DADE CITY — The Florida High Tech Corridor Council and the University of South Florida have partnered to provide a $50,000 sponsorship to the Pasco Economic Development Council's SMARTstart business incubator program.
Randy Berridge, president of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, announced the sponsorship at the recent grand opening of the SMARTstart business incubator in New Port Richey.
"The SMARTstart program is a terrific program that is already beginning to show successful results," said Berridge. "We are glad to help foster the entrepreneurial activity in Pasco County."
The donation is the second $50,000 sponsorship that the council and USF have provided for the Pasco EDC's incubators.
The goal for the incubators is to provide entrepreneurs and start-up companies with a place to start their businesses. Dade City's 2,500-square-foot incubator provides office space, free Wi-Fi and meeting space for clients. New Port Richey's, at 9,000 square feet, is located in the old post office building downtown.
The Small Business Administration says only 20 percent of new businesses last five years, but a U.S. Economic Development Administration study found that 87 percent of businesses that "graduate" from an incubator last at least five years.
The SMARTstart program has helped create 42 jobs in Pasco with a total of 65 projected jobs over the next two years. SMARTstart holds free entrepreneur workshops and classes, monthly roundtables for startups and networking events throughout the county.
For information, visit smartstartpasco.com or email Krista Covey at firstname.lastname@example.org.