Entrepreneurs and established businesses struggle to understand the Tampa Bay innovation ecosystem. Whether they are relocating or already here, the diversity of support resources spread across multiple cities and counties is daunting. A simple question of “What is available to help me grow my business?” can become a convoluted journey of misdirection and confusion. The resources (e.g., funding, coaching, partnerships) available can depend on the company’s stage of growth, industry focus, target customers, or founder background. It is frustrating for a business to spend time with a resource provider explaining their needs only to find out they do not match the provider’s focus. Even worse is when this mismatch is not well explained. The business leaves the interaction feeling disheartened that no one is willing to help them. This lack of clear communication does not boost our economy – it creates fractures.
A group of support organizations, led by the Innovation District and fueled by a grant from the Duke Energy Foundation, is working to help solve this issue. We are in the midst of mapping the innovation ecosystem. So far we have identified over 100 support organizations. Most have completed a survey to help us understand who they support and the types of services they provide. We expect to publish our findings by the end of the year.
(This article was first featured in our September newsletter - to subscribe to our monthly newsletter click here)
References: (1) Tampa Bay Partnership's 2023 Regional Competitiveness Report (2) Tampa Bay Economic Development Council
Last week St. Pete Innovation District hosted its 6th State of Science and Innovation. This event highlights innovators who are doing creative, thought-provoking, and impactful work. This is always a favorite event of the year and once again the event didn't disappoint.
The Girl Scouts of West Central Florida name Alison Barlow - Executive Director of the St. Petersburg Innovation District - as one of their 2024 Woman of Distinction.
For entrepreneurs, this network of support organizations can be challenging to navigate. The hope is that this map helps direct entrepreneurs to the best possible resources.