Make us your home page
Instagram

New Port Richey entrepreneur moves into new SMARTstart incubator

Gregory Smith of Savealator LLC, right, posing with SMARTstart’s Krista Covey and New Port Richey official Mario Iezzoni, says that he is thrilled to be joining the business incubator.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times

Gregory Smith of Savealator LLC, right, posing with SMARTstart’s Krista Covey and New Port Richey official Mario Iezzoni, says that he is thrilled to be joining the business 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.

New Port Richey entrepreneur moves into new SMARTstart incubator 06/05/14 [Last modified: Thursday, June 5, 2014 3:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Appointments at Port Tampa Bay and Tampa General Medical Group highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Government

    Port Tampa Bay announced that Jamal Sowell has been named director of special projects. Sowell, a former member of the U.S.Marine Corps, will support internal, external and special projects, assist the executive team with management oversight and serve as a liaison on a variety of port …

    Port Tampa Bay announced this week that Jamal Sowell has been named director of special projects. [Handout photo]
  2. Drones restrictions coming at Tampa Bay area airports

    Airlines

    Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, according to a press release.

    In this February 2017 file photo, a drone flies in Hanworth Park in west London. Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems,
[John Stillwell/PA via AP, File]
  3. Gov. Scott backs off boycott of companies doing business in Venezuela

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott will ask the Florida Cabinet next month to prohibit the state's investment managers from doing something they already do not do: invest in companies or securities owned or controlled by the Venezuelan government.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott interacts with people as he holds a Venezuelan Freedom Rally at El Arepazo 2 restaurant on July 10 in Miami. [Joe Raedle | Getty Images]
  4. Superior Uniform Group reports $65.6 million in sales for second quarter

    Corporate

    SEMINOLE — Superior Uniform Group Inc. reported sales of $65.6 million in net sales for the second quarter, up a percentage point from the same quarter last year, the Seminole-based company reported Thursday.

    Superior Uniform Group Inc. saw a sales increase for the second quarter, the company reported Thursday. Pictured is Michael Benstock, CEO. | [Courtesy of Superior Uniform Group]
  5. Air bag inflator ruptures, driver killed in Pasco County

    Autos

    DETROIT — Automaker Honda says a driver from Pasco County died in a crash earlier this month that involved an exploding Takata air bag inflator.

    Honda says a driver near Tampa has died in a crash that involved an exploding Takata air bag inflator. 
[Associated Press]