.

The structure provides the businesses time to grow but later allows members to experience dealing with overhead costs every business faces, Covey said.

"Starting a business is challenging and we know that. I'm just so excited to work to help our members grow and succeed," she said.

The New Port Richey SMARTstart incubator is still accepting applications. For more information on the program, log onto smartstartpasco.com.

Comments
Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

A record-breaking number of Americans are expected to travel this holiday season.The American Automobile Association projects that 107.3 million Americans will pack their bags and travel more than 50 miles by planes, trains, automobiles and other mod...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Local widowers say baby powder caused their wives’ cancer

Local widowers say baby powder caused their wives’ cancer

Two Tampa area widowers whose wives died of ovarian cancer are suing Johnson & Johnson, joining nearly 5,000 other plaintiffs across the country who blame their illness on the daily use of the pharmaceutical company’s talcum powder.Bryan Isa’s wife, ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Jabil’s fiscal results top Wall Street expectations

Jabil’s fiscal results top Wall Street expectations

ST. PETERSBURG — Jabil Circuit Inc. beat Wall Street expectations for both profits and revenue Thursday.The St. Petersburg-based contract electronics manufacturer — one of Tampa Bay’s biggest public companies — posted fiscal first-quarter earnings of...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Soccer store opens on Gunn Highway, just in time for the World Cup

Soccer store opens on Gunn Highway, just in time for the World Cup

Even though the United States Men’s soccer team didn’t qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, that hasn’t diminished local fans’ excitement about the upcoming international event.Ariel Martinez, owner of Best Buy Soccer and Lacrosse, has already receiv...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Tampa chamber names first companies for minority business accelerator

Tampa chamber names first companies for minority business accelerator

TAMPA — Four firms in marketing, construction and secure cash logistics will be the first to go to through a new Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce program designed to help black- and Hispanic-owned companies grow their businesses through two years of...
Updated: 10 hours ago
FCC votes down Obama-era ‘net neutrality’ rules

FCC votes down Obama-era ‘net neutrality’ rules

NEW YORK — The Federal Communications Commission has voted on party lines to undo sweeping Obama-era "net neutrality" rules that guaranteed equal access to internet.The agency’s Democratic commissioners dissented in the 3-2 vote Thursday.The FCC’s ne...
Updated: 12 hours ago
From Crystal River to Brooksville, branch out to shop on these unexpected main streets

From Crystal River to Brooksville, branch out to shop on these unexpected main streets

You don’t have to stare at a greeting card to picture a bustling old main street lined with decorated shops and lampposts. Historic small-town shopping districts are easy to find, and more charming than Walmart. Beyond the downtowns of St. Pet...
Updated: 12 hours ago
American Social booming on Harbour Island

American Social booming on Harbour Island

HARBOUR ISLAND — Downtowners, conventioneers, hockey fans, concert-goers and anyone hungry for waterfront dining are discovering American Social Bar & Kitchen on Harbour Island. Panoramic views, accessible boat slips and walkability to Amalie Arena a...
Published: 12/14/17
A healthy dining option opens in Downtown Tampa

A healthy dining option opens in Downtown Tampa

SOUTH TAMPA— Vale Food Co., a health food restaurant, hopes to make its mark on the bay area foodie scene with the opening of its first location in Tampa.In 2014, Sunny Ilyas was a Florida State student trying to find an affordable, healthy meal for ...
Published: 12/14/17

Tampa Bay is above average in minority homeownership

Tampa Bay ranks 22nd among the nation’s 45 largest metro areas in the percentage of minority homeowners. According to Abodo, an online apartment marketplace, 46.2 percent of minorities in the bay area own their homes, which have an average value of $...
Published: 12/14/17