Saturday, June 23, 2018
Business

Tampa Bay startup businesses are making strides

Business startups here and the Tampa Bay ecosystem under construction to support them continue to make strides. At the start of 2014, finding investors continues to be the toughest hurdle — a common complaint heard across most metro areas. Here are five examples of startup activity reflecting the latest momentum in the new year.

1. It's hard to miss SavvyCard in downtown St. Petersburg, located in a glass-walled space on the street level of the city's tallest office building. SavvyCard offers online business cards that include contact information, like old-school business cards. But the real horsepower is the potential connectivity that can link an online business card to sales, marketing and data analysis.

CEO David Etheredge laid it all out to a small group of local business folks over an informal lunch this week. SavvyCard is working with the Miami Association of Realtors, creating thousands of individual real estate agent business cards online, all linked to property listings viewable on smartphones.

SavvyCard is the second St. Pete firm (after LED lighting firm LumaStream) to win some backing (in this case, $20,000) from the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership.

2. In Ybor City, clothing designer/retailer Black & Denim maintains its aggressive pace of product innovation.

Co-founder Roberto Torres notes his business recently became the "official licensed merchandise & apparel company" for the Gasparilla Distance Classic run on Feb. 21-23. "The fact that we are local and also made in America was a great selling point to them," says Torres.

3. The FirstWaVE Venture Center in downtown Tampa will be the site of the first Teen Business Challenge, a three-day entrepreneurial team competition for young people, over the Feb. 21-23 weekend.

Founder David Harris teamed up with the Computer Mentors Group and the 100 Black Men of Tampa Bay organization to encourage teens to try taking an idea and turning it into a potential business in three days. It's free. Teens who get selected are given an iPad mini, but they have to be nominated and interviewed. Learn more at teenbusinesschallenge.org/tampa-2014/.

4. A year ago, USF St. Petersburg's business school was named the nation's "outstanding emerging entrepreneurship program." Now the award goes to the University of Tampa Entrepreneurship Center.

That makes startup programs at two universities in one metro area pushing hard to make Tampa Bay a smarter place to start and grow new businesses. Somebody's doing something right. UT program director Rebecca White says entrepreneurship is a popular program for students in all different majors. "It's really an amazing and productive trend."

5. Young Florida companies seeking venture capital gathered in Orlando this week to make their pitches to investors at the Florida Venture Forum. Among the area companies participating: CareSync of Wesley Chapel and DVR Technology Developments of St. Petersburg.

Robert Trigaux can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

The biggest hospitals in Houston had a problem.To earn a prized institutional certification, they needed more nurses with bachelor of science degrees in nursing.But local colleges were more focused on turning out nurses with two-year degrees who, to ...
Published: 06/22/18
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, the future of health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But t...
Published: 06/22/18
Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Here’s an intriguing set of facts: Coal produces the same percentage of the world’s electricity as 20 years ago. Oil and gas remain about level, too.Same for nonfossil fuel sources. In other words, the massive push towards renewables over the past co...
Published: 06/22/18
Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Florida’s otherwise rosy job numbers, one that’s been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes gen...
Published: 06/22/18
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Published: 06/22/18
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Published: 06/22/18
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Published: 06/21/18
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Published: 06/21/18
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18