University of South Florida Polytechnic has opened two public business
incubator locations: Blue Sky West at 116 S. Kentucky Ave. in Lakeland
and Blue Sky East at 199 Ave. B NW in Winter Haven.
locations will serve entrepreneurs and start-up companies by
providing services that include mentoring, analytics, research and
marketing in fully equipped and furnished offices located in Florida's high
near major airports, ports and universities. USF Poly
faculty will provide guidance and students will provide services.
"We're looking to develop skill sets," says Eddie
Hills, Blue Sky's director of New Venture Development. "In our
relationships with our entrepreneurial clients, we coordinate our
students' skill sets and schedules with the client's needs and time
The incubators' openings coincide with
Polytechnic becoming accredited as a four-year program. "By the time our
graduates complete four years with us, they can do real-world projects
and learn a practical skill set," says Hill. "Even if you've never
worked a real job on the outside, this is invaluable experience." Hill
says students may participate as entrepreneurial clients at Blue Sky as
well. The program will serve Polk
According to the National Business Incubation Association
there are more than 1,400 business incubators in North America. The
NBIA estimates that business incubators generated $17 billion in revenue
within their communities in 2005.
hoping to build industry clusters," says Hill. "We hope to grow an
entire generation of entrepreneurs here. If you want to grow a business,
terrific. If you want to start a nonprofit, we're here. If you want to
become an entrepreneur in a company you're already working for, then we
can help you there, too."
Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Eddie Hill, Blue Sky at USF Polyechnic